In an effort to get my writing into the public realm, I’m going to post an essay or a story every Tuesday on this site. So please subscribe, bookmark, or check back here once a week for a new story from moi.
My first story is a tad lengthy for this blog format but I think it’s well worth it. I hope you enjoy!
Things Could Be Worse
The sign by the Greyhound Bus ticket office says, “Garbage bags are not acceptable as luggage.” I laugh. Then I feel like a snob.
I’m at the Calgary bus station because I’m going to rendezvous with an old flame in Field, BC to stay at a fancy lodge he has free accommodations at – because he works for the company that owns it. I have the time and the will to do this because I’m utterly depressed, jobless and living back at my parent’s after having completed a Masters Degree and a year abroad. Since I don’t have a car, and I’m coming from the East while he’s driving from the West, I have to take the bus to meet him.
Me and this guy, I’ll call him Guy, have a history which goes back a decade when I was a 19 year old bar star and he was a 23 year old drug addict. We’ve had a few random hook ups over the years but the closest Guy and I got to a relationship was when I was his top friend on MySpace.
In the line for my bus there is a mother wearing Sponge Bob pajama pants and a hoodie with five children aged two to fifteen. I know the eldest is fifteen because she screamed, “Jesus, Cody, you’re fifteen and you don’t know what via means?” She looks tired. The rest of the people on this Vancouver bound bus are mostly young travelers; Asians and Australians whom I assume will be getting off in Banff working their year abroad in the STD capital of Canada.
After nearly three and a half hours traveling from the prairies, to the foothills and into the Rocky Mountains the bus driver announces over the speaker, “Could my Field passenger please come up to the front of the bus?” She tells me that she’s going to drop me off at the side of the road, there is no bus stop here. “Do you have any luggage in the hull?” No, I do not. All I have is a backpack with one change of clothes and some toiletries.
At ten thirty at night, I step out on to the shoulder the Trans-Canada highway; it’s dark, cold and quiet. I have flashes of being mauled by a bear or picked up by a serial killer. I check my cellphone and see that there is no reception in this valley. My stomach drops.
The bus pulls away and across four cement lanes parked at the side of the road into Field I see a car. A man gets out. He waves.
Guy and I have not seen each other in at least two years. But I recognize him, he looks just like his Facebook photos. We hug and scurry back into his warm car. This is the moment when I ask myself, ‘What they hell am I doing?”
When we get to our cabin I see that Guy has taken the liberty of ordering wine and a cheese and dessert plate. A few months ago I asked if he was seeing anyone and he replied, “No. I’m not really into dating right now.” So, I’m confused about what the nature of this trip is, but I know why I shaved my legs today.
Guy, who’s now eight years sober, drinks fake beer while I sip back cabernet sauvignon by a fire he’s made. Behind us is one of the biggest beds I’ve ever seen. I bet Guy at 6’2” could lay in any direction and still have room around him.
“Hi.” I say as he smiles into my eyes.
“Here we are again.”
For the first time in all the years we’ve known each other we finally talk about this odd attraction we have.
“It’s like there’s unfinished business,” he says later when my head is resting on his chest.
“But nothing ever got started,” I remind him.
He tells me that he’s at that age where he wants to play house. I remember a night we had about four years ago when he first gave me the wife interview. He asked me: Where do you see yourself in five years? I said I didn’t know, maybe New York. His plan was Yellowknife. Now four years later he’s living in a remote town on the Sunshine Coast and I just got back from a year in London, England. We were pretty close to our dreams and now we’re right back at the wife interview. Our dreams still the same, our spirits slightly jaded. But now I know that I can’t live in a small town and he hates the city.
The next morning I wake up first. Through the blinds I can see mountains, trees and the greenest lake I’ve ever seen; an emerald lake. Everything is still except for Guy’s heavy breathing. With his back turned away from me I watch his tattooed shoulders rise up and down.
When he wakes up he doesn’t kiss me or hold my hand. Later he slaps my ass when I bend over to zip up the boots I bought last year in Berlin. We go for breakfast and take the piss out of each other like an old married couple, or people getting along smashingly on their first date.
Later that afternoon when he drops me off at my father’s house I open the trunk to pick up my backpack and sling it over my shoulder.
“Is that your bag?” He asks referring to a plastic grocery bag with some food in it.
“Nope.” I shrug.
In that moment I think maybe Guy is the type of person that considers using a plastic bag as luggage. I’m the kind of girl that takes busses to the middle of nowhere, just to have a story to tell. The kind of girl who laughs on the inside while seeing garbage bag luggage as a metaphor for her love life.
“I’ll call you later this week.” He says hugging me good-bye.
I take out my keys and go inside confident he wont call and not sure I want him to.