By Jowita Bydlowska (Toronto, ON)

The evening was wet. The food was wet and marinated: algae, rubbery baby octopus arms with their thin tips, shrimp. It was raining outside. The restaurant was named after a European sea. He was into meteorology and talked about clouds. Nimbus clouds. There were lots of drinks.

We took a cab to his place, took our clothes off. I woke up in the morning to the sound of the front door clicking gently. I cried because I knew that he had left to buy things for breakfast because this was the kind of guy he was -- a guy who made breakfast.

And he wasn't the guy that I wanted to be with.

He came back. He bought flowers, fresh bread, cheese, fresh fruit.
He played Eric Satie, quietly, and asked if I liked it, was that why I was crying?
I was crying because that's what the guy I loved played for me.
Oh.
I'm sorry, I said. I thought I was over it.

He patted me on the hand. He got up, took a framed photograph off of the wall. He handed it to me. In it, it was him, bull-strong tall, in a striped shirt, hair tousled, holding a steering wheel. Near him, sitting, a woman, hair in her face, sunglasses, and wind, and a boy, maybe four or five years old, scrunching his nose. Water parting, ripped by the boat's tip. 

He looked at me and said, You're not the only one trying to pretend.

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