Saturday, March 12, 2011 |
He had consoled young, brokenhearted me five years earlier, over a $3 Chinese special, back when we both lived in our hometown. The radio played the sad song it always played in those days, and that was one of the first times he put his arms around me.
We pretended to grow up, and eventually, I moved from my mountain isolation to his neon-graffitied city. I felt promise in his words that slipped out sleepily during our late night phone calls. On my third night in town, we slept together, but it became clear his sights were set elsewhere. Until the night he took me out to dinner, I wasn't sure whether or not to leave.
We walked downtown along the empty towers lit by security lights. Everything was quiet, even the streetcar clatter. In the pub, we were finally warm. He gave me advice in the form of all the reasons he didn't love me. Shortly after the arrival of beer and food, chewed glumly, the girl he chose instead called. He mumbled into the phone, lit with cartoon villainy. I cried, hiding my crying, for the whole twenty minutes they talked. The neighboring table cheered for the Leafs. The servers looked uncomfortable.
I didn't finish my food. While he paid, I stood outside, staring at my scuffed shoes. Girls with nicer shoes than mine walked into the restaurant, laughing. My phone rang. An old friend was inventing a mathematical formula: an escape route for the love triangle.