Alone: A Love Story

Chapter 18: He Exists

Beyoncé versus Sade, begging God for a boyfriend, JT's Mirrors and waiting for elevators ...
I said the prayers over and over again, and then, just in case, I mean, why not? I asked God to send me someone to bring me a little joy. (Ben Shannon/CBC)
Listen to the full episode28:37

'Cause you gotta have faith

The title of this chapter is a riff on what I say at the end of Chapter 16 when I'm getting tired of meaningless sex and start to long for a real boyfriend.

If I exist, he must exist too. Cross your fingers for me.

I end the first vignette, called The Rosary, praying to (and bargaining with) God even though I'm not sure I believe in him:

If he exists, you exist. Let me see what you've got.

No joke, less than a week later (like, that very same week!) I met The Man with the White Shirt. And so yes, if you're wondering, I kept up my end of the bargain and have prayed every night (or mostly every night) since then.

Because Kaboom! Kapow! He EXISTS!

The Man with the White Shirt

Hoo boy.

At one point I say "Man, this day is so nice!" and he says "I know, it's like Christmas-time nice!" which seems in the moment like just about the best thing anyone has ever said out loud. It's probably a line. He probably says and does all these same things with all the girls, but I've already checked into La-La-Land so it all feels as real and special as I think it is.

I WAS in La-La-Land! I mean, you heard me, right? Totally besotted.

This moment in the story reminds me of that line in The Sweetest Taboo by Sade, the patron saint of Alone: A Love Story

Every day is Christmas, and every night is New Year's Eve

This whole song is basically how I felt and feel about White Shirt. Except for the line —

Sometimes I think you're just too good for me.

No one should EVER think someone is too good for them! Nah. That is not right. No one is too good for me! Or you! And especially not you Sade! Come ON!

Also, yes, I have clearly stated before that Beyoncé is the patron saint of Alone: A Love Story, but really it's Sade. Beyoncé is close, but Sade is EVERYTHING. Hoop earrings especially. Anyway, Beyoncé is coming up soon in this very chapter!

There's a lot of music in this chapter! You hear him sing his song Wrong and then I sing Smokey Robinson and The Miracles' You Really Got a Hold on Me, and in real life we sang a whole bunch of other songs together too. All part of the magic.

How could I not believe God listened to me?


I want to feel like I'm on the ride where the carny shouts "Do you wanna go FASTER?" Why yes, yes I do! I want to feel this rush of adrenaline, all sugary and about to throw up.

You guys, what can I say? I love when love makes you feels this way. It's wonderful and over-the-top and is it time for the best Carrie Bradshaw gif again? It is.

Maybe I should actually watch Sex and the City! Ridiculous, inconvenient and consuming love is totally my bag. Which brings us nicely back to The Man with the White Shirt, carny rides, Cloud 9, etc.

I've never experienced such a thing in all my life, this totally getting someone who totally gets you. It's like we're each other's mirror, twin. And we get so instantly wrapped up in it, this spun like gold thing that's happening.

I know, it sounds like I cribbed from Justin Timberlake's song Mirrors there, doesn't it? I can't help it. I love that song!

It's like you're my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn't get any bigger
With anyone else beside me

First of all, it's epic at eight minutes long, but every bit of it wonderful. Plus, the video is SO good. And that's your JT Minute with Michelle Parise for today.

There's one part of this vignette about The Man with the White Shirt that I really want to address and it's when I first go to his apartment the kind of building and neighbourhood that make me feel positively bourgeois.

So, I kinda sound like a high-falutin' jerk, but I kept it in anyway, since shamefully that was how I felt the first time I went there. Like I was slumming it a bit. But it was very soon after that, I didn't feel that way at all.

I ended up loving the place because of all the people I'd meet there while waiting for the one elevator that wasn't broken. We'd roll our eyes and commiserate.

We'd all pile in and make jokes while making room for everyone to squeeze in so no one would have to wait another 10 minutes for it to come back down.

Over the years I've had some of the best conversations waiting for the elevator of that totally dilapidated, overcrowded building. Everyone smiles and says hello. Everyone crowds in together without complaint because who knows when the next one will come.

What a stark contrast from my nice, clean downtown building where most people don't even nod hello to you in the elevator or hardly meet your eye.

Over the years (and years) returning to White Shirt's building time and again, I've helped people bring their groceries up to their apartment when they seemed like they were struggling. I've wrangled many a small child for more than one stressed out mom. Once, a tall man who called himself "The General" regaled me with war stories for 14 floors. 

Crowded in the terrible old stinky elevator, I've listened as people laughed together — young, old, from all backgrounds — saying "Have a nice day!" as each person gets off at their floor.

Anyway. My point in the podcast is still my point here. Despite my bougie first impression of where he lived, I didn't care about what White Shirt didn't have. Not then, not now, not ever. When you look past the things you think a person is lacking, you often find things much more valuable and special than you could have ever imagined.

You will be divorced soon. But not yet! Almost!

This little vignette called Independent Woman, is more in the ongoing saga of The Bureaucracy of Getting Divorced in the Province of Ontario.

The title is a riff on (Beyoncé alert!) Independent Women by Destiny's Child. It's the video White Shirt texts me the day I get the notice of divorce.

Instead of letting me feel sorry for myself, The Man with the White Shirt sends me a bad-ass lady anthem. It makes me laugh. It makes this heavy moment light.

So lovely. SIGH.

By the way, I really am super-afraid of jury duty. Every time someone I know gets called to it, I feel like I can't breathe.

I really can't think of anything I would rather do less. I would be terrible at it. Just terrible! Please Lord, let me never have to be on a jury!

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