Two, maybe three weeks ago, I stepped off the streetcar, said goodnight and thanks to the driver (as I learned to do in Montreal) and then skipped across Queen to the south side. A woman was walking towards me, with a large, strange-looking dog on a leash at her side.
"Cute puppy," I said, as I approached her, noticing too (I'll admit) that the woman was also attractive. But I kept walking.
"Geoff?" The use of my name stopped me and I turned around. Looked. Looked some more. The face was familiar, but I couldn't place it at first.
There were lines where there hadn't been, but slowly nearly 20-year-old memories asserted themselves. "Karen?" I broke into a grin, and she did too. We fell into one another's arms like the long-lost friends we are. The dog nosed my right arm, and I stepped back. "Holy shit, Karen! How are you?"
We had become friends when I lived in Kensington Market and she was involved with my friend, Adam. I was living with her brother, Karl, and she and Adam shared a flat just down Augusta. We hung out, we drank on their deck, we made a spectacular Thanksgiving dinner one fall. When I moved to Ottawa we kept in touch (sort of) by snail-mail and I stayed with her when I visited Vancouver.
As happens too often, we lost touch. The last time I saw her was more or less a decade ago and my occasional google-searches had not managed to locate her.
And suddenly, here she was. On my corner. Turns out she's been living on the next street over from me for six months.
We spent 5 minutes catching up and I gave her my card. "Call me," I said, "we'll go out for a beer."
"I will," she said, and waved happily as she walked south.
Today, I have found myself at sixes and sevens, at nines and tens. Laura was off early, to demonstrate in favour of the legalization of marijuana, then to parties until the wee hours. I posted something I scribbled down yesterday and managed a little more writing and more random lj-searches (hello! new people, if you are reading this).
While at my desk, I heard a deep "woof!" from the yard outside my office window and thought the animal looked familiar. I did my best to focus my ageing eyes and saw a very familiar-looking woman attending to the dog. "Karen?" I wondered, and looked closer. Presently, I was sure of it: Karen - not only does she live close to me, my office looks out on her fucking back yard!
I watched for a while, thinking of calling out, "Yo! Nordquist! Wuzup?" (Well, not really: I almost never say "wuzup", but you get the idea.) But I couldn't shake the question - She's had three weeks; why hasn't she called me? Maybe she doesn't want to see me, despite the hug and the promises to call.
So I only watched, and presently she took the dogs for a walk.
And I am left to think: tomorrow, I will yell at her and see where the chips fall.
You'd think that youthful insecurities would evaporate with time, but they only shrink, and they transform, but the insecurity remains, even when there is no basis at all for it. After all, I am not in love with Karen, nor anyone but Laura. If it turned out she didn't actually want to re-establish contact, it would be too bad, but far from traumatic. And yet ... and yet I kept my mouth shut.
What a strange boy I am.