There was Jagermeister. And that July girl could carry on a conversation all by herself. Small doses, please. It was the new year and I had just gotten my first tattoo: a doctor bird, the national hummingbird of Jamaica, to be specific.
Five-person house party at Bloor & Ossington. I was eager at eighteen, wanting to be accepted by people six years my senior. The same age I am now. I travelled that night. From Bloor & St. George, I walked from shawarma to Korea and found myself at injera. The puddles from the January drizzle reflected the neon lights reflecting the life of the city.
July talked about Kids. I said something funny and we laughed. July talked.
I had Evan in a Saturday Night Special when Dean walked in. It was Sunday. Dean was the last to arrive, slinking in just after Kelly had left. He was a chef, but skinny. That should have said it all. Dean wore a red lumberjack shirt so we teased him. It was before hipsters took over the world. I liked it.
We watched Kids. Teenagers getting HIV. Downer.
No-pants party. American pants, not British pants. Dean and I hid Evan’s pants after he passed out.
Dean asked me if I wanted to cuddle. Dean and I just met but he saw through the attitude and read my weakness for affection. My longing for someone to help me kick that wretched sobriety of an anticipated addiction to serotonin. His questions were peppered with a Newfoundland lilt: What is your best, worst, favourite, greatest…?
Yeah, he said, grilled cheese sandwiches with ketchup are amazing. Ah, from the lips of an angel.
We talked until 7:30 in the morning. Winter vacation was over; I had an hour of class at 10. First-year biology. I didn’t want to leave and Dean didn’t want me to either. To untangle our arms and legs meant the end, the sprightly butterflies in our stomachs fluttering away. He called me a cab so I could stay just a little bit longer.
The intensity of emotions has left me with memories, though no recollection of his face. It’s been six years and I occasionally wonder what would have happened if I had just skipped class that chilly Monday morning. If I had stayed under the covers and watched the snow fall with my strange new love. I also wonder if that transience was right, the passion unsustainable.
What I know is that I did see Dean once more, six months later. It was as if the cab driver had never rung the doorbell. We were right back in that duplex at Bloor & Ossington. In love.