“Hello,” I asked shakily.
“Congratulations on your article,” said a vaguely familiar voice.
“Well thank you very much, hang on… who is this?”
“You remember five years ago you drank straight tequila in my living room?”
“April?” I asked, my voice low.
“Surprised you remember,” April said cheerfully.
My heart sunk to my knees when I realized who I was speaking to. This was April. Her voice was still as sweet as honey, still the voice I had fallen in love with 10 years earlier. I imagined her sitting by the phone, probably seething with anger.
I responded, “You know, now isn’t really a good time. Can we have this conversation later?”
“Of course. Goodbye Kevin,” she said with almost artificial sweetness before disconnecting.
I stood there in front of the phone table, frozen with emotion and nostalgia. After a moment I shook it off and forced a smile onto my face, taking Jessica by the hand and leading her down the stairs. The main floor was empty, and I knew Luke and Kitty had looked for somewhere slightly more intimate. As I headed down the stairs, aiming for the harbor street, it amazed me how Luke did it.
As best friends growing up, Luke had served dinners to many of my summer flames, choosing work over chasing ass. In retrospect, it had worked for him in the long run because he was now a leading real estate agent in greater Toronto and paid the majority of the $1500 rent on the loft. In getting the good job, he had the cream of the crop when it came to woman. Incidentally, he was a hornier teenager than I was!
I laughed about it as Jessica and I winded our way through the docks that lined Lake Ontario, our fingers as entwined as our hearts. I had always loved the Harbor Area in Toronto, ever since I first visited when I was eight years old. Seaweed and foam rested atop the waves that lapped against stone jetties and wooden docks. The smell of fish, the smell of motor oil for the boats, harmonized together and created a path back to my childhood.
The shores of Lake Ontario reminded me of canoe trips on my home Lake Manitoba. It reminded me of the great waves and the spray in our faces. It reminded me of a better time in my life, a past I tried desperately, yet in vain, to remember. A past in which I was a youth contemptuous of authority, surrounded by great friends, and free in the great big world.
I shivered with nostalgia as I remembered those days, and came to the realization that I missed the man I once was. But that was then, I was a changed man. My life of one night stands of fiery passion, my life of trespassing and escaping the police multiple times, my life of trendsetting, of trailblazing was over.
It had been replaced with a fast paced life in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a life with Jessica. Instead of running from authority on the back of a dirt bike, I was now working with them to break stories of crime, of adventure. Granted, my sense of adventure had not been burned to the ground, but it was certainly weakened.
As memories rushed through my head at breakneck speed, Jessica broke my train of thought by saying, “Babe, we are here. Are you okay?”
I looked up. Sure enough we were standing in front of the CN Tower, its lights twinkling like the first stars of the night sky. I looked over at Jessica, her silhouette still strong in the fading sunlight. Even in the dim light, I noticed a look of worry painted on Jessica’s face. In a flash I knew she was worried about me.
“Yeah, I am just fine. I just have a lot on my mind right now,” I lied through my teeth.
The only thing on my mind was April, a fact which was unknown to Jessica. This was primarily because I had never told her the story of our intriguing, multi-layered relationship. Jessica was prone to jealousy, and I knew any whiff of an old lover would set her off.
“Well you look stressed, maybe I can help you… relax.” Jessica whispered seductively as she kissed me softly.
I kissed her back, attempting to mask my stress and worry, and then took her hand as we headed for the elevator. Five minutes later, we were several hundred feet above the street, eye-to-eye with the skyline. We bathed in its glory for a moment, before heading to the foyer to be seated. A young, twenty-something blonde, led us up a spiral staircase and into a private area with only four tables, lined in a circle against the window.
They seated us, and we ordered the house wine, a sweet white wine we had had before that tasted of honey. It had a smoky flavor in addition to that, and it was the wine we had drank on our first date nearly three years earlier. We sat down and had only peeked at the menu when my IPhone buzzed.
I slid it out of my pocket, seeing a Facebook notification. I decided to take this opportunity to respond to the message and relieve myself. I excused myself to the washroom, heading down the spiral staircase. As I hopped off the last step, I noticed a couple of bachelorettes shooting tequila.