You can learn a lot about someone, when broken hearts and booze are involved.
Her name was Joy.
I met her one winter night in Montreal at “The Biffteck.” A wood paneled bar that despite the name does not serve food. Well, they have free popcorn, the aroma of which fills the dim room. I sat alone, contemplating my decay, when she walked in.
I didn’t hear her enter but when she sat beside me I broke from reality.
How strange she would sit next to me with so many seats available. I thought.
I tried not to notice how incredibly beautiful she was. Hair pulled up in a blue scarf with Blonde tinted strands hanging in her face. She smelt like the cold but soon warmed to a scent of spring. She ordered a pint in a soft voice and pulled a National Geographic from her bag. Laying it open upon the counter in front of her. It made me smile to see such a thing.
“You do realize that is a National Geographic?” I said out of character.
“Yes.” She replied.
“Well. I mean, This is the Biffteck.” I tried to joke.
“There’s a story that looks interesting.” She seemed annoyed.
“I didn’t, I won’t bother you.” I went back to my beer, stealing glances at her through the bars dusty mirror.
A pause came in the music when I heard her beside me, “Love” she whispered.
“The Story, It’s about love.” She didn’t look up from her page.
“Oh.” I was at a loss for what to say, I just tapped my glass.
She sighed, lighted a cigarette and leaned back. So I did too. She closed the magazine and turned to me,
“You spend so much time together, then one day it’s just gone.” Smoke snaked from her lips as she turned to smirk into the mirror across the way.
“You just broke up.” I said.
“Yea.” She nodded.
“Let me guess, He was older then you. A bad boy type. You wanted to tame him, help him settle down.” It just came out. I pulled on my smoke, embarrassed laughter escaped me.
“Hammer on Nail there.” she let out a hushed groan “Another round? I need to get good and drunk tonight.”
I looked over at her. She smiled through small tears, I smiled back motioning for the bartending “I’ll buy.”
She ordered shots I grimaced at the flavors
She told me about going home to Calgary.
That she wanted to drive her car back here, taking her time to see the country.
She said she wanted to live in Halifax
I told her, I did too.
I told here a lot of things.
Things I’d never tell close friends, not even family.
She made me enjoy myself for the first time in quite awhile.
I didn’t feel so alone in the city anymore.
We talked until three when they kicked us to the street.
So we walked together in the chill air, swaying side by side.
Like from a movie, there on the corner of Des Pins and St. Laurent, was an old discarded flowered sofa.
A treasure in the night.
And so we sat there and watched the late night traffic.
I don’t recall how long we sat.
Time seemed to stop.
We hardly spoke, just rested curled together against the night.
Then arm in arm I walked her the short distance to her door.
She touched my chest, Laughed uncomfortably.
“Bye.” She sighed “Thank you” and she disappeared behind her door.
I turned, shoving my hands deep in my pockets as I felt the terrible cold again.
Then strolled my way home watching the starless sky.
I never saw Joy again.
I wonder if she made it to Halifax.
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