The Last 48 Hours: Monday (St. Fucking Valentine’s Day)
I wake up in a cold sweat. First time I’ve had a nightmare in years. I have unsettling dreams all the time, but never what could be considered nightmares. This was definitely a nightmare. My dad and I are driving to Oklahoma. Don’t ask me why, but he is driving a dune buggy for some reason. I can’t remember all the details but we keep getting lost along the way. Both of us are getting really frustrated, especially with each other. At one point we get in a huge argument, I think he wanted to turn back but I insisted we keep going. At one point we are driving through some mountains, he loses control and all of sudden the buggy is teetering over the edge of this huge cliff. The kind of scene that happens in movies all the time, with both of us staying real still so the buggy doesn’t move. Eventually (of course), I fall. I wake up before I hit the ground. What a way to start my day. I glance outside; it looks really damn cold out. I would give anything to stay in bed today, but there’s a discussion period this morning that I cannot miss. So I drag myself out of bed.
After a shower and a little breakfast I still feel like shit. Today is going to suck, I know it. Of course, Valentine’s Day is always the worst day of the year for me, but three days ago I thought that this year was going to be different. I should have known not to get my hopes up. I venture outside and almost crack my head open on the sidewalk. It’s pure ice, everything is. Perfect, just perfect. For once I don’t appreciate the beauty of a day like this. I somehow manage to make it to the bus stop without falling. Jason, this guy I know from my class, tries to start up a conversation but I resist. I don’t feel like saying a damn word today, I just want to wallow in my own self-loathing. The bus takes about twenty minutes longer than usual, and I am late for class.
This professor likes to talk real fast so you really have to pay attention. For once I am glad this class is so complicated. No time to think about her. I take some half-assed notes and move on to my next class like a zombie.
Great, discussion class now. We are specifically marked on how much we participate, so I have to try and say something. I make a couple of comments, none of them insightful, and get the hell out of there. I’ve got another class at 12:30 but there is no way I’m sticking around for that. Every couple of seconds I feel like I’ll burst into tears. The only thing to do is get home as soon as possible so I can ball my eyes out.
The bus ride home is pure hell. Everybody looks so happy and in love. I feel like punching somebody in the face, to wipe that stupid smug grin off. The only thing that keeps me from doing something stupid is the slim hope that maybe if I call her as soon as I get home she just might answer. I’m completely attached to the worst possible scenario right now, so I don’t get my hopes up. I don’t think I’ve ever been this depressed before. My eyes start to water a bit, I hope no one on the bus noticed. Finally, I get off the bus, and slide home as quickly as I can.
Now the moment of truth. If she picks up the phone, all this was for nothing. If she doesn’t, well, I don’t really know what happens if she doesn’t. It’ll be catastrophic, I’m sure. I pick up the phone but don’t dial her number yet. I am afraid she won’t pick up. I stare at the wall for about twenty minutes. Eventually I decide to get it over with, no point in staring at the wall forever. The phone rings…
Okay, we all know what happens next. I wouldn’t be telling this story if she didn’t pick up the phone and tell me she loves me. That possibility belongs to a different time and space. Another dimension where a certain part of me is destroyed forever. Instead, I am still a complete human being, and thus still capable of happiness. I am sure if she did not pick up that phone that’s what I would have lost. I would be incapable of happiness for the rest of my life. In a split-second, the worst day of my life became the best day of my life. It’s amazing how that works. All it takes is for the ringing to stop and a beautiful voice to appear. The reader probably wants me to describe how I felt at that moment. Well, too bad. Something like that is impossible to explain in words. Words can be so inadequate sometimes. It’s like all the greatest paintings, all the greatest songs, all the greatest films and all the greatest stories wrapped together into one tiny little split second. Everything good that humankind has ever produced compressed into one moment. In fact, it’s even better than all the paintings, songs, films and stories put together. Why you ask? Because it’s mine and it’s real.
wow, the chicken breast I just cooked is in the shape of a heart, how serendipitous. I smile and do a stupid little dance. I don’t want to eat it yet, but I do anyway.
Kevin still lives in Toronto. Eventually we learned how to talk about our feelings. Rarely.
Jay and I still watch sports on the regular. He beat me the last time we played basketball.
Jay’s brother was what he was and continues to be what he is.
Ted married Katie instead of Christina. A darn good decision. We chatted about mortgages just recently.
Garett is still alive but I fear for not much longer. I should visit him.
Jason turned out to be a better friend than I. My proudest moment is as far away from there as possible.
As for me? The Raptors still don’t make me happy and I still miss Mr. Show and I’ll never watch enough CBC.
I still think words are inadequate.
As for her? Well, see, I never met her.
Oh, you thought this was about her?