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“The Two of Us” and the importance of an unfinished ending

The connection between two people can be confirmed in a variety of relationships; mother and daughter, lovers, or a boss and employee. The dialogues and stories that result from the bonds people experience are individualistic and universal at the same time. The Two of Us by Kathy Page is a compilation of short stories that made the longlist for the Giller Prize. This set of stories reflects the commonality of all face-to-face relations between two people, and yet how astoundingly different the partnerships are depending on the role each individual plays in the given scenario.

Initially, it is difficult to find a common association between each of the stories and it appears they are inextricably disconnected.  After meditating on the various stories that Page writes, there is a theme that arises between the tales. Each of the stories is written in intense and vivid detail that hooks the reader in and then concludes before the climax of the story is revealed. “Pigs” is about a husband and wife and ends with the woman thinking about killing her husband, but we never find out what happens next. The setting of the story is carefully laid out and the characters are so well described they feel real, and yet the reader never finds out the concluding element in each of the relationships in the set of short stories.

The lack of a conclusion in the stories is initially maddening, but as they continue it becomes apparent how much these awkward in-between moments reflect reality. Oftentimes in the set-up of a story, it has a distinct beginning, middle and end — it is clear-cut. Life does not work like this, and abandoning the traditional set up of a story gives it more authenticity. My discomfort as a reader reflects my desire for the perfect ending. Instead, abandoning my longing for perfection to embrace the rhythm of Page’s set of stories deepens my acceptance of the never-finished stories in real life.

“The right thing to say” follows a couple who live in Canmore, AB, that are trying to have a baby. The mom-to-be is pregnant and they are having testing done to find out if the child has a genetic defect that would affect the health of the baby. This story hits close to home, and the descriptions of the setting are incredibly vivid. It almost feels as if the reader is sitting next to the worried couple in the hospital. This story reflects the various settings that Page uses, switching between England and Canada. It is interesting because Page is a British author who has resided on Vancouver Island for several years. The stories reflect her intimate familiarity with the two settings and helps the reader to really have confidence in in what is being described.

There is a futuristic element to a few of the stories as well. In “It is July Now”, the tale focuses on a character named Piret who is from Sweden and lives in a socialist society where almost nothing is owned privately. A middle-aged American woman comes to intern at the school and attempts to befriend Piret several times, though it is mostly unsuccessful. There is a stark contrast between the strict and stringent lifestyle of Piret and the American woman who is happier and more free with her money. The story between the two characters ends off without a distinct conclusion and it leaves the reader wondering whether the two women become better friends.

The concluding story of the anthology brings the set of stories together in a fascinating way. “Open Water” features a swim coach named Mitch and one of his swimmers, Tara who lives in Vancouver.  Mitch works with Tara for years on her swimming and when she has the opportunity to go to the Olympics, what happens next will leave the reader shocked.

Page does a very subtle and determined job at showing the reader that life is awkward and the unexpected happens, yet it becomes almost soothing in this series of stories. In one of the stories mentioned, the reader will find intimate commonality with their own life in The Two of Us, and walk away with a stronger understanding of the complexities of the unfinished ending in real life. The anthology comes highly recommended, and definitely a study of the most detailed and intimate way to describe a person and their life through the written word without giving everything away.

What it means to be an attention wh*re and what you can do about it

I don’t know about you guys, but if I see a funny moment about to ensue, my mind automatically goes to Snapchat. My hands reach for my phone and I scurry to open the app in time. The thought of catching the laugh-out-loud moment in a 10-second video to share with my friends and family brings me even more joy than the actual experience. The comments that are followed by these said friends watching my Snapchats are not only fulfilling to my duties as a social media user, but almost makes me feel like I have a purpose in life.

And that’s a little sad.

But I’ve come to accept the fact that my excessive need to share things on social media with my friends and family for validation does, in fact, make me what is known in today’s society as an attention wh*re.

It’s safe to say that the new age of social media has made most users “attention wh*res.” Whether it’s posting a picture of your face during it’s peak hours of fresh makeup and glow, or updating your status when you’ve received that promotion you were hoping for, it has evidently become a norm for people to seek confirmation for their need in society. To know that their contouring has, in fact, made a difference in someone’s life. To be told: yes, you are beautiful. You are smart. You are needed. However, the problem with this type of behaviour, is that is slowly makes its way into everyday, three-dimensional life. Soon enough, you find yourself sitting there, merely 30 minutes after you’ve sent your significant other a text, wondering why they haven’t texted back yet. It’s been thirty minutes, babe. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Watch an episode of Friends. Yeah, see Ross? Don’t be him.

I’m a writer. So, the attention-seeking nature in me was present for over a decade now. My career choice itself is a cry for attention. As Nayirrah Waheed so beautifully explains it, “If someone falls in love with my work, they’ve fallen in love with my mind.” And once you’ve taken the time to understand the true meaning behind that; I must say — it’s rather flattering. But, when I sought this attention in places they shouldn’t be sought, I began to understand a few things. I was wanting more than I was receiving — knowing full well I wouldn’t be receiving anymore. I answered to his every call and beckoned to his every need. He knew. He knew full well that even if I didn’t pick up, I would call him back. Because I wanted to. And once he knows that you want more than he wants, it’s over, ladies. Never tip your hand in the game of love. Get the f*ck out of there.

Although I somehow managed to exceed my wants, I’ve never been one to express my desires for them – to him. For one thing, I’m too shy to ask for anything. Receiving compliments make me feel awkward and telling someone about what’s bothering me is more difficult than pulling teeth. I don’t feel the need for validation in most aspects of my life- especially my fashion sense- and multiple people have labelled me as pompous. So, it’s quite surprising to think that I, too, have showcased being ‘needy.’ But, everyone’s ‘needy.’ It’s human nature. It’s why babies cry. It’s why women pout.

However, the key to being the right amount of ‘needy’ is knowing exactly what you need, and acquiring it without being well… needy. And if you can’t acquire it, even after an amount of strenuous labour that could have birthed triplets, do yourself a favour, and let it go.

Should you be using emojis?

“He doesn’t use emoji’s when he messages.”

Chaos ensued. Something just didn’t sit right between me and the rest of the members of our sacred group chat; a group chat where my friends come together to talk about the daily occurrences of our lives; any particular emotions that need to be shared; and, the occasional analysis of our current love interests. This, of course, is all done with the excessive use of emojis. None of us could fathom how someone could converse via instant messaging without the use of round, yellow faces. Can the full meaning behind the message be conveyed without emojis nowadays? Think about it, there’s just no way a flirtatious text is complete without a wink or a sideways smirk. It’s just impossible. It’s the difference between ‘want to come over? ;)’ and ‘want to come over?’ 

However, with the new addition of this emotionless man in my friend’s life, all of a sudden, it became necessary to lay back on the emojis. In order to avoid bae from thinking of her as too childish or needy, the teary laughing emojis were replaced with plain lol’s.

And yes, not every lol is followed by a real life laugh out loud. And yes, not every teary laughing emoji is followed by a real life laughter that does, in fact, leave you crying. But sometimes, in order to make up for the lack of face to face interaction – a smiley face is exactly what you need to make the conversation a little more authentic.

Moral of the story – if bae doesn’t use emojis, he’s not bae. He’s the coworker whose number you have saved solely so he can cover for you when you’re running late for work. Dump him. Because a lack of emojis in conversation is a little bit like drinking decaffeinated coffee; it tastes the same as regular coffee, but it’s not exactly doing its job of making you feel the way you want to feel.

Energized. And full of life.

Of course, one can argue that not using emojis is a sign of true adulthood. Because only a real adult can understand a group of words without needing a quirky cartoon for added clarity. Emojis, however, are rather helpful in dictating serious conversations. Although, you may want to stray away from using emojis during really serious conversations – such as sending condolence texts with a broken heart when someone’s grandma dies. In that case, give them a call. Or pay them a visit. Making a casserole is also an option. Of course, if you’ve just sent out some passive aggressive texts about some overwhelming issues you’d like your roommate to work on (ie; picking their sh*t up from the living room floor), lightening up the energy with a few kisses and hearts would definitely help make things less awkward.

In an age of social media where miscommunication is an everyday problem for most users, sometimes the best thing to do is give your thumbs a rest and let your voice do the work. Because that’s where the true expression lies. Nothing will hide the bitterness in your voice when bae tells you about his spontaneous lunch date with his attractive coworker. Or the happiness/shock when your best friend tells you she’s engaged. So, maybe you shouldn’t dump bae. Give him a chance! A husky hello is sometimes all you need to get the full clarity of the message he’s trying to send.

But, when you do send that good night text at the end of that conversation; use a heart. You’ll thank me later.

How do you feel about emojis? Let us know in the comments below! 

Should I be jealous my husband watches porn?

Whether it’s behind your back, leaving a trail of computer history behind, or right next to you, he’s watching porn. Some women hate it; others don’t care. If your man’s porn fixations are getting under your skin, it’s time to face your feelings head on. Perhaps you’re burdened with questions buzzing in your brain, or worse, a closet full of insecurities bred from feeling upstaged by his favourite pornstar. Despite all this, you hide your jealousy because you don’t want to play porn police and rain on his boobie parade. Fortunately, you don’t have to feel this way.

Read through this question-answer guide to gain some clarity on your husband’s porn dependence.

Is it cheating?

The question of whether porn counts as cheating can be a confusing debate. The answer really depends on your personal definition of cheating. For some, cheating could be as simple as a small crush on a friend or co-worker, while for others, it’s being sexual or emotionally intimate with someone else. So, let’s say cheating can be understood as the latter, then no, watching porn is not cheating—unless he’s fallen in love with the porn star. Eek!

In simple terms, porn allows people to fantasize about spectacles that are not normally attainable in real life. Is this necessarily bad? Well, think about it this way: what’s the root cause of your jealousy? Is it the fact that his eyes and juices are shooting elsewhere or that it’s being directed at another woman? According to sex therapist Alina Palin, “most men do not necessarily watch porn for the women. Rather, the excitement comes from the super sexualized actions that the women are performing.”

Shane Panser, 31, agrees with this view. “When I watch porn, I don’t really care for what the girls look like. I just browse around for videos until I find one giving a crazy good BJ.”

Matt McMillen, a medical writer for Web MD, confirms this sentiment in his article, “Why Men Like Porn”, explaining that for most men, the reliance on porn is not grounded in a preference for another woman, but rather the rawness of the sex she’s performing. He says, “It’s not about what he’s not getting at home. It’s the novelty. It’s a turn-on.”

So, is porn cheating? All signs point to no.

What if it’s too hard core?

It’s common to worry about the type of porn your man watches and its level of intensity. Some types of porn can be pretty hard core, involving all the bells and whistles, from face-slapping degradation to frantic “juice” guzzling, topped with mascara running down the poor girl’s eyes. You get the picture. And all the while, the pornstar is loving it—so not realistic! Consider her size quadruple Z bust, big blonde hair and sky-high stilettos, a look that no regular grocery-running woman would ever wear. Clearly, it’s all just make-believe.

Many women think that their man’s favourite porn is a representation of his sexual desires for his relationship. It’s not. These videos are not real life—it’s pretend, separate from his intimacy with you. There’s also a good reason why he might keep these two realms apart. In the porn world, it can be thrilling to watch a woman get battered up by three schlongs, as distasteful as that may sound to some. However, with you, he can disconnect and compartmentalize his porn cravings, and appreciate your unique sexual dynamic on its own.

It’s not necessarily about being better or worse—it’s just something different, like enjoying a different spice. As explained in the men’s sex guide, featured by Intimate Village, men use porn to supplement and vary their sexual urges. So, while most women hope that their men’s porn appetites remain safely along the lines of low-rez lesbians and homemade videos by couples, realistically, many men enjoy much fiercer exploits.

Am I less desirable?

The true allure of porn for a man is rarely a negative reflection on his partner, says sex therapist Lonnie Barbach, PhD, in practice in San Francisco. “Some women feel threatened because they don’t think they’re as sexy as a porn star,” she says.

Yet, as previously mentioned, the seduction of porn is set in the sexual performance, not the actress’ looks. She could be gorgeous or plain—either way, he’s usually not imagining himself with her on a personal level, but rather enjoying the possibility of experiencing that pleasure.

According to sex and relationship specialist Luke Gilkerson, it’s really just part of a guy’s nature to just look at naked women in general. In turn, women should not personalize this behaviour, which is instinctive, as long as it’s kept respectively controlled within the confines of porn and not with another woman.

If you still feel that your man’s fantasies are alienating you from his sex life, you can always join in on the action. Together, you can role play or experiment, supplementing the experience with twosome toys, as R.Esco suggests in her article, “The Health Benefits of Sex.” Whichever way you fire it up, the main goal is to streamline his porn fetishes to align with your sexuality in a healthy and agreeable manner.

 

Like any habit that needs curbing, your jealousy can be easily diffused with the right attitude toward porn. Accept your husband’s porn as something natural and inevitable, but most importantly, never see it as your competition.

What did you think of the first presidential debate?

I usually don’t pay attention to American politics — at least not to this extent. But, against my better judgement, I was compelled to watch Monday night’s debate. I thought, if anything, it would be an entertaining evening. Boy, was I wrong.

It was not funny. In fact, it was brutal. Republican candidate Donald Trump proved he’s clueless on policy, lacks self control, and has no real ideas besides keeping jobs in America and kicking out immigrants. He told the moderator that the Stop-And-Frisk program was needed to lower crime in big cities like New York, even though a judge ruled it unconstitutional and racist.

At one point, he even admitted to not paying his income tax, saying “that makes me smart” when Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton brought it up.

The icing on the cake was when he said Clinton didn’t have the “look” or “stamina” for the job, an obvious reference to her being a woman in Washington.  Throughout this whole circus of a debate, all Clinton could do was smile, probably to keep herself from shouting or laughing uncontrollably at Trump’s ignorance.

Clinton, on the other hand, sounded extremely presidential. She had an economic plan, spoke with authority about international trade, and didn’t jump to conclusions based on unfounded fact. She was able to calmly deliver a few great one-liners too.

While she did sound a bit rehearsed, that’s not a bad thing. As she said in the debates: “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And, yes, I did. You know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.”

I agree Hillary. I agree.

The American presidential election has turned into an insane race anchored in sexism a la Trump. The whole debate was like an abusive relationship — woman says something reasonable, man screams at her and calls her an idiot. This man says that everything is her fault. This man interrupts her and talks down to her. This man says he has a great temperament because he was going to say something insulting about her family, but didn’t. After the debate, this same man blames his poor performance on his willingness to hold back so he doesn’t embarrass the poor, weak, woman.

This is the man America may elect to be president. Dear God.

trump

A leader is supposed to inspire and make you feel safe. All Trump made me feel was sick to my stomach.

All of this is to say, vote. Please. Please. PLEASE! If you are an intelligent human being, do your research. Don’t ever trust a politician blindly. Look at their policies. Think about who you want to run your country. Think about what could happen if the wrong person is elected into office.

Usually, I refrain from offering editorial endorsements. I don’t like telling readers who they should, or shouldn’t, vote for. But, in this case, there is too much riding on it.  It’s not just America’s fate being decided on Nov. 8. It’s that of the world.

Saying that, please, for the love of everything you hold dear: vote for Hillary Clinton.

What did you think of the presidential debate? Let us know in the comments below and subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

How to want him without needing him

When to walk away, is wisdom. Being able to, is courage. Walking away with your head held high is dignity.”

There it is; Wisdom. Courage. Dignity. More often than not, we confuse the three. And every once in a while, you’ll find yourself immersed in someone else’s idea of these values. All of a sudden, they come into your life with such ease, becoming so important to you within such a small amount of time, you begin to question why there was any confusion in the first place. It’s what makes life worth living- and sometimes so challenging.

But while its worth living, this someone is like a plate of deep fried chicken wings- both mouth watering and unhealthy. You enjoy the moments you spend together, not realizing the consequences. At first sight, he’s a real looker, one with a smile that can make you palpitate. Except unlike the plate of fried chicken, he can’t be packed away for later. And the damage he will do to your heart cannot be fixed with healthy diet or exercise.

***

After coming out of a serious but rather mundane and loveless relationship, I had sworn off any emotional attachments for the time being. I began to approach men with a casual attitude, shutting them down when they began questioning ”our future”.

He was no different on this list — until I realized that I couldn’t shut him down. Although we’ve never met in person, mutual connections brought us together and we took it from there on social media. Through frequent texting and flirtatious exchanges, it was apparent that our common interests, combined with his suave demeanour and my distinctive personality had us both intrigued.

The late night phone calls began – and after a lot of persistence on his part and a lot of reluctance on mine — mostly due to his mysterious ability to always say the right thing at the right time — I soon found myself in an emotional relationship. Our feelings were addressed, dreams were discussed, and our goals and ambitions for the future were encouraged. I would play along, knowing fully well there was a slim chance of it becoming a reality. It was just all too good to be true.

But he made me happy.

His passion towards his unconventional career choice made him sexy and different from the men I’ve previously been involved with. He didn’t just slip into his profession. He chose it. And although it was difficult to picture myself actively adapting to his unpredictable lifestyle, I could never let his priorities change because of me. I wouldn’t.

However, being so different, yet so incredibly similar left us with a compatibility and chemistry that I had always craved for. And although we had our share of turbulence along the way, I genuinely cared about him. His straightforward personality and way with words left no room for speculation. He loved me. And I loved him.

But hearing him whisper “I’m not the right guy for you” every other night made me wonder what I was getting myself into. In the midst of our twisted games and ability to toy with each other’s emotions, I grew accustomed to his doubtful pursuits. It was soon after that I realized I needed more certainty in my life- certainty that wouldn’t come from him.

I’ve attempted to take the high road and walk away. Be a ‘wise’ person. And because I even considered it, I guess, made me ‘courageous’. But its walking away with ‘dignity’ that I’m still working on.

Too often, we choose the idea of settling in fear of never meeting someone like him again. We break under the pressure that the man we’re destined to be with won’t be in the form of the handsome, charming, and alluring man that we first fell in love with. The intensity of our relationship was one that was reminiscent of the sappy films we watch on rainy days. And no matter how many obstacles come in front of the love struck couple in these films, you sit and hope that they’ll somehow end up together in the end.

But most of the time, they don’t.

It’s not going to be easy coming to terms with the absence of him in my life. And even more difficult once we meet in person. The memories of his arm around my waist, the smell of his cologne, or the way he looks at me will probably linger in my mind for years to come. But it’s a step I’m willing to take to remind myself of my individual strength and my ability to see him as a desire and not a necessity.

Because he’s something I’m going to have to learn to live without.

How do you handle difficult relationships? Let us know in the comments below! 

LOVE & SEX: This guy made a documentary to find out if size really does matter

One thing is clear, Patrick Moote doesn’t have a lot of embarrassment left. After proposing to his girlfriend on a jumbotron at a sporting event and being turned down, being the subject of a documentary about small penises wouldn’t seem all that mortifying. The trailer for the film, Unhung Hero, follows protagonist Moote as he speaks to women, experts, and medical professionals about penis size.

His girlfriend turned him down apparently because he was lacking in the pants. While this is an awful reason to break up with someone, it has gotten under his skin to the point where he and film maker Brian Spitz traveled the world to find out the answer to the age old question: does size really matter?

 

 

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

A year later

Tomorrow is our anniversary and I can’t help my desire to scream, “We made it!” at the top of my lungs. This is my first anniversary since the Big Ex in 2009 and the differences between then and now are staggering: four years ago I was afraid to tell the Big Ex that I loved him, four years ago on our anniversary the Big Ex was on a date with another woman and four years ago I couldn’t have told you that I was happy even if I thought I might have been.

Tomorrow Boyfriend and I are going for dinner and a movie, we’ll exchange gifts and we’ll fall asleep in what I can only assume will be a sweaty tangled mess. But the biggest difference of all is that I’m not afraid; I’m not afraid that making a big deal out of an anniversary will scare him off, I’m not afraid to tell him how much I love him and I’m not afraid to enjoy myself on a day that is meant to be enjoyed.

We’ve been through a lot this year: my mum’s illness, my work issues, the loss of his grandfather and six months of trying to figure out why I can barely keep food down. At this point we’ve been through some of the worst parts of life together and we’ve managed to come out smiling. I have never known the kind of support that I get from Boyfriend. As an adult child of divorce I’ve barely seen this kind of support outside of movies and TV shows; to be honest I didn’t even know that this kind of love was real, I just assumed that writers and directors were just really talented at creating loving worlds on paper and screen.

But after a year of experiencing love first hand I’ve come to realize that it isn’t all a fantasy, it takes a lot of work, a lot of practice and a lot of honesty. You have to be ready to share yourself fully, your fears, hopes, dreams and even (especially) the things you hate about yourself. Relationships aren’t easy, that was the part the writers got wrong, a big gesture won’t fix everything, there is no quick fix when things go wrong and you’ve got to really love yourself before anyone can love you. Some days I think it would be easier to walk through the world alone, as it’s a lot easier to lie to myself when the days get tough than it is to lie to Boyfriend.

But in the end finding someone who loves and appreciates you because of, not in spite of, your weird little quirks is the best feeling in the world. So what if I never wear matching socks or if I set my alarm clock in intervals of three or if I insist on calling penguins “pengins”? It’s all part of who I am and he loves me.

I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life and I hope that this is just the first of many more anniversaries.

DATING FOR DUMMIES: Relationship rules defined

Is date three always the sex date?

By Shannon Hunter

The third date is universally accepted as the ‘sex date’. I’m not sure when I first heard this or where, but I know I’ve heard it more than once. And to be honest I’ve never really been comfortable with it. Why should the number of times you’ve gone out dictate when it’s socially acceptable to get busy?

I’ve said before if the first date goes well and you just so happen to end up in bed together you shouldn’t feel guilty. Sometimes these things happen – denying yourself of what you feel is right because of an unwritten rule is ridiculous. I apply the same logic to a third date: If you’re ready – go for it.

Dating is complicated enough without imposing MORE rules on ourselves… we’re careful to wear the right make-up, never drink too much but not too little either, show the right amount of skin, and share ourselves but again not too much; all things we’ve learned to do naturally. When other people start giving us rules to follow it becomes a little too much to handle.

So when it comes to the ‘sex date’ I think the call is simple. If it happens it happens. If it doesn’t it’s not because your relationship is doomed, it’s not because he doesn’t like you, and it is most definitely not because he doesn’t find you attractive. So check your insecurity at the door.

Relationships play out in so many different ways that when we create rules and mandatory milestones we kill the romance, the fun, and the spontaneity.

Stop planning life and let it happen. Because when something really fantastic does happen it’ll always be better than anything you could have planned.

In Sickness and in Health

By Jen Kirsch

You’re sick in bed.  You feel everything that the words ‘miserable’ and ‘discomfort’ are made of.  You would give it all up if only you could – for the love of Fendi – feel better. You look over at your partner and his ‘How can I save you eyes of sympathy’ peer into yours, which suddenly light up.  Because let’s face it, when we are as sick as can be, we all – even the Sam Jones’ of the world – love (and dare I say need) some good, old, classic, TLC.

I may go as so far as to say that TLC makes for the best medicine.  A prescription often prescribed, yet not always filled. Which is just what happens when – after you tell him how grateful you are for having him around to take care of you – he tells you he’s going to go sleep on the couch tonight so he “doesn’t get sick.”

Excuse me?’ You wonder to yourself thinking you may have misheard his words.

There are two types of men when it comes to the direction of sleeping habits when you’re under the weather. There are those who are a) at your beck and call, by your side all night and wouldn’t think to have one sleep away from you (sick or not), or b) the cautious ones that are more concerned about catching a cold.

I don’t know about you ladies, but when I’m sick just so happens to be synonymous with when I need extra cuddles, love and attention. I’m more than happy to give that same extra TLC to a partner when they aren’t well and I genuinely want to because I know how it feels. A great feeling comes with knowing someone is there for you without having to ask for it. When a partner goes to sleep on the couch, it’s ever-so-easy to take it personally.

I understand with keeping your distance, but the fact remains that the germs are already in the house and we are more contagious before we are sick than during. So be conscience that you are sick but make sure that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to your sleeping arrangements. Because the last thing any of us need is the added stress when our mind tells us ‘we’re uncared for’ when in fact we very much are.

 

 

RELATIONSHIPS: Reconnecting with your childhood crush

How much changes after 35 years — and how much stays the same?

I never forgot my childhood crush.  Over the years through dead-end relationships and dating disasters, I would go back to that comforting place in grade four and wonder about the cute boy who captured my attention and still held a special place in my memory.

The fantasy of reconnecting years later often presented itself in my mind. What was he doing now? Would he remember me?

Truthfully, I wasn’t even sure that we wouldn’t pass each other on the street and feel a twinge of familiarity but just keep walking.  After all, grade four kids are only nine years old. How much connecting could we really do at that age, I thought.

But suddenly, there was a chance encounter at Tim Horton’s with my grade four teacher. There she was, timeless and preserved as if it were still 1977. As I said hello, the memories came flooding back to me and I immediately went home to fish out the class photo that was carefully protected behind a plastic sheet in an ancient photo album. My crush was as cute as ever, as he stood posing with the group.  It was perfect for a Facebook post.

Although we weren’t children of technology, many of us born in the late 60s have adopted the habit of sitting behind a computer or phone to connect with our past. Many of my classmates from elementary school who were on my friend list flooded the photo with comments. Then suddenly, there he was. On someone else’s friend list.

I sent the friend request. Would he remember? Butterflies in my stomach. I attached a little note to ask.

The response was immediate. Are you kidding, he said. Of course I remember you! I always thought about you over the years.

It turned out that he lived in New York City and pictures indicated a lovely family of his own.  He was doing well.

We exchanged the usual promises to meet up one day for a coffee. But we were hundreds of miles apart and we hadn’t talked for 35 years. They were nice thoughts and I filed them away.

One year later, a trip to New York City presented itself. So I contacted my grade four crush. The coffee meeting was possible.  Was he up for it?

Yes indeed. An exchange of cell phone numbers and a promise to touch base was made. Truthfully, I still wasn’t sure it would happen.  But from my hotel room in New York, I sent the text, proposing a time. A response suggested a place – Times Square.  It was confirmed.

I walked through the busy streets of New York City on a cool spring day and suddenly, in the middle of Times Square, there he was – my grade four crush. We stood there for a minute among the hustle of the city and looked at each other and smiled.

Over Starbucks, we talked as if three decades hadn’t passed by. We reminisced about our grade four teacher and classmates, and we discussed his move to another school all too suddenly. He cried, he confessed. He was sad that he would not see me again.

I stared. You did? I asked.

He continued to reveal details of our friendship –details that I didn’t remember. We used to lay stomach down on the carpet side by side and read stories to one another, he recalled. He used to tell his mom about me.

I tried to recall those memories but my own told me that he was the cutest boy in the class and I had a crush on him, as did many of the other girls. 35 years later, I learn that I was the one he was most fond of.  More importantly, I find out that nine year olds can make connections that last a lifetime.

We chatted for the afternoon and he walked me to a street that would take me to my hotel again. We promised to keep in touch and parted ways.

That was over a year ago and we continue to connect on Facebook.  His emails make me smile and he checks up to see how I’m doing from time to time, with offers to talk when life throws a curve ball.

I’m happy that he’s found a love that keeps his heart full. He’s no longer my crush, but a bond that began in elementary school, lasted through decades of distance and came back, familiar and comforting as if we had shared stories on that carpet, in the second floor of that old school building, just a few weeks ago.

 

 

 

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