It’s spring. It’s a warm breezy day outside. People are walking down the streets. It’s the kind of day where you hear wind chimes, even when they’re not there. The neighbour across the way has her laundry hung on her balcony. I see this as we are walking down Drolet from St. Joseph back to my place.
He is texting someone and following behind me. We just got sushi from the place around the corner on St. Denis and we are carrying it in plastic bags. Before that, we went to Starbucks and got a coffee and a tea to share. I am happy. School is almost out and I am excited for the year to end so I don’t have to come back here anymore. We are going to fly out after graduation. We are flying on the same day – him back home and me to Boston to look for my new apartment. We plan to take a cab to the airport together.
We walk up the green and red metal outdoor staircase leading to my second floor apartment. He holds my sushi while I get out my keys. He is wearing his blue leather jacket and his fingerless gloves and his black and red tartan scarf and his yellow toque and his green ripped pants and his brown boots with holes in them and the shirt with the rabbit on it that I have too – we both bought them without knowing it.
I open the door. My cat comes running from her pedestal. The floor is a mess – tons of gravel and shoes and the small black ragged doormat. He walks right in ahead of me into the studio and sits on the armchair in the corner. He doesn’t take off his boots. I take off my shoes and close the door and put my stuff on the chair by the coat rack. I say hi to Coco and pick her up and ask her if she wants food as I carry her down the hall to check her water dish. He stays in the living room on his phone. I refill Coco’s water dish in the sink. I am wearing white socks and I can feel the kitty litter and crap on the kitchen floor getting stuck on the bottom.
He makes a noise and then comes down the hall quickly to meet me in the kitchen. Yellow sunlight is joyfully pouring through the big back windows onto the kitchen table and all my hanging plants. I wish I were in this place but a different time. I open the back door leading onto the balcony to let some air in.
He takes his sushi out and starts eating it right away. He doesn’t say anything to me. I go to the fridge and get a coconut water. I sit down in the chair beside him and dig my sushi box out of the bag. He makes a noise with his tongue while he’s opening his wasabi pack – like a sucking against his teeth. He takes his coat off suddenly and spreads it over the back of the chair. He is still wearing his boots. His legs are splayed wide. He takes up space – more space than me. Coco rubs against my leg. I ask if she wants to come up and pat my knee couple times, but she doesn’t. She walks over to the back door to sniff the fresh air.
He suddenly gets up and goes to the bathroom. He leaves the door open. He bangs the toilet seat as he lifts it up. He is humming to himself loudly. I can hear him peeing.
I open my sushi box and slowly mix the wasabi and soy sauce in the top lid of the container. He leaves the seat up when I hear him flush but he does wash his hands. He comes back in. I look up at him but he is looking down at his phone. I don’t ask why. I feel this creeping in my stomach but I ignore it. I think of everything that happened in January, but I do not speak. I feel a hard burning lump in my chest. I start to eat my sushi. It doesn’t taste good. I can feel myself chewing and the coldness and wetness of the rice more than the flavour. He sits and eats quickly. I can hear him chewing. He yawns and sighs. I eat another piece and then I get up and put the rest of my sushi in the fridge.
I go to the bathroom. I feel my socks on the cold blue tiled floor. I look at myself in the mirror. The lights hit my eyes with force. I look unhappy. My mouth is tight and still. I hear him move past the bathroom down the hall to the main studio. He settles somewhere in the room. I wait for a moment, not knowing what for, then I leave the bathroom. It is late afternoon now, the clouds have moved over and a blue light creeps down the hallway. I enter the studio and see him on the bed. He is rolled up in one of my white sheets. He’s kicked his boots off at the foot of the bed. He makes a whining grunting noise and moves his right arm against the pillow.
I feel my breath short in my lungs. I crawl into bed slowly and lay my weight down beside him. He wraps his leg over me heavily and pulls me in and moans. We undress each other under the covers slowly. We have sex. I don’t know what happens to me when that happens. I don’t remember that part at all. I only remember the white sheet. I lay on my back after and he rolls over. We rest for a moment. Then he gets up suddenly and puts on his clothes quickly. I lay there on my back. He goes to his bag in the corner and checks his phone. I lay on my back. He types something and scrolls. I lay on my back. He scratches himself behind the ear. I find my clothes under the covers and struggle to squeeze myself back into them with as little movement as possible. He says he has to go. He comes over and grabs his boots and sits on my feet while he puts them on.
“Who are you texting?” I ask. He avoids eye contact. “Umm.. Claudette. I think we’re going to go for drinks after the show tonight!”
“Okay… do you not want to go together then?” I say. “Oh, you’re going too?” he asks. “Yes, we talked about going together.” “Oh. I forgot.”
“Right.” He grabs his bag to go.
“Are you coming then?”
“I’m not dressed at all.”
“Hurry up then.” He goes back to his phone.
Four years later, I am grateful to Claudette for being the mother of his accidental baby instead of me.