Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chapter 24: In which Katie gets serious

“Do you have a pen?” She asked the poster boy. He handed her a black Sharpie. Katie carefully crossed out “were” and with the tidiest printing she could manage, carefully wrote in “are”.

Eoin appeared at her side, and raised an eyebrow.

“I have to reach her somehow.”  Katie took his hand. An idea was beginning to form.

Katie didn’t even want to go to the other 7-Elevens. “There’s no point,” she told Eoin. There was something bubbling up in the base of her stomach, an idea, a plan. “We can still check them out, but I have stuff to do first.” She loved this feeling: alive, committed. She wanted to get home fast, ride this wave of emotion and possibility right into creation. She was ready.

“You’ve got a project in mind, don’t you? Maybe I can help.” Eoin smiled, grabbed her hand. He was reacting to the light in her face, to the energy in her walk as she hurried towards his truck.

Katie thought about his “studio”, that bachelor apartment dedicated to his wide-sweeping art project. She thought about the girl in the coffee shop who knew him, who knew “Eoin Verdon” just like that, they’d “learned about him in class”, and Katie wasn’t ready, not yet, to share this much with him.

“I’ll show you when it’s done.” She took his hand firmly in hers and squeezed. “I promise”. She hoped she meant it. She would try very hard to make it so.

So Eoin drove her home. “I can’t invite you in,” she said, the creative urge near to bursting. She worried that if she didn’t grab it right there it might fade away.

“Believe me, I get it.” Eoin smiled at her. “Take your time, Katie. I’m excited to see what you get up to.” He brushed the hair out of her face and  Katie wanted to kiss him, to press up against him, but then all that energy would be spent on him. And she wanted to spend it on herself, on Anne. So she pushed open the truck and waved goodbye. She loved that he understood this. He got it, he knew that feeling inside of her and he was willing to step aside and let her work with it. They’d see one another again, soon. She knew it.  And that fact, that solid, real fact, was enough for now.

Katie hadn’t been home in nearly 12 hours. Her house, her own little house, with its beige walls and Ikea furniture, didn’t exactly feel like a home. She hadn’t done enough living here yet.

But soon she’d have some art made, she could feel it. She’d hang some of it on the wall, and then she’d have Eoin over. Maybe once she’d had sex here (Would they? Oh, they would, Katie could tell from his kisses, from his hands, and her own reaction to them. Sooner than later, probably, and this made her face hot, made her worry about razors, about a waxing appointment, about padded bras in the dark. Too much! Not now! She banished the thoughts from her mind, she was losing that feeling in her blood, in her stomach, the creative feeling was sliding towards him and she yanked it back, she turned her mind back to herself, to the project at hand), maybe once she’d had sex in this house it would feel like a home. But for now, the house was waiting. Like Katie herself.

She walked into the kitchen to make some tea. She always had tea while she sketched out plans for new work. Her fingers were itching to get to her notebooks, long sitting unattended to in a corner of her living room, but she knew she could wait a moment til she had that cup of tea.

Her laptop was open in the kitchen, where she’d left it the night before while she’d been doing dishes. (She liked to watch television online when she did chores. It made the empty house a little less so. She’d tell people, “I have roommates,” and she meant the people on The Big Bang Theory, or  Law and Order, or old episodes of The Golden Girls.) She decided to check Facebook while waiting for the water to boil. No new messages, but there was an invitation to an event.

Watch out now....Melissa’s turning 34!

And we’re going to celebrate! This Saturday night, at The Rococco Room, VIP floor. Drop by my place first for cocktails and presents, and then we’ll head out en masse to dance, drink, and cheer on the one and only Melissa Williams!

The VIP area can take 30 people, so feel free to bring your significant others. OR leave them at home and pick up a hottie on the dance floor, bitches!

xox Nora

PS I’m trying to make this a surprise thing so please no spilling....

If there was one thing Katie hated, it was the word “hottie”. She also resented being called a “bitch”. When had that become acceptable? And she wasn’t a fan of surprise parties, and she was pretty sure Melissa wouldn’t want one, either. So there was a lot of stuff about this event that made her angry, but nothing was more upsetting then the fact that she hadn’t created it herself.

What had happened? She was the one who was supposed to be organizing Melissa’s birthday party. Not Nora. Not interloper Nora. Katie was here, and this was Katie’s job. But then she remembered all the terrible interactions she and Melissa had had recently, and she knew that Nora had done the right thing. Melissa didn’t want Katie organizing her party. She wasn’t even sure Melissa would want her at her party at all.

Katie heard the kettle click, but instead of making the tea, she looked at the list of invitees. There were Mike and Paul, which was weird, but she guessed they’d been Melissa’s friends before Katie’d started at the company. And there was Rosario, this girl Melissa and Nora had been friends with at U of T, and Kelly, (and his girlfriend, Kelley, no joke), and Melissa’s older brother and some of his friends, who also happened to be Melissa’s friends.

The “attending” column only had three names so far.  Nora, and David, Melissa’s ex, and David’s new wife, Georgina.

Well. This was unexpected.

Katie remembered, somewhat hazily, that Melissa had told her that they’d sorted things out at Brent and Lucy’s wedding but honestly. “Sorting things out” is a far cry from having them at her birthday party! What was Nora thinking? And she was calling all of them bitches? This seemed like the bitchiest move of all.

Katie could feel the creative energy ebbing out of her as she stared at the list of names. Some of them were unfamiliar, but some of them were very familiar. Rosario, and April and Suze, and Ahmed, and Dylan and Trev. This was her gang, pseudo-family, the group of people Katie had hung out with before Bobby, and during the early days of Bobby, and this was the group she’d lost touch with while she and Bobby had been making that world of theirs over in Vancouver. And this was the group that she’d wanted to slide easily back into when she’d come home, only Suze and Dylan had been Bobby’s, so that made things hard, and then Anne had gone crazy, and that had made things worse.

Katie went toward the kettle, determined to get back to her tea and the project before the night was up. While she waited for the tea bag to steep she thought about the last breakfast they’d all had, the big, friendly group of them, eating a sumptuous brunch at the Drake, Katie and April sharing the chicken and waffles because April was seriously hungover and Katie was seriously hungry. Anne wasn’t so off the rails, yet, she was still living at their parents place in Cabbagetown, and she was going to AA meetings, and she was seeing Jason and Jonah on regular Sunday visits, with the social worker and their parents holding their breath in the next room, and there was hope, still.

So Katie and April had been sharing a meal, and Dylan was regaling them with a story about his latest Internet dating disaster, and Melissa was with this guy she’d been dating, they’d been giggling, and it was so cute, and it was a perfect, sprawling Sunday morning when Anne had arrived, bright, breezy, and everyone knew her, Katie’s friends all knew her, she and Jason had hung out with them a few times in the past, before Katie had moved away.  Anne was the cool, successful older sister with the handsome husband, and so Ahmed had slid down the bench and said, “Anne, honey, come sit with me!”

Anne hadn’t ordered any food, just a mimosa, and then another. And then she’d moved onto a Caesar, and she’d ordered a pitcher because it was “so much more social!” only she’d drunk practically the whole thing herself, lounging across the bench when Ahmed and Rosario and Suze and Valeria all got up to go, about halfway into it.

“But there’s more to drink, you guys. C’mon, it’s Sunday!” Anne had filled up Dylan’s glass, and he was loving it, the two of them were sharing drunk-tank stories, only then Anne’s eyes had welled up when she started talking about “the damn social worker, I mean, he’s my kid, you know? I held down a job and breast fed him until he was goddamned near 18 months old, you know, pumping there in my office between meetings and they still have the gall to keep him away from me,” and then Dylan had slipped out, too, and April had left Katie most of the waffles and nearly all of the chicken, until it was only Katie, and Anne, and Melissa, and a bill for a whole lot of alcohol that Melissa had to cover.

That had been the last pseudo-family breakfast for Katie. She was pretty sure they still got together, but it was now so awkward that Katie had only ever met up with Melissa, that was it, and now there wasn’t even that.

Katie pulled out the tea bag, carried her mug over to the pile of notebooks in the living room. The desire to create had ebbed somewhat, but she thought she might be able to get it back. Her mind was filled with so much, she had to squeeze it all out, put it aside, and concentrate on her project. Something told her that if she didn’t start now, she might lose it forever.

She started flipping the pages of her books. Sketches, ideas, things she’d been going to make when she got home from Vancouver, when the ideas had been fresh and the plans abundant. She found a blank book, from the bottom of the pile, a blank, untouched space. This was where she had to start from: a new place. The heavy-handed symbolism of the blank page was not lost on Katie.

She picked up a pencil, a sharp, pointy one with dark, soft lead. And she began to draw. A large, overfull Caesar, filling up the page, resplendent with condensation, a pickled asparagus amongst the ice, and Katie’s own face reflected, distorted, in the glass.

What Katie wanted more than anything was to call her sister and ask her what the hell she should do about Melissa’s birthday. David and Georgina were invited. What should she do? What would Anne have advised, five years, four years, three years ago, before she lost it? Katie tried to remember her sister as she’d been then. She continued sketching various versions of the drink. It was making her so thirsty. She sipped her tea.

You Decide!

Does Katie decide to confront Nora about why she invited David and Georgina?
Does Katie decide to warn Melissa in advance that they’re coming?


  1. Warn Melissa

  2. Warn Melissa? hmmm. AT the moment Katie has no idea how Melissa will react to the news. They are estranged right? Perhaps Melissa will be more upset with Katie coming. Possible. Given their last encounter 'warning' her or talking to Nora would be exactly what Melissa finds objectionable regards Katie. Then again 'warning her' might be a risk worth taking. oh shit, warn her; after all what's life or a story without conflict.