It is complicated to discuss something that seems impossible even to me... the sun sets outside my window here at the public library in my suburban neighbourhood, and I am finding it hard to return to the night when so much was lost... and realized.
If my recollection serves me right, and I can't guarantee that it does, it was a late summer evening and I was leaving my best friend’s house and heading two doors down to her neighbour - who incidentally was also my new boyfriend. I can't remember what I was wearing, or if I had a strange sense of urgency that afternoon, or what I was thinking as I was crossing her driveway... I do remember that I was enamoured with the fresh sense of love one gets when early in a relationship...
I fell for Luke hook, line, and sinker when I first saw him on one of those cheesy boat dances that were so popular with Catholic high schools in the early 90's. I was 16 - he, was 2 years older, and totally ignorant of my infatuation. Nothing ever came of that evening - in fact, I don’t remember anything else other than loud techno music, short skirts and long hair blowing in the uncontrollable wind on the lake, and radio static conversations that enrapture teenage girls into believing that nothing else exists outside of high school.
I don’t know what Luke did with the next couple of years, but I had an intense relationship with my 24 year old neighbour that ended sadly, but predictably. After this sad display of love gone soft I decided it was time for a more 'reliable' man. Fate, it seems, placed a very reliable man in my path. He was about my height, which in retrospect is strange since I never dated boys that were not significantly taller then me. His name was Milo, he was no boy, and everyone knew it. There were rumours that his family was involved in organized crime, that he participated in a series of criminal escapades all over town, and that he had a dangerous temper and a hammer fist. Right place, right time – I was drowning in an abyss of boredom. By this time, I had forsaken most of my superficial and extremely popular friends, this of course immediately made me 'not' popular - but I couldn’t care - I was bored with my high school existence and in the mood for something dark and frightening.
I don’t remember much about our short lived adventure other than the fact that he brought me flowers ripped out of our parish garden everyday, all my friends hated him and all my ex-boyfriends were afraid of him. When he walked into a room the entire population withdrew towards the walls. He would call my name loud enough for everyone to hear and I used to chuckle at the stares of disapproval that fogged around me like rain on a cloud.
I will not mention all our escapades here because that would take too long, but mostly because so many of them were illegal. I will say that Milo goes down in the chronology of my life as the Most-Fun-Worst boyfriend of all time.
Time passed, and soon enough I began to tire of his midnight ventures and sleep depravation which translated into the near alienation of all my friends - even the ones I liked. I let him know that I could not support his life style and tried my best to honour the strong influence he had in my life. It was because of him that I became brave enough to speak my mind; it was because of him that I no longer feared situations involving conflict. It seemed like something about his domineering presence opened the door to a confidence and an attitude I never knew I had - in future adventures this confidence and attitude would prove priceless.
And so, with the end, we reach the beginning. I was just walking away from my attachment to Milo when Luke stepped into my life, almost by accident. A long weekend in Montreal, and a brief affair with one of his friends landed me next to him in a drunken hotel room - I am aware that hotel rooms cannot be drunk, but you get the metaphor. One thing lead to another and we began what was later to be known as the 'how did I never notice you before' saga.
Thus, we come to the moment where I am walking outside my best friend's door heading out for a night of movies and popcorn with my new boyfriend and all our friends... the moment when a screeching black BMW sedan should have tipped me off to danger ahead… the moment when I should have bolted for the house just 10 feet away from where I was standing… the moment when I should have called out to whoever was sitting on the front porch a few doors down. I should have stayed away from the menacing driver who called out to me… I should have ignored the pity I felt when looking into his shattered eyes… I should have been cruel and left him holding out his bleeding heart… but I wasn’t… I stepped towards the sedan; I listened to his broken voice… I slowly walked over to the passenger side, smiled at the neighbour a few doors down, and glanced at the house where my new boyfriend and all our friends were waiting for me with movies and popcorn… I opened the passenger door, placed my hand on the warm black leather and sank into the darkness of his car… and we were on our way to Mexico.