Friday, May 29, 2009

Chapter 3

Sidney walked back to his car and took a sip of coffee before he got in. He wasn’t sure what had just come over him. Since when did he invite girls he just met to dinner? He shook his head and started the car. He sped out of the parking lot, hardly checking to see if there was any traffic coming.

He had already been running late before Misty ran into him. Now he was big time behind. He’d promised his friend Walker that he’d take him out on the boat all day to get him out of the house. Apparently Walker’s girlfriend Zara was throwing some baby shower at the house for a relative and he needed out. Walker threatened to kill him if he wasn’t there by 10. It was 10:15 and he still had a 10 minute drive ahead of him.

He knew he probably shouldn’t stop for coffee, but he couldn’t help himself. He probably did about 30 over the speed limit getting there. He figured he’d be in and out in less than five minutes and he’d still make it on time. That didn’t work out so well for him.

He’d been pretty pissed when he had coffee dumped on him. He was pissed up until the point when he’d finally looked at the girl who had dumped it on him. He didn’t recognize her, and was sure he’d never seen her before, and yet something about her tugged at him. He forgot about being angry and just concentrated on her.

She had obviously felt terrible about running into him and dumping the coffee on him. The way she scrambled around to help clean him up was kind of cute. It was also cute that she’d offered to buy him his coffee or pay for his dry cleaning. Like he couldn’t afford the five dollars either of those things cost.

By the time that incident had ended he would have been literally right on time or maybe just a couple minutes late at the most. Then he’d walked outside and heard the girl call her dog Bauer. He’d practically stopped in his tracks. It had piqued his curiosity and he had to ask her where she’d gotten the name from. The conversation just kind of took off from there.

Through the whole conversation he couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d felt in the coffee shop. He didn’t know what exactly it was, or why she was making him feel it, but he was sufficiently intrigued. That must have been what made him ask her to dinner. It was also what made him late.

“Shit!” he yelled as he slammed on the brakes. He’d just passed the road to Walker’s house. First Misty made him late, now she was making him miss turns he could follow in his sleep. He pulled a three point turn and pulled into Walker’s driveway a minute later.

“You’re late!” Walked yelled as he threw a bag and cooler into the trunk.

“I know, I’m sorry,” Sidney apologized. Walker got into the passenger seat and looked over at him.

“What happened to you?” he asked looking down at the coffee stain.

“Someone spilled coffee on me this morning at the shop. It’s why I’m late,” Sidney explained.

“I’ll let you live this time then. I swear, if I had to look at anything else that was pastel in color I was going to go on a killing spree.” Sidney cracked a smile and pulled out of the driveway. When they reached his house their other friends Caden and Wesley were already there and standing outside their car.

“I thought you said 10:15?” Caden commented. Sidney groaned.

“I did. I’m obviously late.”

“Well hurry up. I’m hung over from last night and need to crack open a beer,” Wesley chimed in. They all laughed and Sidney ran inside to change and grab his stuff.

They hit the water not long after. Sidney turned off the engine in the middle of the lake and they just drifted and hung out. Sidney nursed the beers while his friends got trashed. He didn’t want to be a drunken mess when he went to dinner with Misty later. At five he started up the boat and drove back to the dock.

“Who wants to piss off Zara and order pizza and wings at my place?” Walker asked. Caden and Wes both agreed.

“Sorry guys, but I’m out. I have dinner plans,” Sidney declined.

“What, mommy and daddy are cooking for you again? Blow ‘em off. You see them all the time,” Caden told him.

“It’s not my parents,” Sidney said.

“What?! Who the hell else would you be grabbing dinner with? Is Pat in?” Wes asked, referring to his agent.

“It’s not Pat. It’s a girl I met today. She’s new to the area and I said I’d show her around a bit. And don’t start,” he warned. They didn’t listen. He was subjected to catcalls and whooping as he tied the boat to the dock and carried his stuff up to his house.

“Have fun on your date!” Walker yelled as he got into Caden’s car.

“It’s not a date!” Sidney yelled back. He shook his head as he watched them pull out and drive away. Then he made his way inside and began to get ready.

I was a little nervous as I got ready for dinner that night. What did one wear to their first dinner with Sidney Crosby? It was ridiculous for me to be worried about it, considering I’d dated a guy who’d spent time in the NHL and I knew better than most that hockey players were just normal guys with a strange career. Even so, it was Sidney Crosby.

I had never been one of those girls that really thought he was attractive. Despite being a hockey fan, I hadn’t paid much attention to him at all. Sure I knew all about the hockey stuff, and the guy had some sick moves, but that was about all I knew. In fact, I’d been one of those people slightly annoyed with all the Sidney Crosby advertising the NHL had done, but I understood the business part of it.

Now I was going to dinner with the guy. Honestly I didn’t know he was from Cole Harbour. I knew he was from Nova Scotia, but it was an enormous surprise to me to see him standing there looking down at the coffee stain on his shirt that I had put there. Never in a thousand years did I think I’d meet him like that. What were the odds?

I went light on the makeup and pulled my hair half up, clipping it in the back. I chose a purple summery dress and a white shawl to wear over it. Even though it had been pretty warm during the day I knew it would be cooling down in a hurry. I slipped on a pair of black flats and made sure Bauer had food and water before leaving.

Because it was a nice night, I decided to walk again. When I walked I could see more of the area and what was around than I could if I drove. I left with plenty of time to get there. I smiled at a group of kids playing street hockey as I passed and waved to the same older couple sitting on their porch that I had seen earlier. It was just before 7 when I walked up to our meeting spot. Just as I was about to check my watch I spotted Sidney walking up from the other direction.

“I like that you’re on time,” I said to him while smiling. He looked up and smiled back.

“I do my best.” We walked to the restaurant that was just down the road. He held the door open for me, which was sweet. I thanked him and walked in. He was greeted by name and we were seated immediately.

“Thanks again for inviting me out even though I ruined your shirt, which I’m still terribly sorry about,” I told him. He laughed.

“It’s really no big deal. Stop apologizing.”

“No more apologizing. Got it. So what do you recommend here?” I asked perusing the menu.

“You can’t go wrong with anything. There’s nothing fancy on the menu, but everything’s really good.”

“I don’t like fancy. I always feel out of place, like I’m going to use the wrong fork and get yelled at. I much prefer this kind of atmosphere where people aren’t too haughty to have a good laugh.” Sidney laughed and I smiled across the table at him.

“Can I get you two something to drink?” the waitress asked coming over to the table.

“Can I get a water, no lemon please?” I asked.

“I’ll have the same,” Sidney told her. She nodded and walked away.

“No lemon for you?” I asked, cocking an eyebrow. Most people always wanted lemon in their water.

“I don’t care either way. Why didn’t you want one?” he returned.

“Citrus fruits are like the devil to me. Except for kiwis. Kiwis are unreal,” I explained. He gave me a strange look but laughed.

“So you don’t like lemonade?”

“Oh, I love lemonade. It just better have a load of sugar in it.” He laughed again. The waitress came back with the waters and asked if we were ready to order.

“Are you ready?” he asked. I nodded.

“Can I get the honey barbecue chicken with a baked potato, nothing on it, and a Caesar salad to start? Thank you.” She wrote down the order and turned to Sidney.

“I’ll have the sirloin with mashed potatoes and a garden salad.” She took the menus and walked away to put in the order. “So where are you from?”

“New York. And if you ask me where in the city I’m from, I’ll hit you,” I joked.

“Okay, no city talk. Why not?” he asked.

“I grew up closer to Canada than New York City. Montreal was only two and a half hours away. New York City was four. People just always hear that I’m from New York and they automatically assume the city. It’s annoying. New York is a big state. Okay, now that I have that off my chest, are you from here or just living here now?” I asked returning the question.

“Born and raised here. I’ve gotta ask, what brought you here?” I sighed wondering how much of the story I wanted to get into.

“I’ve basically had a crappy past few months and needed to get away from everything. I randomly picked a spot on a map and it happened to be here,” I explained. Our salads were dropped off, but we continued talking.

“Kind of a random way to pick a place to move to, don’t you think?”

“I know, but I didn’t exactly have any place in mind. It’s not like I’ve moved here permanently. I’m just here for the summer. I head back home at the beginning of September.”

“Okay, one more question and then I’ll stop quizzing you, I promise. I really want to know the story on your dog’s name.” Oh man, I’d known Sidney for about 20 minutes and he was bringing up the tough subjects.

“I told you. After the equipment company. My ex named him,” I responded.

“Well, yeah, but how did he know about the company?”

“It’s not exactly an underground company. Just because it’s not Reebok doesn’t mean people don’t know it exists,” I snapped at him. I felt bad immediately because he didn’t know, and I took a deep breath to calm myself.

“Sorry,” he said and fell quiet. Thankfully the food came.

“Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. Trust me, the last thing I want to do is alienate the only person I’ve met here within half an hour of hanging out with them. It’s just kind of a sore subject,” I apologized.

“I didn’t know. I’m sorry. We’ll change the subject,” he suggested. I felt like I owed him a little bit more.

“Ex talk isn’t usually the most fun topic to discuss when you first meet someone anyway, right?” He smiled over at me.

“I guess not. I just couldn’t stop thinking about his name. I’ve heard of a couple people naming their dogs Bauer, but they all played hockey.” I took another deep breath.

“Well, chalk this up as another one. Mason, my ex, plays.” Sidney looked surprised.

“He still plays?” I nodded. “Where?”

“Vancouver,” I told him while avoiding his eyes. I did not want him to think I was some rink rat.

“Mason Raymond?” he questioned. I nodded. He was quiet for a minute.

“Look you’re probably getting the wrong idea right now. I had no idea you lived here or even close to here. I certainly didn’t think you would invite me to dinner, but I wasn’t going to say no. I don’t know anyone here and I would have accepted a dinner request from some hoser who stopped me on the side of the road and asked, okay?” He burst into laughter. “What?”

“Did you seriously just say hoser?” he asked through his laughter.

“Oh, because I’m not Canadian I can’t say hoser?” He just kept laughing and shook his head. I began to laugh too, and I started to feel better.

“Why did you two break up?” he asked when he finished laughing. I took a bite of my chicken before answering.

“We were together for over two years and that’s when he decided to tell me he didn’t want to marry me. Ever.”

“I’m sorry.” I shrugged, trying to blow it off.

“So, what do you do for entertainment around here? Grilling a girl about her ex can’t be it?” I joked trying to lighten the mood. He smiled and laughed again.

The rest of the dinner went well. We stayed off all dating topics and Sidney told me a bit about Cole Harbour after I told him a bit about Saratoga, where I was from. We spent most of the night laughing and talking like we were old friends and not like we’d just met that day. It was nice to have a dinner with a new guy and not have the pressure of it being a date hanging over me.

“Did you walk here?” he asked when we got outside.

“I did.”

“Want a ride home?” he asked. I thought about turning him down, but felt the chill in the air and changed my mind.

“That would be great, thanks,” I accepted. He led me to his car and I froze when I saw it. “This is your car?”

“Yeah. Is something wrong?” I turned to look at him and shook my head.

“You should have your license revoked. You almost ran me over in the crosswalk this morning when I was heading into the coffee shop. Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about dumping coffee all over you,” I said sarcastically.

“I’m sorry. I was running late to meet some friends. I don’t normally drive like that,” he assured me. I gave him a skeptical look.

“Yeah, sure, you say that now that I’m getting in the car with you.” He laughed and I joined in.

He dropped me off and I thanked him before getting out. We exchanged numbers and he said he’d call and show me around Cole Harbour. I walked in the house and saw Bauer peeking his head around the corner from the hallway checking who was walking in the door. When he saw it was me he ran out and jumped up on me. Some guard dog.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chapter 2

I yawned as I began to wake up. Bauer was curled up at the end of the bed but saw me move and hastily made his way up towards me. He’d obviously had enough of sleeping, and he showed me by nudging my arm so I would pet him. I smiled and did as he asked as he shook his tail so hard his whole butt moved back and forth.

“Good morning, sweet boy,” I said before giving him a kiss on the top of the head. He collapsed down next to me and rolled over so I would scratch his belly. This had become a daily routine. “Okay, let’s go.” With that he took off out of the bedroom and into the kitchen.

I followed him in and opened the back door to let him out. I made my way over to the coffee maker and saw that it hadn’t made enough of my coffee for the second morning in a row. I’d had it set to start at 9 every morning for three cups, but it had apparently crapped out after just five days of use and was only making a cup. I guess that’s what I get for buying the cheapest one I could find.

Bauer came running back up to the screen door and let out a small bark. I smiled and let him in before pouring some hard food into his dish for breakfast. He hungrily began to gobble it up and I dumped out yesterday’s water and filled his bowl with some fresh water. I grabbed the cup of coffee and drank it quickly as I stood in the kitchen looking out the window. Then I made my way back into the bedroom and pulled out some clothes to put on.

I got dressed, put in my contacts, brushed my teeth, and threw my hair up into a messy bun. Before I made my way back into the living room I could already hear the squeaking of the toy Bauer had decided to pounce on. I grabbed the toy hedgehog and wrestled with him for it until he let it go. I threw it down the hallway and he gave chase.

“Wanna go for a walk?” I called out to him as he came trotting back into the living room. His tail immediately started wagging and he dropped his toy and ran over to his leash. “Good, because Mama needs coffee.”

I strapped his leash on him and we made our way out the front door. I’d only been in Cole Harbour for a week, but so far I liked it. It was a little strange to be someplace where you didn’t know anybody, but I’d never been afraid of a challenge. It was a beautiful day. Warm but not hot, a light breeze, and hardly a cloud in the sky.

It was about a 10 minute walk from my house into town, but I didn’t mind when the weather was like this. I made a mental note to go for a run later in the day, but first thing was first. I simply didn’t function if I didn’t get some coffee when I woke up.

Bauer started off a little anxious but eventually settled down into my slow pace. I wasn’t in a rush. He walked along the sidewalk sniffing just about everything in sight. We walked past an older couple sitting on their porch. They smiled and waved and I returned the gesture. People were so friendly here.

We got into town and I spotted the coffee shop I’d scoped out my first day here. It was always the first thing I found anywhere I went. Bauer and I reached the crosswalk and I stopped to see if there were any cars. Only a silver SUV of some kind was coming, but was far enough away. I tugged on Bauer’s leash and he followed me out into the road. I took a look at what I could now identify as a Range Rover and saw that it was coming much faster than I had thought. It also didn’t look like it was going to stop for us. I yanked Bauer back to the sidewalk just as the car sped by.

“Jerk,” I mumbled glaring at the car as it took a turn a little faster than necessary, tires squealing. I shook my head and crossed the street. I tied Bauer’s leash to a parking meter and walked inside.

“Hi, can I help you?” the girl behind the counter asked me when I got to the front of the line.

“Yeah, can I please have an egg and cheese croissant and two coffees? Black, please,” I ordered. Okay, so I probably like coffee too much. I guess you can compare me to Loralei Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. Give me coffee and give it to me strong.

“Sure thing.”

I handed her the money and moved to the side to wait for my order. My phone started to vibrate and I pulled it out of my pocket to see I had a text. Just then my coffees and breakfast sandwich came up and I struggled to balance all four objects. Thinking I had it all under control I turned to make my way out of the coffee shop. I kept my eyes on everything so I wouldn’t drop any of it, which was a bad play.

“Oof,” I said as I ran right into the person standing behind me. My phone fell to the floor with a clatter and one of my coffees opened and spilled all over the person. “Oh, God, I am so sorry!” I ran over to the counter and put the rest of the stuff down and grabbed a handful of napkins.

“It’s fine,” the guy huffed taking the napkins from my hand. I looked up at him and wanted to hit my head off of the wall. Great, scald Sidney Crosby. The NHL would love that.

“Really, I am so sorry. Did I burn you?” I asked using the remaining napkins in my hands to help wipe him off.

“No, thankfully.” He didn’t exactly sound thrilled, but hey, I couldn’t blame him.

“I am so embarrassed. I’m usually not that klutzy. I was just trying to do too much at once. Can I give you money for dry cleaning or buy you your coffee or something?” I asked. He looked away from his shirt for the first time and his eyes locked on mine.

“No, it’s fine. Really,” he assured me, his tone softening a bit.

“Okay, well, have a good day. I am so sorry.” I turned to grab my remaining coffee, sandwich, and phone.

“Aren’t you going to get another coffee to replace the one you spilled?” he called after me.

“I obviously don’t need another one. Sorry again,” I told him before walking out of the shop. I put my things down on the ground next to Bauer and began to untie his leash. When he was free I checked the text on my phone.

“How’s Cole Harbour?” Nick had asked. It’s fantastic! I just dumped coffee all over Sidney Crosby. I sighed and started to text him back when Bauer began to pull at his leash.

“Bauer, stop it!” I yelled at him as I struggled to get the text written.

“Is your dog’s name Bauer?” I heard a male voice ask. I snapped my phone shut mid-text when I saw Sidney standing in front of me with his own coffee in his hand.

“Uh, yeah, it is,” I replied glancing down at him.

“What did you name him after?” Was he seriously talking to me after I dumped burning hot coffee on him?

“The equipment company.” He gave me an odd look. Most people thought I’d named him after Jack Bauer from 24, but I’d never even seen an episode of the show.

“Nike Bauer?” he asked, like he didn’t know.

“Well, they’re not affiliated with Nike anymore, but yeah.” He gave me a small smile.

“Do you play?” What was this, 20 questions?

“No, I don’t. My ex named him,” I explained. Sidney nodded and came a few steps closer.

“He’s cute. How old is he?” Okay, was the guy going to say anything that wasn’t in the form of a question?

“A year and 3 months. I know, I sound like he’s my kid when I’m that specific.” He laughed and bent down to pet Bauer. Like he does every time someone he doesn’t know tries to pet him, he backed up and hid behind me. “Sorry, he’s really shy around people he doesn’t know.”

“It’s okay.” He straightened back up and looked at me again. “I’m Sidney.” Really? No shit. He held out his hand to me. I juggled the three objects in my hands to free up one of them.


“Sorry if this sounds weird, but you seem new here.” Hey, no question, two sentences in a row!

“Is it that obvious?” I asked with a small laugh. He smiled. “I’ve only been here a week.”

“Oh yeah? How do you like it so far?” Well, that no question thing didn’t last long.

“I like it. I don’t exactly know where much is though. I’ve been trying to explore a little bit each day. It’s just kind of hard to know where to go when you’re here by yourself and you don’t know anything about it.” He raised an eyebrow.

“You’re here alone?” I nodded.

“Yeah, just Bauer and me. We thought we needed a vacation someplace new. Do you have any suggestions on anything to do, or any good places to eat?” Ha, my turn with the questions.

“There are a few things to do and places to eat. What are you doing tonight?” I was surprised not only by the fact that he had asked what my plans were, but by the fact that he managed to ask yet another question.

“Well, I was probably going to curl up on the couch, watch some TV, and hang out with Bauer,” I told him truthfully only realizing after I said it how lame it sounded.

“Well, if you’re not too dead set on that, why don’t you let me take you to one of those good places to eat?” Uh, what? This wasn’t really happening. Except for it was.

“Sure, that would be great. Thank you.” I wasn’t opposed to ever making new friends, and certainly not ones named Sidney Crosby. He gave me a time and told me to meet him right where we were now.

“I’ll see you tonight, Misty,” he said as he turned to walk in the opposite direction from me.

“Oh, Sidney!” I called after him. “What should I wear?” He turned back to me.

“It’s really casual. What you’re wearing now would be fine.” I looked down at my jeans, flip flops, and plain purple t-shirt.

“You’re not taking me to Tim Horton's are you?” I joked. He laughed.

“I wasn’t planning on it.”

“Good. I’ll see you at 7.” He gave a small wave and I turned and began my walk back home.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chapter 1

I counted my tips for the night before reporting them and then got ready to leave. I hated waitressing, but it was something I needed to do to make some money before I found a permanent job or went back to school. Whichever came first. As I walked out of the restaurant and to my car I thought about the job and college search. Just a few months ago I wasn’t concerned about finding a job or going back to school. I didn’t need to be.

I pulled into the driveway and walked through the front door of my parents’ house. I was embarrassed about living there, to say the least. I was almost 22 and living at home. That in itself isn’t terribly embarrassing. The fact that I hadn’t been living with them for three years and now I was back was embarrassing.

I saw headlights sweep across the wall in front of me and turned to see my brother Nick’s car pulling into the driveway. It wasn’t embarrassing for him to be living at home, he was only 18. Lucky bastard.

“Hey, how was work?” I asked him as I made my way into the kitchen.

“I hate people,” he responded.

He was a waiter at a different restaurant. It must be nice to only have to be in that profession for a summer job, unlike me, who was forced to do it because I didn’t have my life figured out anymore. I opened the refrigerator and grabbed a two liter of Ginger Ale. I jerked my head towards my bedroom and he smiled at me. I walked into my room to change while Nick did the same.

A few minutes later he knocked on the door and I let him in. He greeted my dog Bauer, who was curled up on the futon that acted as my current bed as I pulled the bottle of Jim Beam out of my closet. Hiding alcohol when you were of legal age was another embarrassing part of living at home. While my dad was fine with it, my mom was the most anti-alcohol person I knew. It still didn’t stop me from stashing some in my room and sharing it with my underage brother.

“I just don’t understand why people go out to dinner when they’re in such shitty moods,” Nick groaned as he took the first sip of the whiskey ginger I poured him.

“People are assholes. Get used to it,” I told him.

He smiled and laughed. I turned on the television and began to flip through the channels. I stopped when I saw a replay of the Yankees game from earlier in the night. Nick groaned again.

“Are we seriously going to watch this?” Nick was a Mets fan. I don’t know where I went wrong.

"Of course we are, and you're going to like it." He mumbled something about them being an embarrassment to the sport. I didn't pay attention.

We sat and talked while getting drunk and watching TV. I was glad I was so close to my little brother. More often than not our nights drinking after bad days at work lasted until 4 or 5 in the morning, just before my parents woke up for work, when we were just too drunk to stay conscious.

We got talking about how depressing my life had been in the last four months. Three months ago I had a boyfriend and a life. I’d met Mason my freshman year at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Some guy came up to me at the dining hall and invited me to a party. I agreed, eager to make friends and was shocked when I’d shown up to the Bulldogs hockey team’s rookie party. I’d rolled my eyes as soon as I’d figured it out and put down the drink someone had handed me so I could leave. I loved hockey, but I didn’t love being fresh meat for the hockey team.

Just as I reached the door I felt someone’s hand grab my arm. I turned to see an attractive brunette standing in front of me. He begged me not to leave, and something about him made me agree to stay. I spent the rest of the night talking with Mason and he never once made me feel like fresh meat. Probably because he was a freshman as well. A few weeks of hanging out later and Mason and I were official. Things between us were perfect.

At the end of his sophomore year he left school to go pro. I was upset at first, until he asked me to go with him. I was only 19, almost 20, and I knew my parents would kill me if I left school. I also knew Mason was the guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and I was afraid if I didn’t go I’d lose him. He promised to take care of me, so at 19 I left school much to the disappointment of my parents. They’d expected more from the daughter who had graduated 11th in her class of 230. I’d only been .003 points from cracking the top 10 but I just couldn’t bring myself to care enough about physics during senior year to get there.

I followed Mason to Manitoba where he spent only part of the season. I was young and in a new country. The lifestyle was one I didn’t know if I’d ever get completely used to. Manitoba might have been the most miserable place on earth. I’d always wanted out of the cold and snow and somehow I ended up someplace worse than upstate NY.

Part of the way into the season Mason was called up to Vancouver. I hopped on a plane for free thanks to the clause in his contract that specified that the team would fly me out. I sat alongside his parents as I grinned at seeing “Raymond” splashed across the back of a Canucks jersey.

I always felt a little out of place sitting at the games with the rest of the wives and girlfriends of the players. Maybe it was because I didn’t like having to dress up to go to a hockey game. Maybe it was because I actually liked to watch the game instead of drink wine and gossip. Maybe it was because I was so much younger than most of them, and even the ones that were my age were engaged or married. No one takes you seriously when you’re just a girlfriend.

I’d gotten a waitressing job under the table in Manitoba that I’d had to quit with no notice because of the call up. I then managed to find another one in Vancouver that would also pay me under the table. Even though I had my own money, Mason never let me pay for anything. I guess he enjoyed spending his money on me.

“I’m in the NHL now. You shouldn’t even be working,” he’d say to me. Yeah, so I can sit on my ass going stir crazy with nothing to do. Fat chance.

While he was the same guy he’d always been with me, he enjoyed throwing his name and money around when it came to others. I always hated that about him. But thanks to him taking care of me and not having to pay taxes, I amassed quite a bit of money in my bank account. I always liked to claim that made me independent, but in the back of my mind I knew I was dependent on Mason for everything.

We’d often talk about our future. Even though I was young I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. We would talk about settling down, getting married, and having kids. Despite the fact that he always said that was what he wanted, he never seemed to get any closer to proposing. I tried not to worry about it, telling myself I was still really young, but I couldn’t help but notice everyone else around us was settling down when we weren’t. This past February I’d had it and asked Mason if he was ever going to buy a ring. He’d looked shocked with how blatantly I’d asked him and it took him a while to answer.

“Misty, I don’t want to marry you.” Well, happy Valentine’s Day to you too.

Just like that it was over. He hadn’t said he wasn’t ready, and he hadn’t said he didn’t want to get married. He had told me that he didn’t want to marry me. I’d wasted two and a half years on a guy who didn’t even want to marry me. Despite his begging I packed up my stuff and moved back home. I wasn’t sure why he tried to keep me there if he was just going to end the relationship at some point down the road, and I never asked him. Mason and I hadn’t spoken since.

“I need to get out of here,” I confessed to Nick. He smiled and nodded.

“Don’t we all.” I shook my head at him.

“You don’t understand. I have plenty of money. I should go somewhere for the summer. Just me and Bauer,” I told him. He laughed at me, thinking it was the alcohol talking.

“And where would you go?” he asked.

I didn’t answer him. I pulled out a map of North America that I had in my room, leftover from high school. I began ripping it into pieces. I made the pieces small enough so that there weren’t too many places on any individual piece. It took a while, but I had a plan. When I was done I threw the pieces into a hat, all while Nick watched me with wide eyes.

I shook the hat, closed my eyes and pulled out a piece. Then I stuck a pencil I’d chosen as a pointer on the piece before opening my eyes. I checked out the piece of map I’d pulled out and tried to figure out where the dot I’d made was located. I grabbed my laptop and brought up a map of the closest city. I scrolled to the east and found where I estimated the dot was.

“This is where I’m going,” I said pointing to the map on the computer screen.

Nick shook his head at me, clearly not believing that I was ever going to do this. I quit work the next day and then broke the news to my parents. They were speechless and clearly disappointed in me for the second time in their lives. Who just packed up and moved to a place with no friends, family, or job? I told them it was just for the summer to get away and find myself, but they didn’t understand.

I found a cute little cottage to rent online and sent in my deposit. On Memorial Day weekend I packed up my car, put Bauer in his bed in the backseat and began my trip. The weather was nice and I had a smile on my face as I drove with the windows down and music playing. I was heading to Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.