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Excerpt from “GET OVER IT”

March 11, 2011

*Just a story I’m working on with a childfree tone*

Chapter One

55 Briarcrest Drive in the Annex neighbourhood had charming three-storey Victorian red-bricked houses built in the 1920s. Amidst old cedar trees and square cut lawns, the house seemed special. It was the last one on the street with two cars parked in front. One was Reid and Alex’s red Dodge Calibre and the other belonged to Mia and Allegra—a silver Toyota Matrix. Unlike the other residents on the street, some families and others co-habitant artists and environmentalists, the two gay couples were best friends and had been for over eight years. They had all pitched in to buy the house together and decided to live together as a family with their two dogs—Roscoe, a husky-Akita mix and Bono the French bulldog.

Just as the sun was setting on another lovely, sun-touched Wednesday evening, Mia and Reid returned from their 9-5 jobs. Reid with his ID tag scrupulously pinned to his charcoal slacks and his brown hair neatly combed back looked like any other 32 year old businessman—a bit of scruff, a bit of a beer belly and a smug look in his green-blue eyes. Mia, who had on a pin-striped business suit and black pumps, held her briefcase and take-out sushi proudly. Their home spoke of quiet elegance and charm like their home—fireplace mantel resplendent with fire-glassed vases and ornamental decor from India. The couches were a sombre mahogany of rich Italian leather and the rugs of a quality wool. The Victorian house had three floors and Mia and Allegra slept on the third floor—a spacious attic space with large windows and a lovely view of the downtown city centre.

“Oh, well I see you beat the six o’clock traffic,” Reid commented, pulling open the fridge and pulling out a Coke. He grabbed the leather leash of his dog and smiled. “Mind if I steal a maki roll?”

“Knock yourself out, Reid. I have a few files to look over, work doesn’t end when I clock out,” the legal aid advisor told him before her energetic dog came bounding down the steps. She knew she didn’t have to take him out because her partner, a CSIS secret agent, had taken him for a two hour run at High Park only a few hours ago. She could tell from his sparkling eyes her dog was satisfied. His white and brown mottled fur gleamed majestically as he sat obediently waiting for some love from his master. Alex, the manager of an Abercrombie and Fitch store, would be home at 10:00pm and would likely head straight to the bars on Church St.

Mia took off her pumps and went up to her bedroom to change into Lululemon yoga pants. Her king size bed was neatly made with plumped up pillows, a folded peach-coloured embroidered duvet and spotless white silk sheets. She was certain there was nothing as tantalizing as romping around in silk sheets at night. A small smile tugged at her lips as she padded back down the steps, unconsciously thinking of how well the exercise was sculpting her gams. She had the whole evening in front of her and this was quite exhilarating. What would she do tonight? Head over to Rhonda’s Bakery for a mouth-watering tart? Maybe walk up to Queen West to check out the emerging art scene opening over on Shaw Street? She realized her legs felt like moving. She would cycle down Lakeshore Boulevard and get some exercise. Nothing invigorated her like some good, old sweating.

When Reid came back inside with two full poop bags, she gave him her best Cheshire grin. “Reid, can I borrow your bike for a couple of hours?” she asked.

He nodded dismally. “Just be sure to lock it up if you stop in a store or something,” he warned, “It is a two thousand dollar Genesis Core bike, after all. Where else will you get that kind of carbon steel?”

“You mean with all the dust on top?” Mia joked. “You haven’t ridden this bike twice, I bet.”

She fished out her helmet from the front closet, which was teeming with tennis racquets, roller blades, fishing poles, balls of all sorts and shin pads. She shook her head and zipped her American Express credit card, the bike lock and two Fiji water bottles into her backpack. It was going to be a fun ride with the wind whipping through her hair and the whirring of her bike pedals as she sped past frozen traffic. Oh, she could see it now, the beautiful blue waters against the steel sky scrapers. The burnt orange of the sky in the horizon. She could almost taste the—wait, never mind, Lake Ontario smelled like sewers and probably tasted the same. Oh well, it was almost perfectly idyllic.

“If Allegra calls—tell her I’m biking!” Mia called out as she locked the door. Everyone on her street owned a bike, and few owned cars. It was part of the “Carbon footprint” trend going on in intellectual circles, and if she didn’t regularly road trip out West to British Columbia and Algonquin Park she wouldn’t have a car either. It wasn’t like parking in the courts were cheap or anything. Three years of college and she had a basic job—sit and give alleged criminals access to government lawyers. She knew all of them—Spencer, Webstein, Murdoch. They would all take on the angry young thugs and the mischievous, drug-abusing young females with stony glares and army coloured cargo pants. The lawyers did it for the money, they felt no sympathy for the offenders whether they received 10 year sentences or walked with anger management. They were too busy tapping in social dinners on their iPhone and texting their friends about last night’s episode of Glee. She didn’t blame them—paradoxically, crime paid.

She wiped her mind free of work worries as a cool Northern wind cooled her cheek. She admired the sleek white-and-black print spandex of a fellow female cyclist, her eyes hidden behind cool Ray-Bans. She sped by on a superior professional bike, but Mia was almost certain she had seen her nod in some kind of mutual respect. Ah, a female cyclist. Good, good, she seemed to say with barely the lifting of her chin. Mia turned down Gould Street knowing it would leave to College Avenue and she could cut across Allen Gardens Park. She took that way knowing there would be less vehicular traffic, and she could use the streets instead of weaving through pedestrians—many cruising with strollers or shopping bags with no apparent rush.

Her mind drifted back to Christmas dinner four months ago when her grandmother, her partner’s parents, Alex’s sister and Reid’s parents and brother joined them for turkey at their Annex house. It was the third year they were living there but the first all their family had been together. It was beyond awkward but at least champagne and wine helped take the edge off. The presents were a good distraction to the fact four homos were living together in peace and harmony.

“I still thinking buying a property—a long-term investment—is not something you should have done with friends. You rent an apartment or a dorm with friends,” Allegra’s father was quick to say just after opening his beer. Despite his ironed suit and shaven face, the 60-something year old man was grumpy and ashen. He believed his daughter was nuts. She had enough money to buy a lovely home out west in Caledon, why on earth did she choose this?

“Oh, Reid and Alex are like brothers, Papa,” Allegra replied, “Now shush before you ruin Christmas!” She smiled demurely after saying this in Portuguese, though her eyes were throwing knives and daggers. Her mother seemed content with draining the entire bottle of Port.

“This is a lovely table. But who owns it? Reid and Alex or you guys?” Mia’s grandmother had said testily.

Reid shrugged calmly, “We don’t even remember. Everybody’s bought something or other, to be honest. I think we all pitched in on the table. It’s from Pier 1.”

“And it’s still in pristine condition,” Allegra bragged. “My brother’s table is scratched to hell from his two kids Brady and Marshall.” Her eyes seemed haunted by her nephews—two rambunctious nightmares. She wasn’t sure which one she’d choose if she had a choice between Brady and being stuck in a famine or Marshall and being stuck in a drought. Brady was the kind of kid who asked a million questions, snooped in your drawers and listened to all your conversations. Marshall was just a great ball of energy, and she believed he required a strong sedative to sleep at night. No wonder her brother was already turning bald at 35!

Conversation managed to turn to careers, something each family member was proud of until dessert when Reid dished out homemade tiramisu cake and cannoli. His parents were a bit plastered and red in the face.

“Mom, no more red wine for you,” Reid said irritably, placing a dessert saucer in front of his mother. “Mom! Good grief.”

“I brought you some brochures. These are starving kids in Bengal,” Reid’s mother said dramatically, “There are so many in orphanages. They need a good home.”

“Good, so tell your church friends,” Reid shrugged. “All they do is sew and knit—surely they have enough time for some orphans. There’s no room here…Bono and Roscoe already called the couches!”

Mia didn’t mean to laugh, but it came out anyways. As mortified as the older generations were, they seemed to admire and envy their children’s lives. It was something they never had the guts to do. She knew as well as everyone else that their vain attempts to change their lives were futile, and if they had ever fallen apart their parents would be just as heart-stricken as they would end up. Well, probably not. They might rejoice instead, but the thought that they were able to comprehend their decision to live with their close friends gave her hope. Her grandmother hated cannoli, but she ate it. She didn’t like her decision to be with her partner Allegra, but she was there for Christmas dinner because as unconventional as it was, these friends were family.

Chapter Two

  1. Kate permalink

    hey, i love your blog, which I have just recently discovered. just being a total pedant though – if the houses were built in the 1920s they wouldn’t be Victorian! 😉

  2. Thank you, I will fix that and good to know 😀

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