Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved
miss helen keller, the blind girl who saw more than any of u with perfect vision
It was an evening that i didn’t want to go out. I never feel like going out simply because I wasn’t feeling the flavour for this town of London, that and I was bored of my current relationship. This is a constant theme of my life – getting bored of my current situation, partner and the predictability of life. It really is a combination of two things: one, the reluctance to be attached to something grounded, permanent and sustainable and more importantly, two, the fear of it being taken away from me. So this new state of mind I developed as my coping system is one gets bored quickly and loses interest even faster.
It is hard to recall the exact details of that night but I remember is as September 2001, frosh week or so. I was freshly 17, living in Wemple, the girls dorm at King’s College, UWO. I was dating my boss from Athlete’s World, my so call boyfriend, 27, adored me. I went to a seedy club called the Ridout with some guys from the other dorm. Mike Revait, a friend of my high school boyfriend – we became friends by affiliation but not even friends at all. So we went out, to the Ridout and I remember exactly what I wore. Black leather pants from Buffalo Jeans, with silver studs up the side, tight and cute as hell. I also wore my favourite boot de jour, they were black leather, huge wedge heel on them, chunky and a la 2001. My red Calvin Klein bra with the front clasp and a nude tank top. I also wore my large silver hoop earrings and a blast of attitude. If i remember correctly, my scent was YSL Babydoll. See the problem when you are rolling with a bunch of drunk white private school boys is – well, surely you can figure it out from that prelude. I know I didn’t drink because I never cared much for it – I’d rather be alert and remember details, faces, smells and clean shoes. Still very much on my Scarborough rich girl meets ghetto girl attitude, I was immediately drawn to the dark figure in a red with a Karl Kani denim suit. He was conspicuously sipping his drink. He was about 5’10 or so, but he had a good stance. I caught his gaze, and he saw me too. It has to be noted that this is a rare sight in the city of London, it was a cultural delicacy. London is a city that would make the the HR department of Hollister drool. Everyone is blonde, rocking skate shoes, surfer style, pucca shell necklaces and a fake baked to a toasty orange tinge. So, I knew mystery man, skin the colour of a perfect Hershey bar was about to approach me. I was standing by a pillar at this college style bar. I was out of place as a palm tree at Bay and Bloor. I looked up and he was looking at me. He motioned towards me, a good swagger and with a real street flavour to him. He look at me, leaned in real close and whispered. I heard him, but I had no idea what he said. His voice was one that you would hear on the radio, a tenor that rang with emotion. At that moment, the emotional expressed was a deep want. He handed me a card: Okazions, Store Manager. I remember not feeling no ways about it, but excited at the same time. School was easy, London was boring me, I was easily amused.
It must have been a few days after our first encounter that I found myself at Galleria Mall. This mall is located downtown London, by the train station. This downtown was not the urban centre Toronto represented, it was rampant with poverty, homelessness and an air of desperation. I went to Galleria and noticed many stores within the complex was closed, liquidated or empty. I was disappointed but took it in. Every place I explored and discovered helped me understand this new environment. Then coming down the escalator, I hear hip hop playing. I noticed a small urban clothing store in the corner. There was one man in the store, behind that register. The store was artisticly merchandised but lacked content and variety. It was the only store of its kind, tucked away in the right corner, by the entrance. The man was looking down at some paper work or such. I noticed he had a confident stance, strong shoulders, defined arms – a man who must frequent the gym. It was him, the same cat from the club. I went up to him and said hey. He smiled immediately and I remember feeling close to him right away. I walked around a picked out a few things I liked. And quickly realized he was no sucker and I wasn’t getting anything for free. I liked that. So we exchanged numbers and that was it. This was followed by a series of phone calls, a bowling date, a dinner date and endless longing. In the mean time, I still had my boyfriend in Toronto and was driving back and forth a lot, spending days in his apartment, back home and with friends. I went home nearly every weekend the first year I was in University. The new found freedom coupled with a town with nothing to do meant I spent a lot of time online, thinking, driving, laughing and divulging into my mind and soul.
Then I left for Manila. I spent the summer living in an improvished part of the Philippines, which children and adults alike that had a different worldview. But I realized that within all our difference in culture, food, beliefs, climates, architecture, similiarities and truths prevailed. Friendships, fabulousness, optimism, creativity, love for animals, zest for life all translated, no matter what language. During this summer of introsepection, my Toronto boyfriend also had a revelation of his own. He had decided to become a Christian and go to Bible school. He also told me that I was too much of a temptation for him and we were to break up. He felt guilty that he was 28 with someone 18 and it should end. And that I should also become Christian. So after an unaccepted collect call from me to him, a few more days of thinking, it was really over.
Then it was September, I was returning to school for my second year, with thoughts anew and with a more mature understanding of myself. I spent this year at Delaware and made incredible friends. This was the year of Sex and the City, incredible photos, going out with the girls, and giving away my childhood lab Bewbew. This was also the year my mom decided to move to China and sell our house in Scarborough. I was in my second year in London, my sister was in her final year at McMaster. We were worlds apart.