Tara Richards is approaching her 40th birthday. Her marriage is rocky, she is attracted to a much younger man who works at the grocery store, and she is having difficulty with her sullen teenage son. The only one who understands her is her best friend, Lisa, but after a girls' night out, Lisa goes missing. Tara launches a frantic search to find her.
Imagine discovering that your husband is a bigamist," I exclaimed, as Lisa and I donned our jackets to leave the ByTowne Theatre.
“I'd kill him," Lisa retorted, as she put on her headband to brace the frigid wind.
“You'd have to stand in line!" I replied, as we forced our way through the large crowd that was waiting for the second feature.
The ByTowne was an old theatre with a widescreen, plush red velvet curtains, and hard, uncomfortable seats, which were so low that I felt that I was leaning back in a 1980s Corvette, waiting for takeoff. But the movie house specialized in foreign films. As a result, it attracted a faithful cult audience.
We had just seen My Architect, a docudrama produced by Nathaniel Kahn, son of the late Louis I. Kahn. The senior Kahn was a well-renowned architect from Philadelphia. He designed a number of impressive buildings including the town center in Bangladesh and the beautiful Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. The movie depicted the son's search for the father that he had never known.
At his funeral, colleagues were shocked to learn that Louis Kahn had not one but three wives simultaneously. He had fathered three children with different women and only saw young Nathaniel when he could sneak away from his official family. Nathaniel’s longing for his father was captured perfectly in one breathtaking scene where he rollerbladed through the vast and empty courtyard of one of his father's buildings overlooking the Pacific.
An older woman with long unkempt hair was standing in front of the movie house. She looked weathered and carried a tin cup.
“And you call yourselves Canadians!" the woman shouted when people passed by without giving her money. I dropped a coin in her cup, and she gave me a weary, toothless grin.
Lisa stopped to light a cigarette in front of a store called All Books. She leaned on a table. It was overflowing with used books with campy titles like Soul Centred Astrology and Killing Rage.
Lisa's match kept going out, thanks to the steady stream of snow that was falling. It was early April. This was probably the last snowfall of the season. Two men ahead of us were discussing the film.
"I really liked the play on words," the younger man said. "I mean, I. Kahn. Icon! Do you think that his fate was sealed by his name?"
"Oh, absolutely," his friend replied. "Look at all the children named Jesus in Venezuela. See the way they're prospering?"
"Maybe they'll get their reward in the next life," the first speaker declared.
Lisa and I laughed. "Want to go to Nate's?" I asked. We invariably went to Nate's Deli for a snack after our monthly excursions at the ByTowne. It was hard to say which we enjoyed more, the food at Nate's or analyzing the movies.
Occasionally, we’d vary our routine and walk down to Tucker’s Marketplace, a restaurant in the ByWard Market, which had an immense buffet. But tonight, the roads were slick with freezing rain, and the wind was gusting at thirty kilometers an hour, so I didn't feel much like hiking all the way down to Mother Tucker’s.
Lisa nodded in agreement. "Follow me," she instructed, as she grabbed my arm and ran across the busy avenue.