Scott Clarkson is a young and often fragile journalist, whose mid-twenties have yet to produce a clear distinction between dependency and love.
Dissatisfied by his current relationship - a complicated and secretive affair with a charismatic art teacher - Scott uses a chance encounter with an old high school crush as an escape to a place where desire and affection can be confused, and gratification replaces trust.
Removed from the life and circumstances that have kept him emotionally stunted, Scott's understanding of love loses balance and he discovers that maturity and pain are not exclusive.
I met Kate Foley for the second time at a party I didn’t want to attend. It had been a few months since I moved to Calgary, a tiny jump from the small suburban town a few hours away where my parents lived. I didn’t know too many people, and I wasn’t making any money. I spent most of my time watching Best Week Ever and throwing paper basketballs, and only ever went out for coffee and groceries. I was happy because I was finally living in a small, expensive apartment, with bad fixtures and a shitty refrig-erator. It was a housewarming party, just after New Year’s. Shawn had invited me, but I remember this party because of her.
Kate looked beautiful as ever, but I didn’t recognize her at first. Her hair was down, something I had never been lucky enough to see before. But it was more than that. She was wearing a green dress over jeans and had bracelets on her arms. She had gained a little weight, and she looked taller than what could be attributed to the heels. She also never used to wear heels. Kate was the kind of girl who wore running shoes and shorts and skirts and was fo-cused. Here, she was laughing. I never saw her laugh this way be-fore, more patronizing than genuine. It was as if someone had sent her back to the shop for remodelling.
At first, I thought she was just another beautiful girl on the other side of the living room, but she stopped laughing and began listening to someone I couldn’t see clearly. She crossed her arms. As I watched her, she tapped her nails against her arm, and smiled–courteously, almost–at an interval. I knew it was really her at that moment. Kate was being patronizing in the prettiest way.
Other than Shawn, I didn’t know anyone at that party. Still, I found myself in conversation with some guy. We were talking about music. I remember that he had a ponytail, and that I was bothered by it much more than by his obsession with Nick Cave. I yawned as I listened to him drone on about misrepresentation and getting breaks. I was in a bad mood that night. I don’t know why I agreed to go. I think it had something to do with my leather jacket. I think Shawn told me that I had to come because I had a cool leather jacket. I don’t want to say that this was the kind of person Shawn was—because he was so many different kinds of person—but at least a few of them were fashion victims.
I stopped him mid-sentence and told him that a friend of mine had just come in and I had to go say hello. Kate was in an-other room, but I could see her down a straight hallway. I walked right down the middle, breaking up everyone’s conversations and trying not to knock over paintings and end-tables. I kept apologizing to people I bumped into. I was heading toward someone I hadn’t seen in seven years. It was forever, and I had every reason to have forgotten her. But I hadn’t, and I began to think why.
As I came into the room, I remembered about a dozen quick things about Kate Foley. This short-list scared me into the oppo-site corner. I remembered that Kate had started out wanting noth-ing to do with me. Then, suddenly and without any kind of fair warning, she began to pay attention to me. And then, with the dumbest amount of awkward propositioning, she stopped. I stood only a few feet from her, and I saw her clearly enough to know that this wasn’t some stranger who just looked like a girl from seven years ago. I felt that familiar sense of panic. I wanted to be in Tibet, up on a mountain, praying with Buddhists, holding beads in my hands and wearing nothing under my ceremonial robes. I wanted that kind of ideal peace at this moment, when my memories were telling me to run away.