Winter this year seems so long that no longer remember whether or not Christmas happened. And yet, how could I have forgotten? Christmas this year was an epic event. The Boatman and I and the Big Black Dog drove all the way to Ontario, and back.
But first we had to have a fake Christmas Eve and Christmas with the Boatman’s family. Fake Christmas Eve dinner was on the 21st of December at the restaurant the Bicycle Thief. Our handsome waiter sat me and the Boatman and his siblings down at a booth. He looked familiar. Apparently, so did I.
“I think I remember you from Montreal,” he said.
“Oh really,” I said.
“Yes, we went to a couple of the same parties.”
“Oh really,” I said again. Being a pretty cheap drunk back in the day, all those parties were a blur of vodka-based drinks, invitations to free yoga classes, some mouth-to-mouth contact, and a great deal of oversharing. I had another look at our waiter and began to remember. Dark, almost black hair. Piecing light blue eyes. Yes, I could remember. His name was Pavel and I’d had a huge crush on him. I think I’d tried to find him on Facebook and pined after his silhouetted profile for two and a half days before deciding that I had absolutely no chance.
The Boatman and I ordered elaborately titled martinis. We had over 3000 km of driving and 4 Christmas dinners ahead of us. This was no time for restraint. Pavel returned with our drinks.
“Now I remember the party we met at. Mae West’s birthday. You know Mae, from the BC crowd. You did all these contact improv moves.”
“What’s contact improv?” asked the Boatman. Until that moment, I’d forgotten, but now I recalled. Since taking a first-year dance elective called “Body and the Imagination,” I’d been obsessed with contact improv and insisted that people join me in my passion at every drunken experience during my undergrad. My move of choice involved getting some guy (or several) to hold me by the waist and lift me up as I jumped and reached for the ceiling, spreading my arms and legs like a kid making a snow angel. When it came to selecting contact improve partners, I was relentless, uninhibited, and perhaps not all that discriminative either.
“That sounds like fun,” said the Boatman. “People must have really liked you.”
“I guess,” I said.
With a little more digging, remnants of Mae West’s birth came to me. I had just completed 108 sun salutations for a fundraiser at Darby’s yoga studio. Before arriving at the party I’d consumed beer and a burrito with some friends. After so many sun salutations, the beer had gone straight to my head. Mae’s party had a Valley Girl theme, whatever that means. I had no costume, but tried to compensate with my exuberance and contact improv moves.
At the Bicycle Thief, Pavel came back and asked how our martinis were. The Boatman and I agreed that the martinis were excellent. Pavel was a very attentive waiter. Attentive and talkative.
“So what brought you to Halifax?” he asked.
“This guy right here,” I said, pointing to the Boatman.
“Oh really? Me too. I’m here for a girl. And how long have you been together?” he asked, as though he was expecting that for me to answer not very long.
“Just over a year and a half,” I said, relieved my answer was not more pathetic.
“Oh wow.” He seemed impressed.
The Boatman’s parents arrived and The Boatman’s mother ordered a bottle of white wine for her and I to share. Everyone ordered delicious and sophisticated dishes. Pavel had something to say about each and every one of them. I realized that besides moving to Halifax for a love interest, we didn’t have very much in common. I told the Boatman that now I remembered making out with three people at that party. The first was a nineteen-year-old girl. I was twenty-four at the time. We were taking a pee break from the contact improv. Girls like to pee together. The girl was pretty and French, and her name was Valérie. My mother’s name is Valerie too, but Valerie in English.
While she was washing her hands, Valérie told me that she was bisexual. I must have already peed and washed my hands.
“Well, that’s very interesting,” I said. I can’t remember if we were speaking French or English. Probably English. When I’m drunk, I like to talk really fast and this is much easier in English. “Would you like to kiss me?” I asked. We embraced and made out for a good ten seconds. It was fun. “Wow,” I said. “I’ve never done that before.”
“I don’t believe you,” she said. But it was the truth.
We left the bathroom and I followed her around for a little while to see if she wanted to cuddle, but she seemed busy with her nineteen-year old friends. Oh well. You have to try these things out when you’re young. I left Valérie and wandered around the party looking for some other excitement.
Some guy was leaving and so I kissed him good-bye.
Then I saw Pavel and his friend were leaving.
“Oh you’re leaving,” I exclaimed.
“Yah, we’ve gotta go,” said Pavel.
“Can we make out first?” I asked. Only Pavel’s friend said yes. So I made out with Pavel’s friend in front of Pavel and then they both left.
That night I slept over at the party on the couch alone.
I think the best way for me to conclude this story is with the pictures of me and the Big Black Dog naked in the shower. It was the night after our fake Christmas Day with the Boatman’s family, and before we would leave to drive to Ontario in the morning. All day all I could think was, “There’s not going to be time.” On Fake Christmas morning, I unwrapped more presents than I’d seen since I believed in Santa Claus, and worried about the hundreds of things we had to do before leaving at the asscrack of dawn the next morning. One of them was washing the Big Black Dog and his poopy anus. The week before, he’d alternated diarrhea with constipation and now he smelled terrible. The 18-hour drive would have been torture. At ten o’clock that night I tried spraying him with some no-rinse pet shampoo concoction. I wiped his anus with baby wipes.
The Boatman walked into the bedroom and said, “it smells like poopy mango baby wipes.” My efforts hadn’t worked. There wasn’t any time, but I dragged him into the shower anyways and now you can see us both naked.
|Eliot takes a bath before our long journey|
|"Let me out!"|
|Sad Big Black Dog|
Christmas Eve Joy
The Second Day of Christmas: Sacred Fire
Sacred Fire, Part Two
Grandma's Groin and the Shitty Christmas Party, Part One
And my self-help book: I Let Go