I met Amy my first day of University. We both had roommates that were returning for their second year, who had brought us to orientation promising to show us around. When our groups collided, there was a flurry of hugs and within seconds, our second year friends had run off to gossip about the summer. Amy and I were left when an announcement came on to start the Theatre Department General meeting.
“I’m sticking with you”, she said.
And so we did. From that day till now.
We used to sneak into the bar and nobody ever questioned us. Amy looked over 19. She was tall and radiated confidence. I still had braces. Enough said. An odd pair but nobody ever questioned us. Just walk in like you belong. That was our motto and I think we’ve said it to ourselves many times since we were legally able to drink cheap draught and dance in seedy downtown clubs.
Amy and I would go downtown in Corner Brook every week and grab a bite and go for a shop. During one of these trips, Amy got her labret pierced. On another, we purchased cheap pleather pants that shouldn’t have made an appearance on either of our bodies but became a staple for that season. On another, we found a small diner in a mini-mall to have a snack. Amy had difficulty with the menu: As a vegetarian, options were limited in the small city at that time. After chatting with the owner, Sayjay and ordering a plate of plain fries, the man asked us what we were studying in school. When we said we were art students, Sayjay got very excited and sat to share a business proposal. He wanted to start a side business. A Travelling Moose Meat Van. He would go to festivals around the province and sell moose meat and stew. And he needed artists to paint a mural on his van. His vision? A smiling moose standing in a giant caldron surrounded by dancing vegetables. We told him that we were actors and not pro painters and reiterated the small issue of Amy being vegetarian, but he was set in his ways. He believed fate had sent us to his restaurant to paint his mural.
I called the number and left a message but he never called back. I would have painted his mural. I wanted to paint his mural. We went back to the mini-mall a few months later and his restaurant was gone.
Sayjay was gone. I wonder if he ever built the travelling moose meat van. I wonder if he ever found someone to paint his mural.
Yesterday was Amy’s birthday. We spent the first half of the day participating in The Mummers Festival. Another story for another time, this was a spectacular way to spend an afternoon, especially a birthday afternoon. But the main event for Amy’s birthday was bowling at St. Pat’s. St. Pat’s is a little bowling alley on Blackmarsh Road. You can get a bottle of Blue Star and a bag of Hawkins Cheezies for 5 bucks, which I think merits a visit even if you can’t bowl to save your life.
The bowling adventure was almost cancelled by the owner when the electronic scoring booths were out of service. We told him we didn’t care, we just wanted to bowl, so my friend Mark C. and I acted as scorekeepers and our teams went head to head. What a giant laugh we had, especially trying to figure out exactly how to score it. Makes you think of how we ever got by without Wikipedia and IPhones.
“Everybody calm down, I am on the internet.”- a serious quote from the evening.
We eventually figured it out by just making up our own rules and had the best time. Everything seemed to be off at the alley. The ball return broke. The pins wouldn’t come down. And it just added to the fun. The young fella and the older gent that were running the space were so patient and gracious and it was just great. We were in no hurry. And I am sick of being in a rush to relax and have fun. We are all good at making jokes but atrocious athletes. We had a time. We also had a beautiful carrot cake (courtesy of Amy’s mom) , an amazing vegan banana cake (courtesy of our super talented friend Matthew who operates Tulip Baroo Vegan Catering) and a few beers (I always chose the Cheezie combo) to fuel us to take the party downtown. A snowball fight ensued with the fun crew celebrating their staff party in the lanes beside us while we waited for a cab. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t put my hands in the snow. I couldn’t imagine voluntarily getting colder than I already was.
This may be the only regret of this holiday mission.
A cab finally grabbed us from the snowy lot and brought us to Velvet, St. John’s newest LGBT dancing spot. I hadn’t been to Velvet, but I have certainly done my time in the space the lounge now occupies. My 19 year old self hung out on the patio of Junctions, spending the pennies I had earned as a dance club cocktail waitress. My 24 year old self found myself at the next incarnation, this time drinking red bulls and dancing into the morning with my buddy Luke, who was my late night partner in crime about the city streets until I packed up to move to Toronto. And here I was at 30. We hit the dance floor with gusto and didn’t stop dancing until we were herded into the coat check line and wandered off into the heavy snowfall in search of a chariot.
Jason, Matthew, our friend Thea and I trudged desperately in the heavy snow, contemplating plans of attack in case we failed to come across a cab. Cab wars are played a bit differently in St. John’s than Toronto. The Toronto tactics (1. Go North to Dundas, 2. Go straight to the Hospital) are replaced with tactics of a lighter sensibility (1. Flag down any car that will be willing to take you, 2. Go straight to the nearest hotel and warm up in the lobby). We finally hail a Jiffy cab, and before you know it, we are feasting on toast and pumping the air mattress for an impromptu sleepover.
I had a tremendous day. With such lovely people.
Especially Amy. Happy Birthday Beauty. I am glad we’ve stuck together.