“Wow, your van looks like a bedroom.” She said. “You can leave.” He replied. “I’m not saying… I’m just saying!” She said. “Oh, sorry. Cool. I like it looking like this though.” He replied. The music was too quiet to not be awkward. They drove down Victoria park trail, plowing through the silence. “I only eat raw food.” She began. “Oh, me too.” He lied. “You are a liar.” She said. “I need to go back to biking.” He replied. She stared blankly. “It’s almost June.” He explained. She sort of laughed. He was hurt.
It was bike month and the trails were more crowded than usual. Doug was Minister of Sports and Recreation for Edmonton. He lived on the second-from-the-top story of a ritzy Saskatchewan Drive high rise. He was forty four, single, covered in money, and insistent on riding his bike everywhere. Even in the winter.
“I like your bike helmet.” She said. “Yeah, It’s antique. ‘78.” He Replied. “Nice.” She replied back. There was a long silence. “I’m rich.” Doug said, suddenly. “I know.” She replied, uncomfortable. “I am going to move to Victoria when I retire.” Doug said. “I love Victoria.” She replied. She started to fiddle with the air conditioning. Doug was annoyed. He tried to keep the conversation alive. “I just bought this van. I use to ride my bike everywhere.” Doug said. She looked impressed. “You don’t have to hold my helmet in your lap if you don’t want.” Doug said. “What time is it?” She asked. “Look at your watch.” Doug replied. “Too sharp, calm down.” He told himself. “Oh, this? This isn’t a watch, it’s a breast cancer bracelet.” She replied. “Oh” Said Doug, embarrassed, “Cool.”
Doug had bought the van from a shady fellow between the CIBC and the comic book shop on 99st and Whyte. Seven weeks earlier an unknown offender in a white twin cab 4x4 had bumped Doug while making a right off 109th street. Doug was in the hospital for three quiet weeks. The truck drove off. Probably didn’t know it happened. Doug had a cracked tibia, a broken knee, and a coma that in hindsight was a vacation Doug had felt he needed. Unfortunately the doctor didn’t set his knee properly and now bicycling began hurting after twenty minutes or so of solid riding.
“You aren’t big on smiling, huh?” She said. “Well that was subtle.” Doug replied. “Well what do you expect? You picked me up at seven and…” She stared out the passenger window, trying to decide whether to cry or get angry. She was frustrated. “I’m not the same.” Doug started. “Don’t.” she said. “You don’t have to explain. I understand. I just… I can’t go on like this.” Doug pulled over and stared at the tape deck. He went to hold her hand and she slowly hid it under the helmet. Doug pressed eject instead. “I made you this mixtape.”
Edited by ukuleme on 2 Jan 2010, 18:26
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