BY FRANCISCO MACIEL
That day felt no different from any other day. I came home a bit early from school and found her sitting on the couch. I had a job interview for a cooking job. I didn’t really need the money but I missed working in a kitchen. I had worked in a kitchen a few years back, and since then I had had a zeal for cooking and food. Cooking in a kitchen for guests (whether paid or not) satisfied a need to provide. It satisfies a need to give back to someone.
Up until then I had let my facial hair grow in for a while. I had a pretty scruffy beard. I figured for the interview I’d need to look a bit more presentable. So who better to help me than my crush, my roommate, my friend. So I asked her how I should shave and she put her hands on each side of my face just below my jaw and moved my head from side to side to see what I looked like well. She was looking at me, but all I looked at were her dark sad eyes, her shy lips, her beautiful complexion. I wanted to pull her in and kiss her. Then our eyes locked and I pulled away. She still had a boyfriend.
I left for the interview and almost didn’t make it on time. It went well though, it was a great restaurant. Small and intimate. They served chic comfort food. I was excited, as soon as I got out I called Veronica. It’s strange how she was becoming the person that I’d tell things first. Not my mom, not any of my other friends, but her.
When I got back to the apartment I heard her on the phone. She was yelling. It didn’t sound good. I just sat on the couch reading, I had recently taken a deep interest in Murakami. His novels were a strange type of surrealism. I have heard them described as Kafkaesque. I didn’t know it then, but my life would soon feel very much like a Kafkaesque Murakami novel.
She finished on the phone and came out. She had a sad look on her face, she asked me if I was doing anything tonight, I said no. She told me she was supposed to meet up with an old friend who had moved to Toronto later that night and she asked me if I wanted to tag along. I of course said yes! She had gotten to meet a lot of my friends, but I hadn’t met any of hers. That’s when she said, “Oh, also, I’m single now”.
We took the subway down to College Street, I couldn’t believe she was single. Something that to me had seemed like such an impossibility, had become possible now. I wondered what she thought about me, there was no way she was at all thinking about me. I remember I touched her for the first time. I’ve never been a very touchy-feely kind of person, but when I’m into somebody one of the ways I express it is by touch. When we were getting off the College Street streetcar I put my hand on her waist as she walked to the door. We got to Sneaky Dee’s and met up with her friend. Curiously he had the same name as me.
The rest of the night was a blur, neither of us had eaten and Francisco kept feeding both of us drinks. He kept teasing that we were fucking. I noticed she’d get very annoyed at that. Not in a bad way, but in that embarrassing way that people do when they know there’s chemistry between two people. She’d just smile and yell “Francisco!”. I loved that. We ended the night pretty early, Francisco went on his way home and Veronica and I headed home.
We were walking home from the subway station. It was dark and a little chilly out. I stopped walking. She turned and looked at me. I took her hand and put my other hand on her waist. As I pulled her close, we both leaned in for a kiss.
It’s funny how the best kisses just happen. In that moment, I knew that from that point onward both of our lives were going to be changed completely. I didn’t know if for the better or worse, but I didn’t care. I started very much falling for her.