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St. Patrick's Day

Chapter 24: St. Patrick’s Day

“No way November will see our goodbye. When it comes to December, it’s obvious why no one wants to be alone at Christmas time.”

It was the first song that played on my iTunes on St. Patrick’s Day. No, I did not prompt it, it just played: “St. Patrick’s Day” by John Mayer.

Walsh was pissing me off. Actually, everyone was beginning to piss me off. Not being able to talk to anyone about Alice’s game was extremely hard on me. Also, my parents were now harping on me because now that I was out of university (well, “kicked out” is more like it), I had to get a job so they were making me apply to places. I knew Alice would help me choose a job.

“No way November will see our goodbye. When it comes to December, it’s obvious why no one wants to be alone at Christmas time. And come January we’re frozen inside making new resolutions a hundred times. February, won’t you be my valentine?”

And as this stupid fucking song played, I realized that this song had played because it was encompassing my life. Christmas had been lonely. February, I had snapped. But I tried to focus on Facebook as John Mayer’s sympathetic voice rang through my ears.

My headphones were on because my parents were still asleep. It was six A.M. and I couldn’t go to sleep. In fact, I had been having quite a lot of restless nights recently. I wasn’t even going to tell Walsh about the restless nights.

“And we’ll both be safe ’til St. Patrick’s Day.”

I slammed my MacBook shut. That was it. I couldn’t take this shit anymore. But was I going to do? throw things? make a scene? That was stupid and even I knew that. Maybe a walk would help.

Man, if only I smoked cigarettes, I thought. But I didn’t and I wasn’t about to.

I crept outside and tried to be gentle with the door as I locked it. I wandered down Yonge Street and ended up at the Pizza Pizza by Bowood Avenue. In the glow of the pale indoor lights, I saw a couple sharing a slice of pizza and laughing. I crossed the street.

Hands in my pockets, I waited for a sign. And then I saw one. It was a piece of paper stuck to the ground because of yesterday’s frost. I peeled the piece of paper from the sidewalk and read the note.

Write your despair in a poem.

I stared at the note. Despair? So they knew I was having a hard time and it made me wonder if this really was Alice. Maybe it was God. Maybe God was trying to tell me to let go.

Let her go, son. Just let her go.

But I didn’t want to and since I wasn’t sure that God really existed, I decided I would still believe the crazy idea that Alice was behind this and so I went home and tried to write a poem of despair.

Alice

beauty ruins me

when I see you with Joe

I choke

I’m a hole

in a sceptre.

I thought it was pretty good. I had no idea what the fuck it meant, but I thought it was pretty good. But now what? Did I replace the note I had just picked up with this one? Well, that’s what I did. I went back outside and placed my poem facedown on the concrete. It was still fairly chilly so I was convinced that the poem would stick just like the last piece of paper. Even if it didn’t, I had done my duty.

The rest of St. Patrick’s Day was quite lonely and I ended up going to the Gabby’s close to my house and having a pint of Guinness. After that, I wandered around my neighbourhood in search of Alice. But it was all the same thing: red cars. But I saw a lot that day so it got me thinking: The red cars are arrows pointing me in the right direction. It was like Alice was whispering, “Follow the red cars.” And because I had basically seen three red cars in a row already, I decided to follow them.

I ended up on Mount Pleasant and surprisingly felt happier. My whole day had been quite shitty and I swear to God if I hadn’t listened to John Mayer’s song, the day would’ve probably gone all right. But I had and it seemed I just had to cope with the despair for a bit longer. I missed Alice so much that it felt like if I never saw her again, I might as well kill myself and that would be a terrible thought because I didn’t want to die. Not yet, at least. I was twenty. I had just entered my twenties and I wanted to live a long life: have kids, get married. And if it wasn’t with Alice, then someone else. But right now, I was broken and wasn’t sure if I could get repaired. I knew Alice was an obsession but she was my obsession and to me, that felt more important.

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