Chapter 35: The Break-down
“The Party Song” by Blink-182 blaring from my speakers awakened me and I quickly got up and almost crashed into my MacBook as I paused the song. Thankfully, no one in my house woke up. It was six A.M. on January first. Happy fucking New Year.
I rubbed sleep from my eyes and boiled some water for tea and hot cereal. When my breakfast was all ready, I sat in front of the television and watched reruns of How I Met Your Mother. I decided to start with Episode 1 of Season 8 and see how far I got. So once I hit “Farhampton”, I lay back on the couch and sipped occasionally from my red mug of tea. But when Ted asked Klaus about Victoria, I sat upright. “Lebenslangerschicksalsschatz is not something that develops over time.
It is something that happens instantaneously. It courses through you like the water of a river after a storm, filling you and emptying you all at once. You feel it throughout your body: in your hands…in your heart…in your stomach…in your skin. Of course you feel it in your Schlauchmachendejungen. Pardon my French. Have you ever felt this way about someone?”
“Yes,” I answered before Ted did.
“Yeah, I think so,” Ted answered and I just shook my head as Klaus explained that it wasn’t something you could just guess. And as the episode played on, I knew that this was how I felt about Alice. My whole body felt love. Sometimes I felt that I was erupting with love. I felt her everywhere: in my legs, my arms, my head, and my dick.
When the episode ended, I headed back upstairs and noticed that it was now six-thirty. My family was still not up but I pressed ►on my iTunes just to see what would play.
Conveniently, “The Funeral” by Band of Horses played. It was the song that played at the end of the episode I had just watched when Ted is about to meet The Mother and I knew that Alice Sterling was my Tracy McConnell or my Tracy Mosby. My body even shook a bit as I thought about it and I just stared at my computer screen, daring it to play the next song. And as “The Funeral” smashed it’s ending, Train’s “Marry Me” opened and I cried for the whole song but silently as not to disturb my parents.
The tears just streamed down my face like a faucet that had just been turned on. The keys on my MacBook were wet and I just couldn’t stop. There was no “off” switch. My whole body shook like I was having a seizure. But it also felt like a release. They say that when girls cry, it’s never just for one thing but that they’re crying for weeks, months, or maybe even years of bundled up stress and pain. Well, I think boys can feel it too. I was letting out my stress and pain right there on my keyboard. And when I felt as if I had drained myself of all tears, I sniffled, wiped my eyes, and thought about what I would do next.
Well, I couldn’t do much given that no stores were open due to New Year’s Day so I contemplated going back to bed after my long cry but knew that would not accomplish anything and I would probably just stare at the pitch-black ceiling until it was time to get up. So I decided to lie on my bed and flip through my latest book, which was WALL AND PIECE by Banksy the well-known mystery graffiti artist. There weren’t any words in the book as it was just pictures of Banksy’s best work (which he chose apparently) but after I had studied all the pictures, the sun was peaking through at eight A.M. and then, miraculously, I fell asleep to wake up at ten-ten feeling refreshed. I decided to spend the rest of the day at home because I couldn’t really go anywhere. Tomorrow would be when my new plan would be put into play.
On January second, I went to my iTunes and pressed ►and “Art Decade” by David Bowie played, but I didn’t create a Genius Playlist for it. I just let the song run before deciding my next move: “Love and Memories” by O.A.R. That song I not only played the full way through but also made a Genius Playlist for it. And once the playlist was on my iPod, I changed into some old clothes (which also worked as workout clothes, but I wasn’t really going anywhere to workout except for maybe my heart) and headed downstairs to discover my entire family sitting at the breakfast table. They didn’t say one word as I walked out of the house with two tokens in hand (Ever since Alice’s journey had begun in Toronto, I had stocked up on tokens just in case). I was getting tired of this silent game.
I subwayed to the Eaton Centre, knowing that I had to somehow communicate to Alice and that it couldn’t be something subtle like dropping a book in a Mastermind. I had to make a big statement, something that would force her to come here. My original plan had been to go to Indigo, but I hadn’t really known what I was getting. I wanted to get something that stated I had done this. The best thing I knew was a painting but I knew that I wasn’t ready to spend a large sum of money for a painting just so I could throw it into the street. That would be an insult to the artist and to me. So instead, I walked into a calendar store and bought a calendar that had the best art of The Group of Seven. As I walked out, “Happiness” by The Fray began playing through my headphones and I felt tears start to form again. It seemed like today was going to be my crying day.
But after the song, my iPod stopped. I couldn’t believe it. There was no way the playlist had ended already. I hadn’t been out for that long. I checked my watch. It was only ten-forty! But it didn’t seem the playlist had ended, it seemed that my iPod had just died. And even placing the device on the floor and pressing down the MENU and centre key at the same time did nothing. My iPod was dead.
And then it happened. As I began heading for Dundas Station, it happened. Have you heard of the saying that you need to break down in order to be fixed and become a better you? Well, I broke down.
“I really wanna love somebody!” I heard it in the mall while passing Kernels.
“Cry, cry, baby!” I heard it while passing Shoppers Drug Mart.
“Hey, Soul Sister!” I had just passed Foot Locker. That was it. The floodgates opened up, the water from my eyes leaked out, and there I was breaking down in the middle of a crowd. My body shook again, but no one paid me any attention. I was still holding my calendar and I realized had to do something about these stupid stapled sheets of paper. I bent down as if about to tie my shoe, dropped the calendar, and fled the scene. I didn’t head for Dundas Station but instead for the escalator that would lead me out of the building and onto Queen Street. I ran so fast that I almost crashed into a clean-shaven man in a shiny black suit.
I thought, Man in Black the moment I walked outside.
I needed to clear my head and I wasn’t planning on going back to the Eaton Centre. Had my message worked? I had no idea. What if someone else picked up the calendar and the message wasn’t relayed back to Alice? It didn’t matter. I had tried and that’s all I could really do in this insane adventure.