Chapter 38: Friday
In the summer, Rich had emailed me over my little disappearance act and had told me that if I just emailed him my updated work and then the portfolio at the end of the year, he could pass me in the course. So I did. But the only course that got transferred was “Creative Writing Introduction” so I was able to take the first poetry workshop at York. Obviously I had to submit a portfolio, but I was able to get into York’s Creative Writing Program.
Now, why the hell would I even try out for the program? Well, I had no idea what I wanted to do but I was obviously leaning towards an artistic job so I decided to go all the way with everything: drama, writing, and art (you know painting, sculpting, drawing, etc. REAL ART). And Rachel had obviously thought she would try out too. I had a Poetry workshop on Friday but I had “Intermediate Prose Workshop” on Wednesday. But Rachel wasn’t in that class. However, she was in my Poetry one.
So when I walked into the class, I sat beside her as our professor began discussing iambic metrical verse. I already knew poetry wasn’t for me.
“What did you want to talk about?” I whispered, but Rachel looked completely engaged in our professor’s dull words.
“At break,” she whispered back.
All week I had been a bit concerned for Rachel, but I wasn’t about to become her protector; that was her boyfriend’s job. She didn’t have a boyfriend, but she seemed to casually sleep with guys. You can call her a “slut”, but I think that word is used inappropriately. Girls at young ages don’t really know what they want so they try things out. Me, well, let’s just say I wasn’t the sexually active type. Hey, I’d rather be a slut than a virgin. But I think at this point Rachel wasn’t seeing anybody. Was I crushing on her? A bit. Alice was nowhere as far as I knew and a bunch of messages and some strange symbols that were supposed to be appreciated as art was not the same thing as actually seeing a physical person. I wasn’t about to kiss, hug, even make love to a lamppost. I just thought that Rachel was my one shot for reality and maybe, just maybe she had changed her mind about us. On January third, she had told me that she wanted to tell me something and that had gotten me excited. Is it really happening? Am I finally going to move out of this?
With Alice, I felt tricked. And I was beginning to believe that my little artistic journey I had made up in my head. Though the notes were strange, it probably wasn’t Alice. It was probably some creep stalking me. I knew I should pay more attention to who was following me. She didn’t love me. So maybe thinking that this time would be the same wasn’t wrong thinking.
But when I asked Rachel at break, she told me to wait until the end of class so I went to the men’s washroom and used the urinal. But as my yellow arc hit the yellow stained white bowl, I couldn’t help but wonder that maybe I was finally moving on. To me, she was the one. But anyone could be.
When the class ended, I almost knocked my chair to the ground. I had never been so excited to leave a class before. But, let me just break from storytelling. Guys, if you ever think a girl is going to tell you that she likes you or (God forbid) is in love with you, hold onto your pants because until you get the facts straight it’s better to not jump to conclusions. I wonder if you can now guess what Rachel wanted to tell me.
“Art, what the fuck is wrong with you?”
We were now sitting across from each other at one of the long tables in the cafeteria in the Student Centre. Both of us had Wendy’s burgers and I had just taken a bite out of mine.
“What are you talking about?” I asked. It wasn’t happening. And I knew that now.
“Art, I didn’t want to tell you this…but I’ve been following you.”
Wait, what?! She was the stalker?! Rachel was the girl stalking me?! She was the one sending me notes?
“Art, you never moved on.”
I wiped my mouth with a Wendy’s napkin and glared at her. “Moved on from what?”
“Alice!” she practically screamed. Just for a moment everyone in hearing distance looked at us.
“You’ve been following me?” I tried to not sound accusatory.
“Yes,” she said, but she didn’t seem pleased by it. “Ever since I ran into you at Christmas, I’ve been worried about you.”
This isn’t love, this is pity. Rachel pities me. “What have you seen?”
“Well, I saw you try to paint a picture in the freezing cold. I mean, who does that? And then when the canvas blew away, you didn’t even go after it.”
“Have you been sending me notes?” I interrupted. But then I realized that I had seen the notes before I had met Rachel in English and I doubted she was really involved with Alice unless she was deliberately trying to mislead me. But no, that was too crazy.
“What are you talking about?”
“Nevermind,” I mumbled to myself as I placed my burger on its wax wrap. Suddenly I wasn’t hungry anymore.
“Art, I think there’s something seriously wrong with you. Like, I think you need medical attention.”
Art, STOP. More like Art, STOP Rachel.
I felt cheated. Maybe I had really thought things were going to change with Rachel and I, but I hadn’t been expecting this. Someone had been following me but for a different reason. Rachel was really out to sabotage Alice’s artistic adventure.
And that word “medical” had so much venom, so much hatred. So guess what I did? The stupidest thing I have ever done. I walked away from Rachel. Half-eaten burger and everything, I walked. I didn’t even look back, I don’t even know if she called my name, but I think I heard her start to cry. All I focused on were my two feet and how fast I could escape out of York University. And once I reached Steeles Avenue West, guess what happened?