It starts with me. Then it is everyone in the building. We soon become aware that this is more widespread, affecting at least part of the city. Public transit is down. I’m forced to walk home as are so many others. The sidewalks are streaming with disconcerted pedestrians. The streets are clogged with slow moving traffic. It being a very hot August day, many cars have their windows down, enabling me to catch snippets of radio reports. This mysterious cloud has mushroomed, encompassing fifty-five million people.
“Okay, we’ll wait for the next one then.”
Jeanette is living on Lawton Boulevard. I tell her the password is “piet.” I’m thinking of Mondrian. She thinks I’m making fun of her piety.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery is where our friendship dies. We walk amongst the tombstones as he enumerates my sins.
Sandra invites me to join the ski club. We meet on Merton to take the bus to Blue Mountain. I end up dating her sister until she asks “How will we ever afford to buy a house?” I never see her again. I hear last year that she has died.
The Rose and Crown. Sheila asks for everyone’s phone number. I grab her datebook and put three stars beside my name. A little later I go to the washroom. When I come out she is standing in front of the men’s washroom waiting for me. “So, those three stars… was that a joke or did you mean it?”
Ben and Erin are sleeping over. I get up at four in the morning and realize they’re no longer in the apartment. I get dressed and begin searching the neighborhood. I keep thinking that Ben’s mom will never forgive me if anything happens to him. I call the police and as they’re standing in the apartment asking questions, Ben and Erin walk in.
The movers have taken everything. I’m sitting on the floor in an empty apartment waiting for Robb. As we’re leaving I start to weep. Robb gives me a warm embrace as only he can.