Ottawa: L’Esplanade Laurier

ottawa We both have low expectations. It’s very appropriate that we are meeting for brunch. Dinner and/or drinks would raise the stakes. We both order a crepe. I ask her if she has done much traveling. She tells me about her cross-Canada tour. I realize after a while that the question will not be volleyed back to me so I respond as if it had been. She asks if I am close to my family. I tell her we are not close, we don’t really know each other. She is clearly disappointed. We say goodbye beside the hot dog vendor. We shake hands. I say “It would be nice to see you again some time.” I’m not sure if I mean it.

There is a method for food courts. You must first establish twelve o’clock. This is generally the main entrance into the food court. On your first visit you take the numerical value of the current month. This being March it would be three. You then get your lunch from the place at the three o’clock position. In subsequent visits you go to the place counter-clockwise from your previous visit. You must remember where you left off.

It is one of those dinner parties where someone injects a game into the conversation. In this case, you must give one word that comes to mind regarding the person seated to your left. I say “spunky.” The woman on my right gives me the word “Jesus.” She explains that, not knowing whether or not I am religious, she gets a feeling of calm benevolence from me.

All the food court outlets have been boarded up but the seating is still intact. I am sitting here alone watching the shadows swing slowly to the right with the afternoon sun.