My wit and my elo­quence are not at their best at this par­tic­u­lar moment, which is why I have no quick riposte to your rib­bing. All my humour is dry and self-deprecating any­way. It’s mak­ing me won­der if you think I can’t take an Asian joke or two. The truth is, I don’t know how to make fun of any­one but myself.

Too bad you’ve got piss tests com­ing up. We’ve got this bal­cony, the right occa­sion, and I don’t drink any­more. Doesn’t mean I can’t lis­ten to your war sto­ries, or dan­gle in the air when you give out bear hugs. Perhaps I’d be less awk­ward when it comes to such bond­ing if I was in high-school JV foot­ball. Seth made the team one year, and scored a touch­down for guys like us.

downtown Ottawa

 

I remem­ber you. Iain and I went to buy a $5 hit off your bong 10 years ago, back when we cut our teeth on prairie fires and five-cent wings and I’ll-never-do-that-again. You were danc­ing to jazz by your­self in a beater and per­pet­ual Kangol when we walked in, but you wore no shame on your face. The world is small when our lives are not.

Last time I saw Iain was at the house­warm­ing, but I still think of him every time I use those crys­tal glasses he gave me that day. He would have wanted them filled with some­thing tight-bodied and twelve-years old. Nowadays all I can take is a lit­tle Bailey’s on my Mayan choco­late Häagen-Dazs. Luckily they’re also per­fect for ice cream.

bachelor

 

I’ve long missed these nights. Breathing fresh air when step­ping out of a stuffy bar. That sud­den calm when com­ing out of the din. Big groups with the chance to change con­ver­sa­tions. Nights that have been replaced by din­ners with nuclear fam­i­lies and one-on-ones. Oddly enough, the only thing in com­mon are sto­ries of how one’s son is learn­ing to play with his dick. The world would have me believe that a man isn’t made by the drinks he orders but by the atten­tion he gives his kids.

If only I didn’t have to go so soon. I’ve never been to the peel­ers in Ottawa, and I can only imag­ine where my bills will end up.