My clothes were damp when I came back inside the house. They were all sitting at the dinner table; my family of friends. “Got enough rain?” said Paul. I took off my sweater and nodded my head. “How long were you out there?”
“Long enough,” I replied as I made my way over to the table. “What’re you guys doing?”
Nobody said anything for a moment as I shifted my eyes from Sam to John to Jane and finally to Paul and Mary. “We were waiting for you,” she said and Paul kept running his fingers on the back of her neck.
“Well I’m here.”
“Yes you are,” she said with a laugh.
“Anybody want a drink?” I said while scratching my head and stretching my back.
“Let’s pour some drinks,” Sam exclaimed as he got up from his seat.
“Don’t worry, I got it. Feel like being the bartender tonight,” I said with a smile.
“What else are you every other night?” said John.
“Every other night,” I said, raising my head. “Every other night, I’m the drunk. What is everyone having? Wine or Whiskey..?” I raised my hands up to my chest and cracked my knuckles all at once.
“Whiskey,” said John.
“I’ll start with the wine,” said Sam.
“Hey, look at this heavy drinker.”
“It’s alright,” I said. “I think I’ll start with the wine too.” Mary shook her head.
“I’ll have some wine please,” said Jane.
“Sure thing,” I said and continued, “Hey Paul, do you want me to bring you a glass of milk or something?”
“No, that’s fine,” he said. “Just try not to break anything while you’re pouring the drinks.”
Mary and Jane laughed and Sam got up again and said, “I think I’ll help you out.”
We got the bottles and some glasses and got to work. “I’m not going to lie to you guys. I already had a few drinks earlier.”
“Yeah, we know,” said John.
“It’s not surprising,” said Sam.
“What? What’re you guys talking about?” I exclaimed. “I was just joking.”
“I bet your glass is still on the balcony,” said Paul, raising his eyebrows and mocking me with his teeth. For a while, I’d wanted to knock them out of his mouth!
“Yes, it is,” I said nodding my head and staring at the glass of wine in front of me.
“It’s okay,” said Jane. “You don’t drink like this all the time.”
“No, I don’t at all. How do you know that?”
“I can tell from your eyes.”
“She can read you,” said Mary.
“It’s true,” said Paul. I looked away from her and closed my eyes momentarily.
“I’m not the best person to read,” I said, looking at Sam and John all of a sudden.
“I disagree,” said Jane. “Every read is an interesting one.”
“We have super powers in our presence!” I exclaimed, tapping my fingers on the table foolishly and smiling at everyone. Nobody said anything or even smiled from what I remember. I reached for my drink and said, “So Jane, you can read people. Tell me, how does that work? It must be a whole lot better than fiction.” I let out a laugh looking over at John, who was then wearing a subtle smile, which seemed to consist of a whole lot of laughter within. “Is it similar to reading a biography? I’ve read a lot of people too you know!”
“I know that you’re really not trying to mock me.”
“Mock you? No!” I shouted and continued, “Maybe just a little bit. Who knows?”
“You’re a liar, and a bad one,” said Jane.
Everybody refrained from uttering a single word and John seemed to be holding his breath as well. “That’s true,” I nodded slowly and added, “But everybody knows that Jane.” I downed the wine in my glass aggressively, as I reached into my shirt pocket and took out my pack of smokes. “Is anybody going to join me?”
John got up from his seat and said, “Yeah, I’ll join you, friend.”
“I think I will too,” said Jane. I stared at her as she got up and John stood still as he was putting on his coat. She went over to her purse and took out a cigarette, and then she stared back at me and said, “Bet you didn’t see that coming huh?”
I said nothing and stared at her as she walked right past me. The smell of her perfume dragged me deeper into my gaze. Damn she smelt nice! Shortly after, when I snapped out of it, I heard Paul’s wicked laughter and John said, “Let’s go buddy.”
The clouds of rain that I’d spent a couple of hours watching earlier had stretched further down the view. The rain itself was gone but the wind remained. There were two lawn chairs on the balcony. John had comfortably seated himself in one and lit a cigarette. Jane stood there, to his right and I was to his left. “Sit down,” I said.
“Is that an offer or an order?”
“Whatever you want it to be sweetheart,” I said, taking a long and slow drag of my smoke and letting it out through my nose.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I think so. What day is it today?”
“It’s Monday,” said John. I let out a sigh and moved to the edge of the balcony and looked down.
“You know when you’re a kid, and you pick your favorite day out of the week and you spend every hour of every other day anticipating it, time passes so much slower.” They were both staring at me, while the wind was constantly howling and I could still smell, through all the smoke and the moisture in the air, her perfume. “Everything starts to race when you realize that every day is just the same, if you’re nothing.”
“I would think the opposite,” said John.
“No, believe me; it passes faster when you know.” We all fell silent into our smokes. John dropped his eyes and stared at the ground, while mine couldn’t sit still within my head. Jane was staring at me, from what I saw through a few passing glances. “How many planes,” I said all of a sudden and repeated louder, “How many planes, do you guys think, land inTorontoevery day?” We all turned to look at the sky.
“I think there are ten in the sky right now.”
“I know, it’s unbelievable,” I replied.
“Yeah,” said John.
“So many people are up in the sky!” I shouted, throwing my arms up in the air while I turned around fully and faced them. “You know Jane, you have a beautiful smile.”
“Thank you,” she said.
“Don’t try to hide it now,” I said, pointing my finger at her childishly. She laughed and John flicked his cigarette off the balcony. My eyes followed it until it vanished from sight.
“I’m going inside,” he said and he was gone ever so quickly.
“Sit down,” I said.
“I’ll take it as it is,” she said and sat down. After sitting down next to her I reached underneath her seat. She stared at my hand with her smile and said, “What’re you looking for Bobby?”
“I left a friend somewhere here.” Her eyes lit up as I pulled out a small glass bottle of vodka and a metal cup. “Do you like my friend?”
“Very much so,” she said.
“I’m pretty sure the cup is clean. Do you mind?”
“Not at all,” she replied as she put out her cigarette in the ashtray. I filled up half of the cup and handed it to her. She took a proper sip, made a face that I’d never before seen, and her smile came back as she gave it back to me. “My favorite day was always Wednesday.”
“Why’s that?” I said.
“I always felt that it was the center of the week. Kind of like the peak of a mountain, where you can see both sides.”
“What was yours?”
“Tuesday,” I said instantly.
“Why Tuesday?” she asked.
“Because nobody gives a damn about Tuesday,” I said.
“That couldn’t have been your reason.”
“Honestly I don’t even remember.”
There are a lot of things that I don’t remember. When I was a kid, time seemed to pass slowly and I could see everything. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I realized how much there was to see. But I remember getting on some plane and leaving Toronto, that same week, on a clear and cold Thursday evening. I still remember how, for just a moment, she had made me feel like I, was the center of everything.