I woke up to an empty bed, sans girlfriend. I worked late the night before, she spent the night, now it was early afternoon and my room was empty. I was a bit confused, as we had plans for the day, but I didn’t dwell much on the idea, just made my way to the kitchen to make some eggs. I’d been watching old Julia Child videos on YouTube and got this idea of a perfect omelet stuck in my head. So, each morning I’d wake up, crack some eggs, make sure not to add salt, add them to the hot pan and try to perfect the wrist movement intended to create the ideal fold while plating. Normally I’d coax any flatmates nearby into joining me, trying my eggs and giving me feedback, but no one was around, so I ate the one I burned back in my room.
I picked up the phone to give her a call; no answer. She called back a few minutes later and broke up with me. It wasn’t until I cleaned out my room, packing for the move back to Portland that I found her incomplete breakup letter that had fallen behind my mattress that read: "Benji, I’ve gone home, ".
If you were to read the emails we exchanged in the months that followed you could never’ve guessed I was falling in love with her. In fact, the more I fell in love, the worse I became, until there wasn’t much of a reason for us to be together. This, of course, came as a surprise to me, though I saw it coming all along. I still don’t quite understand what happened, but it was all wrong on both sides, shitty. The following 20 days leading up to my 23rd birthday would be downhill from there.
This was the last day of September, 2010. The next and last time I’d see her would be New Year’s Eve. I found myself in a bar surrounded by close friends I called my family and a new loving girlfriend (took me a few months to recover my strength) just after the midnight countdown in the cold winter. I left the table to get another beer and someone threw a water in my face. I was extremely confused until I saw her face, her middle finger, and then her back as she left with her friend. This may paint a fairly negative picture of my relationships, or ‘exes’, but she’s quite unique as the only girl I’ve ever dated that I’m not now on good terms with. Also the only girl to slap me, throw any sort of liquid at me, demean me by email and Facebook message, and talk of my death approvingly. You get the idea.
The day after our breakup the rent was due. I had recently started and quit a job in a sandwich shop. Working illegally in Canada hadn’t panned out well, and I’d somehow ended up under the control of an evil South Korean dictator with an over-the-top Québecois accent and terrible personal hygiene. He’d refused to pay me me for a week’s work going on one month now. I was short just about the amount he owed me, and intended to pay rent by the end of the day. So there I was standing with my back against the wall facing the register and the 300-pound angry Korean man. The customers came and went as I quietly explained I wasn’t leaving without my pay, then I’d be out of his hair. My tactic was not working, little did I know, and I really should’ve been a bit more attentive as his face was now turning bright red as he clenched the counter, knuckles turning white.
I was staring out of the shop window as it’d been about fifteen minutes now, my tactic of testing his patience in full swing. His fist hit the side of my head, causing me to shift all of my body weight to one side almost toppling over. How he’d moved all of himself around that corner so swiftly I’ll never know, but I suppose its a moot point now as I’m on the floor with his hands around my throat. As I realize what’s happening, I notice it’s going black, that’s no good. I see a customer take a swing, knocking him off, and I climb to my feet and head for the door. I turn around with a witty remark and notice he’s already awfully close. Here my brain goes again analyzing the logistics behind his efficiency of movement instead of potential defensive menuevers. I step out on the street and a yelling match ensues, I choose to walk away. One last remark as I turn around and my umbrella hits my eye, launched by a skillful hand some five meters away. That’ll do, I’m going home.
Head wounds always seem more serious than they are, really. Lots of blood, swelling, etc. while it’s really only a minor flesh wound. Either way Montréal seemed to be spinning an awful lot and my (ex) girlfriend’s work was about two minutes walking from where this all took place, as opposed to the 45-minute walk home. So there I go stumbling into her work, boss behind the counter, asking for assistance. This doesn’t look good. I wash up, we sit outside and talk for a bit, then I apologize and head home, we’ll meet again New Year’s Eve, anyway.