Tristan vol. 2 writ. 2014

By Asa Montreaux, pen name Andrew James

Then provincials

were around. By that time, hockey had taken over

our lives pretty well. It was a big deal. Though I

didn’t like not having time for other things. You

need other things in your life. If it had been any

longer than a month or so when I was instructed

to think about hockey all the time, I wouldn’t have

been okay with it. Maybe I’m exaggerating. The

first series we played, we won pretty handily.

Because we were the top-placed team we only had

one round to win before Provincials. The games

were played at the Winter Club, and it was very

loud and busy, friends and family wanted to come

to the games, girls from school were there to

watch. It was fun. We were waiting to find out

who the other team would be. The other semifinals

series went to three games and to overtime in

the final game. The Vancouver Canadians won in

the second overtime, and they were on the other

blue line during opening ceremony. They did a

good job with the anthem. The officials were

better too, all of them from at least the Jr. A ranks.

The first period was really choppy. There was

some really big hits, a few players on our team that

had injuries that kept playing. They had some

good forwards, but they were a very defensive

team, and they played the trap the whole series.

Especially the first game, and in the first period

and a half, we were having trouble gaining entry

over their blue-line. With about five minutes left,

Spelling just started skating it in, and that worked

a couple times. At the start of the second period

we had a power-play and he had made another

good play and we were up by one. They had lots

of shots, but no good scoring chances. Even

strength we were outplaying them, but their goalie

was very solid. By the second intermission Iain was

very agitated. He was screaming things, saying

remember to do this, you should have gotten that

puck out, although he wasn’t totally disparaging,

and by the end of his talk he was trying to be

encouraging. Let’s win those, hold onto the lead,

you guys have worked so hard, keep pushing. We

pressed for another goal, though the puck wasn’t

going in easy. By five minutes left, it was still 1-0.

They were trying to keep the puck in our zone.

They went to six attackers with three minutes left.

It was nerve-wrecking, them shooting the puck

over and over, — made a few really nice saves, and

the clock ran out and it was a huge relief for

everyone from our side of the tracks. We had

another game the very next day. There was food

and drinks, and no one stayed too long so we

could go home and sleep early. The next day, I

woke up feeling like all of me was in pain, very

tired, and I drank lots of fluids and ate a big

breakfast to try and replenish myself.

We definitely didn’t want to go to a third game, we

wanted this to be the last game. It was a pretty

good feeling, we definitely had the momentum for

the second half of the game, and we felt we should

be able to keep it for the start of this game. Even

our warm-up was really strong. We just looked in

sync, and when the game started, they didn’t look

like they were in the same sport. They didn’t have

any shots, and we were up three nothing for the

second period. They had there season on the line,

and you could see it in the way they were playing.

They scored with twelve minutes left in the period,

and then they had some hope again. We didn’t

want them to come back, but there were a few

questionable calls, and we had to kill three

penalties pretty much one after the other. They

didn’t score again till the start of the third. They

were really close for a couple minutes, then we got

another. Four minutes later we scored again. It was

reminiscent of yesterday, though the stakes were

higher, and so was the deficit they had to erase.

Then we scored an empty netter and the game

was finished. Our team all left the bench, and we

took our helmets and gloves off, and celebrated.

There were pictures, trophies, medals. It felt really

good to win, it was something I was hoping for

before I left Texas, and it was a big relief, given all

the work we’d done. After the game, by the time I

got home it was already almost midnight, and I

couldn’t wait to go to bed. I slept a dreamless

sleep, and given that we won in two games, I had

sunday to screw around and act my age.

By now, Agnes and I didn’t talk very often. We

talked less saying that everything was fine and

there wasn’t anything to worry about. Right away

I told her that we should try being friends, but she

didn’t react well, and it didn’t sound right. We

hadn’t been discontented together for it to be

overt. Anything that I felt or that she might have

felt stayed inside, even though she probably sensed

something amiss. As it was we weren’t really

speaking, although I think if she were here then

we would be together. I wasn’t sure about if we

were in Texas. I’m not sure if I belonged there

anymore. Just Texas, it was so different from B.C.

Things went along anyways, I spent most of my

time with the guys or with a few friends from

school. Dad was really busy with work, and I

didn’t hear from the step-mom very often. Spring

was coming gradually. The Cherry blossoms

remade the city. People moved about with more

tranquility, and things felt pretty good. There was

more to do now that the weather was better. My

golf game was almost in mid-summer form

already. But we were far from in summer-mode,

we had two weeks to prepare for the regionals and

we were practising every day. To try and bring the

pace up, the Coaches had college and dub players

coming out to skate with us. I think it helped, it

was cool to play with a few really successful guys

anyways. We were hosting, and our success was a

really good thing. They put a ton of money into

the club. They finally(thank god) updated the

dressing rooms, and they put in new bleachers,

boards, more concessions. It was a very good thing

for the city, and for all of us. The Coaches were

doing interviews, and they would be broadcasting

the game with play-by-play, and whoever won this

series would likely win nationals. Things were

going to be a bit different this time. We were

staying in a hotel, even though we were the home

team, the coaches going to watch us themselves

this time. We were having pre-game skates, as if

we were an NHL team, and every meal was a

team meal. It was fun, a little excessive, very cool,

and it meant that we really should win.

They were keeping the rink even colder now in

these later months, and I could barely tie my

skates in the morning. It was lovely outside,

although we were going on with upmost

seriousness inside. We did some flow drills to get

our blood flowing, and to get in sync with each

other. We worked on break outs and special teams,

and did a few odd-man rush drills to help us finish

that night. We had the first of the many talks we

would have with the Coaches after practice, and

going back to the dressing room, we didn’t have

much time before we were back on the bus to the

hotel for what came next on our schedule. In our

down time before the game, to nap or to focus or

whatever, I felt like I had been preparing all day,

and so I was like always before our games I was

conserving my energy, and also I was trying not to

over think anything. There wouldn’t be time on

the ice for any second guessing. I always showered

before games, even if I showered in the morning

and I put my suit on with my best shirt of the

three I’d put in my suitcase and favourite tie and

all three of my sticks and was calling to Keane to

hurry up and then we putting our equipment on

the bus, and I had my headphones, looking out the

window, at a city that was becoming very familiar,

and it was comforting to watch it in it's unmoving


When the game finally was underway, the only

thing I felt was nervousness, and I was trying very

hard to think about something else. I had to get

rid of the adrenaline, or I wouldn’t be able to use

my hands at all. I guess it helped me skate like I

was out of a canon, and it took until halfway

through the period before my hands didn’t feel

tingly. It was very loud, luckily the music during

play stoppages was much better. This time, there

was people lined up all around the rink. We

weren’t playing very well. We were skating hard

because we always did, but we weren’t syncing,

and they were being really really physically.

Normally you’d have a few seconds with the puck,

but they were on us really fast, so that most times

you only had it for a split second. They scored

first, and it was a sinking feeling that swept

through the bench, just as their overzealous

celebration reverberated around the rink.

This looked severe for our team. Until the end of

the period, it was as if we were dragging our feet.

We went back to our dressing room feeling

defeated. It was quite for ages it felt. We were in

Grandview’s dressing room, being indulged in

light of this prestigious event; the window of the

coaches office which hung above were dark,

though I could tell they were up there. Eventually,

Iain came out of the office, his staff beside him

like a retinue, and I don’t think I heard a word of

what he said then.

In the second period, we found our legs, we started

to get some chances, and they were chasing us. At

the end of it all we were the better team, we just

had to keep that in mind. Pretty soon they ran into

penalty trouble, and they had two two minute

penalties one after the other. And halfway through

the second one, they got called for a trip and it was

a two-man advantage. Laurence set it up. He

walked the blue line, and then saucer passed the

puck to Spelling on the half-wall, who rapidly

passed it through a seam to Aaron back door, and

he one-timed it top-shelf. The score was even, and

our chances looked good again — if they had

scored, then it wouldn’t have been likely for us to

get out those two goals back, because the game

was very tight. We kept pushing through the

period. It was getting extremely physical, with

open-ice collisions, and at one point Warren going

down in the corner, pummeled by a 6 foot four

defenceman, who dislocated Warren’s shoulder

and took him out for the rest of the series and

playoffs. It sucked to see that happen. He made it

off the ice on his own, but he was screaming in

pain, and he wasn’t coming back out from the

dressing room tonight, he was going to the

hospital. Then we went back on our tails a

little;none of us wanted that to happen to them.

At the start of the third period we were ready to

put it all on the line again and Spelling scored on

the first shift of the period. Then we were really

flying out there. I was playing well and I had three

shots already. After every shift I was winded, and I

wasn’t sure if I should gasp so hard, or if I should

try and be macho and try and withhold all signs of

fatigue, because I didn’t want the coaches to think

I was overtired and to lessen my ice time, but I also

wanted them to know I was leaving everything on

the ice evert shift. They weren’t getting any breaks,

and at 11:10, they got a penalty, and we got zone

entry and set-up within the first fifteen seconds.

We had three scoring chances before Keane put

one right up stairs glove side. As the period winded

down we could hear their coaches bellowing

commands and hear insults at their kids and it was

coming close to the end of the game and they

could hardly get out of their zone. The clock was

winding down and I scored an empty netter and

then the buzzer went, and it was a huge relief to

get the first one, and to get undressed and get the

hell out of their and go home for the night.

We had another player injured who couldn’t play

tonight so we were down to ten forwards. I could

feel the fatigue today, and I had never felt

simultaneously compelled to work so hard and yet

still conserve something, whether that was because

I was giving it all, because the game was going to

be only one or two goals, and it wouldn’t stop

being a battle until the final whistle. Coach Iain

was doing nervous spins behind us, not concealing

his anxiety as he walked back and forth across the

bench. He was yelling so much, and with such

urgency, his voice was cranky and wavering. It was

still 0-0 after two periods. There had been a few

collapses on both sides, with breakaways, two on

one’s, posts. And there had been some tremendous

saves. At the same time there had been bad

rebounds, and lucky breaks for the Goalies. In the

third, Keane scored on a rush, a wrister shot over

the pads far-side. Then we were rolling. We had

lots of chances, and I got one right in front of the

net, and faked forehand-backhand and just put it

over the goalie’s glove. We were up 2-0. We were

really having to fight them off now. With five

minutes left, Keane scored again, and they

couldn’t get another one before the end of the

period, and we won regionals. I felt ecstatic and it

was a tremendous group moment and we were

really the best team in Western Canada and we

were going to Nationals and we would probably

win. Afterwards, we hung around the rink

celebrating, the parents drinking in the bar,

looking at our medals, wearing them, passing our

very nice trophy around. The coaches were gone

by this point. I felt very good about everything. We

had made it this far, and I was proud of the team,

and I was proud of my coming here, and I felt like

I’d made a little way towards making my way in

the world. Dad and I talked all about the game

and what was going to happen now and it felt like

we’d stolen a whole new burst of life for our sails

and things were going to happen. Spelling was

going to be a household name, the Giants would

be famous, and even I would have my star shoven

upwards in the skies. Back at school everyone was

our friend, which was good as everyone was

getting along well and we were all cheerful and

they would all be watching when we went across

the country to Moncton in three weeks time.

When people asked me what I was going to do

next year, I honestly couldn’t tell them. There was

something about the utter absorption of this

experience that made it feel like I was already

moving on to something much bigger, though I’m

not so sure just what that was. School went by in

steady flashes, and it was peculiar to be going to

practice everyday, the sun bright in the sky. I was

going around the city in flip-flops, and ideally I’d

be in the gym to gain more weight, but I guess my

body would continue to be worn down for a little

longer. We watched a lot of video. We did lots of

team things, and the coaches weren’t fulfilling their

obligation to develop us now — everything was

systems, strategy, and it wasn’t fun. I always found

myself feeling empty after practice, and I would let

my mind wander and I came to many dark

conclusions about a lot of things regarding the

sport. More fun practices wouldn’t have created

such thoughts. One thing about this year, is that it

was as intense as junior, and it was supposed to

mimic the schedule and intensity of the pro’s. It

took away all the fun, so that I would hardly play

for fun anymore I felt so tired of the game. I

thought, with the money of an NHL player, life

would be more fun. But the game wouldn’t be

anymore fun. It was three weeks of practice every

weekday, and when I would get home completely

exhausted, and I slept an extra hour every night. It

was on a weekend that we left, returning to the

airport, hoping to avoid the same kind of result we

encountered in Calgary. It was a long flight, and I

couldn’t sleep. I had accompanied myself with a

good movie selection and that was balming. Iain

had that same serious look on his face, and I

always felt like he was watching. It made me feel

nervous and uncomfortable, and I had developed

the habit of speaking very very quietly. Our hotel

was not as glamorous, but we visited the rink that

night, and every game would be played there,

unlike the mac’s, where only one game was in

front of a large crowd. However putrid practice

had become, I could always take pleasure in a new

rink. That night we hung around the hotel

watching late season games. The Canucks looked

like they had a good chance this year. It was

strange comparing our team to them because I

thought we must on the whole be more skilled,

probably quicker, and yet they are so big and

strong and fast, and even if they aren’t allowed to

be too flashy, they are very smooth. Our first

game, there was a preternatural quality to being in

the room, everyone dressed and ready early, the

only sound chattering in the stands. Just to have

come here, was a great accomplishment. And we

knew that tournaments are fickle. There are only

so many games to decide a National champion. At

this point we had actually gained much

experience, and we weren’t as nervous as we were

at the mac’s or Regionals, even though the level

was higher. The game looked very beautiful, the

ice was big, and both teams were fluid. It was

competitive and this was definitely the best team

we had played so far. Halifax scored first, though it

wasn’t a huge momentum shift. In regular season

games, we could feel like we were in control of the

game, and that was how we won. But tonight it

didn’t feel like we could guarantee anything, it

would come down to chances, more numbers than

a big imbalance in skill between teams. The fans

were more into it this way, especially because most

of them were cheering for the local team. They

had won the round robin in the East, and

Moncton was here as the hosts. There was lots of

open space, and lots of chances for us, but they

seemed to be getting the same amount of chances.

Half way through the game it was already threethree,

and the Coaches were trying to get us to reel

it in and slow the game down, but it was difficult.

Iain didn’t handle very well not feeling for sure

that we would win. I wondered why he was doing

this — I think he contributed to our success, but

we could have been successful with a number of

different, and much calmer coaches. It was

something to be said that we were here with him

as Coach though. We were down a goal at the end

of the game, which wasn’t a situation we were

familiar with. With a minute left, we had a timeout

and Iain was screaming orders. We had a face-off

in their zone, and we did need to tie if we wanted

to win the round robin. In the very last seconds

there was a scramble around the net and we did

get a goal. There was a five minute overtime that

followed. Hopefully all of our conditioning work

would pay off. It didn’t look like any one would

score but again right at the end of the period

Spelling scored and we had beaten what was

probably our toughest competition in the

tournament. We won the next two games and tied

the last game of the round, and we had a buy for

the first game of the elimination round, and then

we would go up against Halifax again. We went

about exploring the city on our day off, the breeze

formidable, the city quiet. The people here are

very different, they speak differently, the waitresses

tending to us were paler, and they spoke slower,

with less words, though not with less eloquence.

It’s always frustrating watching my weight drop

during a season, no matter how much I eat.

Spelling was very quiet, though he displayed lots

of confidence. Laurence was always talking, and

he did know a lot about the other teams, bad

mouthing this player and that. We walked back to

the hotel and I imagined I was in Halifax, hearing

the water underneath the pier, the winds

tempering the summer weather. We were certainly

close enough. Maybe I would go there before

heading back West.

The game against Halifax we all were ready

for. Laurence scored in the first period. They were

very aggressive, going for open ice hits. It was

tough for Spelling because they were trying to

intimidate him, almost to injure him. They had a

whole set of five players that went on the ice every

time he did. We were still short players, with ten

forwards. We chose not to bring any affiliates. It

meant a lot of ice time for everyone. We were

definitely tired by this game, though it seems we

were always playing on steam no matter the time

of year. I was driven to play big in the biggest

game, swerving through all the hockey rhetoric,

that is one that I believed, that good players came

up big in big games.

The shots were pretty close, and even

though we were up one goal, I remember feeling

in the second intermission that it was like we

weren’t up at all, as the play seemed so even that it

seemed inevitable they would score. Half way

through the second they had scored, and then

Spelling scored. He had a couple give aways in the

period as well though. Sean was playing well, but

he was on the ice for the first goal, and the second

one. They were up 2 to 1 and then Keane got a

penalty. They had the power play for four minutes,

and they didn’t score before the intermission, but

they still had two minutes left in the start of the

third period.

They got set up in our zone. A forward took

a shot from the tops of the circles, and there was a

scramble. There was two rebounds and then

someone nudged the puck in. We were down a

goal in the third period. However two shifts later,

Keane carried the puck in the zone, and had

possession in the corner. I got in front of the net,

and he got the puck and I scored just over the

goalie’s glove. We had tied it up. The game went

to another level, and our team was giving

everything we had. There goalie was playing really

solid, and there top defencemen were really on

their game, not to mention they were getting away

with hacks and slashes all over the ice. Down to

the final two minutes, there was an errant puck

that went over the glass, and a face-off outside of

our zone. We really wanted to get into their zone.

There was still time to win before overtime. The

face-off was a draw and it went to the boards. The

winger fought for the puck, and it ended up going

back towards their end, though one of their

defence men picked it up and dumped it in our

zone. It went to the far side, and they had a

forward waiting to give chase. There was a point

shot, and huge deflection. Ennis couldn’t see the

shot. They were celebrating. He was looking

behind himself. Now we had just over a minute.

The building was roaring and there were loud

shouts from both benches, we pulled our goalie,

the clock ticked way too fast. There was a shot but

it was from a bad angle. All our players went for a

rebound but there wasn’t one. Players were digging

at the goalie’s glove, there was shoving, there were

punches. There was ten seconds left. Spelling took

a shot off the draw. The puck went to the corner.

We tried to get it back to the front of the net, but

the clock wound down. There was a handshake

and player of the game and then we went back to

the dressing room. I was left with the surreal,

crushing feeling that it was over. I didn’t undress

right away. I was thinking quickly about what

would happen next year. This meant so many

things. Had we achieved what was expected of us,

or should we have gone two steps farther? And

what was the experience really like? Now I could

look back properly. How did this happen? Did I

want to keep playing, and was it in my best

interest, in my loved ones interests? Well, that’s a

little too Hallmark. But I could feel myself

switching modes. I didn’t want to get down. I was

going to catch a different flight to Halifax for a

couple days, and then I’d be right back at school.

There were a few reliefs. there would be no one

yelling at me for the rest of the summer. And I

could work out at a slightly less psychotic pace


Everyone looked upset. We were very quiet.

We got on the bus eventually and it was an early

night, and our flight was tomorrow. I was going on

a different flight.


In Halifax I had many things to occupy my

thoughts, and would play the game in my head

again, and again. It was limited, what you could

do out there. It was only pucks and sticks and

never mind the coaches’ restrictions. I am

thoroughly a selfish hockey player, despite all my

attempts to redefine myself as a playmaker — to

pass the puck and not carry it, to pass when I

should shoot. Our attempts to redefine ourselves

aren’t limited by our imaginations, only by other

people's normativity. I left my hotel and went

walking along the pier. I peered out into the ocean,

watching the whitecaps in the distance, letting the

wind slowly drain my face of moisture.

It was so comfortable being in the open,

breathing the air without the slight scent of

refrigeration. It was nice not to be standing on a

bench with hockey players, it was not nice to have

to regiment my days, it was nice to eat with

variety. I felt oddly free, started walking again, and

I could see more and more boats on the water.

The wind nipped my face, as I faced it bursts


My thought circled back to Allister, and

how he was. I sometimes felt like his father. We’re

closer than he is with Dad, because Dad was

always working, and he always wanted to be with

me, play with me. I was obliged to take care of

him. Now — that obligation didn’t exist. He was

old enough now to take care of himself. But inside

me was still a feeling of nagging to be something

of his father. It would be better just to be his friend

— though that might be even more work for me. It

isn’t good for young men to be stuck alone with

mothers. They need more than this. I guess —

why didn’t we bring him with us to begin with.

Because — this is home now; in a deeper way it is

home, and this is were our family is. I had all but

decided, he was coming to Vancouver, and I’d

make sure he is safe and developing. Though, it

wasn’t this way to begin with, and I hadn’t the

authority in my personal life before, to make that

kind of call, even if I could move us to Vancouver.

Later that day, I visited my aunt that lives there.

She made me a nice meal, and told me about how

my cousins were doing. They were all doing pretty

well, and luckily, so was I. She said she was sorry

about what happened, and I told her it was okay,

that looking at things later in time, we sort of saw

something was happening. I was horribly

dismayed and all, but there was something

particularly lovely about the tea she made me. She

wished me all the best, called me a cab to the

hotel. She gave me a little kiss on the cheek, and

held the door open against the cold, and watched

until I closed the door, and the cab driver starting

the car moving. I slept well, and the next morning,

I meandered through Dalhousie, a school I could

see myself going to. University campuses were

often comforting, and they stimulated good

thoughts. I guess they could be intimidating if it

was your first day and there was tons of people,

but during the holidays, it was like a meeting with

the other side of life, the only other people about

tourists in their twilight years, chattering in British


It wasn’t a long stay. A couple of days of

contemplation, and relaxation, and then I went

back home. Things were warming quickly, the sun

glowed brightly, and I spent a lot of time outdoors.

It was peculiar to me not to have a schedule to

adhere to. I was very far ahead with school though

I continually reviewed and reviewed things. With

two spare blocks I didn’t have to be at school very

often and I’m so glad for meeting Maisie because

we were able to share our company so much

together... She was lying here with me under the

covers while third block was on. Our bodies so

warm together cancelled the heat outside

somehow. I loved nothing more than to have her

hand perusing my body. That we had lost

heightened our relationship, and at least all the

hardness of my body could be hers. That we could

be together. I loved her so much. My cell phone

rang. For once it was Allister.

Hi Al how are you doing?

I’m fine.

Okay I’m glad why are you calling?

Because Paige just died.

What happened?

She just stopped eating.

For how long?

For a while.

Where is she?

In the reddish room.

Her bedroom?


When did this happen?

I don’t know. I hadn’t seen her for a few

days so I went into check just now.

Because she is always in her room.


Okay. Call 911 and tell them what you told

me. Here’s what’s happening. Dad is in Japan. I’m

coming home on the next flight. Hang tight, make

yourself a sandwich. You haven’t been eating very

much either have you?

Not really.

Okay. I’m going to call Air Canada now.

See you soon. Love you.

Bye Tristan.

Did you hear this?

I could hear what you were saying.

I sighed heavily. I think she killed herself.

Sounds like it. Was she unhappy?

She used to be. By now she just didn’t feel

anything. That’s why she was so weird.

We were quiet and thought about her.

Your Dad was attracted to her.

Plastic surgery.

I’m going to come with you.


Trust me, don’t do this by yourself.

I thought about it. Well then call Air

Canada. I’m going to shower. You’re driving.

Allister was inside. I went in immediately, and I

kneeled down and I looked him in the eyes.

How are you feeling?

He nodded.

How are you feeling? Alright?


What did it look like? Was there blood?


What have you been doing?


Did you say anything to these men?


I surveyed him for a sec, and then I got up,

breathing deeply. Allister, this is Maisie.

He looked at her.

Hi Allister. I’m sorry this happened. You’re

going to be okay.

He nodded okay and then he burst out


Did I do something wrong? Maisie said.

No I think this is a good thing. I hugged

him tight and I prayed for this to all end quickly.

They want to talk to us.

He’s coming with us. I’m going to call a

Taxi. Let’s make this quick.

I went upstairs to look at what happened. She had

slit her face and her arms, and there were pools of

blood on the bed. She was propped up with three

or four pillows. At least know I knew what Allister

had seen.

They want to speak with us.

One second.

I told the officers everything I could. They

had been in touch with my Dad and so had I. He

thought this was the best thing to do as well. He

was going to meet us in Vancouver. I asked what

they had been through with Allister. They said

they asked him only a few questions, and he spoke

with a counsellor more so. They wouldn’t need

anything more from him. The taxi arrived and I

rode in the front, and Allister sat in back with


We stayed in a Hilton near the airport and we had

a wakeup call for four. Teagan drove out after I

called him. He had been keeping an eye on Allister

and Paige for me. He said he was worried the last

few days, and thought about going over there, but

because Allister wasn’t in school it wasn’t

surprising that he hadn’t left the house. He liked

Maisie. We thought of going to dinner but no one

had the appetite. We watched a movie.

Why would she do that to Allister? He


I don’t think she did it to him. It was hard

to tell at first, but even Allister saw this coming. We

tried to tell Dad.

He’ll listen now.

There is no more to say.

No, nothing.

I think we are going to need more of his


I’ll drive you.

I think you should stay with Allister.

He likes Maisie.

He does. But he just met her. And you’re a part of

us since he was an infant.

I drove to get more of his things, things that would

comfort him, with Maisie. At this time, it should

only take forty-five minutes there and less coming

back. The beltway had only been finished while I

was gone. It was incredibly quick, and the lanes

were very wide, it felt oddly safe. She was quiet.

How do you like where I’m from?

I like it a lot. It’s nicer than I imagined.

Isn’t it? We were halfway there now. Of course. I

knew all the best streets. It is a different picture if

you go a different way.

I’m certain there are lots of nice streets.

That there is.

In the airport we sat there with coffees, waiting for

the flight, and we didn’t talk about it. She didn’t

have any questions to ask about the step-mom that

I hadn’t told her on other occasions. She shared

my concern for Allister and we were a lot stronger

together. She held my hand as we boarded the

plane, and while we flew way up there.

I was use to flying and yet it is always scary to be

so completely in the hands of someone else. I felt

liberated all the same from local place, and felt like

I could go anywhere. Maisie could come. The

flight was very bumpy until we got past Colorado

and then it was smooth.

We thought he would need more of his

things that would remind him of him of home–

books, cd’s, some of his nicer clothes. Walking

around the house, I could feel what he’d been up

to, where his presence had been, was. Maisie was

gathering things in his room.

Is there anything in your room that you

might need?

Now that you say so, there are some

summer clothes I could use. I looked in my room

for some more summer clothes. She was done

getting things for Allister and she stopped in the

door way and I came up to there quickly. This was

her first time in my room.

We were undressed before finally we

stopped. We can’t do this here.

Not after what happened across the hall.

Allister was asleep, and so was Teagan on the

couch. I woke him up. It was too late for him to

drive home. Maisie and I got another room and he

slept in Allister’s room.

I think we can do this here.

We can.

Arriving back in Canada, everything was

completed. I had but one more exam to write in

the midst of this rueful business, Maisie had one

more as well. I needed her support just at that very

moment, because however strong and brave I felt I

was falling apart all the same. We did awesome

and afterwards the only decision was to get out of


Dad was very shaken up, hurt, mortified,

and yet superlatively supportive of Allister. He

needed Dad. The two of them together, there was

an extra spark of life that had been missing visibly

in both their vitalities.

Maisie and I went to our graduation. —It

was underwhelming. We left early. We sat on

Burnaby mountain afterwards. It wasn’t the best

view of the city. Allister was going to go to school

here. We talked about where he should go. He

wasn’t going to public school. He only had grades

seven and eight left and then we were going to

send him East. I think that fourteen is too old to be

living at home. We would make sure he was ready,

visit him often, and he’s going to be an inveterate

little traveler. Our extended family was shaken up.

Though presently no one had taken to referring to

Dad as Ted Hughes. And I don’t think they will.

Right then, I was so sick of hockey the

whole city didn’t move me. The things that had

happened, we were getting out of there. We had

the next two months in Europe together. We were

staying in Moscow, only for a couple days, to see

what it’s like, and then we’re going straight to

Paris, and then London. These cities were for us

our highest aspirations. They were the most

beautiful; they were the whole Western tradition,

where we had come from, what was in our blood.

Our hotel was along the Seine. The days

were dismal, and the streets were overfilled with

life. We longed for the night, and we would walk

for hours under its great city lights. We climbed

the Eiffel tower, ate at Cafe de’fleurs, and spent

three days in the Louvre. We rode under the

channel to London. We immersed ourselves in the

theatres. We loved it so much that Maisie applied

for acting there. I just didn’t know what to do next.

I was working on my writing; she was reading

them, hating a lot of them, the criticism crucial to

me evolving my style. I was considering the

University of London, but for right now I was just

writing, going to Museums and book stores with

Maisie, and going for expensive dinners with her

and anyone we met along the way.

Vancouver was home. We would come back


I guess the question now, is how is Allister doing?

Maisie said.

We were in our flat in London. We’d been here for

a month now. Dad is taking care of him. He needs

to go back to work soon, though. We can’t leave

Allister alone, so shortly after the suicide.

He’ll have to come here.

Are you sure?

It would be a great time for him. I’m not so

busy. I can keep an eye on him. We can hang out


I think this will be good.

I called Dad to tell him about our idea.

First, he wanted to know how things were going.

Our flat is nice. We spent most of our time at

home, unless Maisie is going to school or when

we’re going out. When we do we call cabs. There

are mobs of people on the streets at all times of

day. We play music to manage the sound pollution.

We just hang with actors. Where would he stay?

We’ll move the desk and he can sleep in there.

When the summers almost over, we can send him

home, and I think he’ll be feeling okay then.

He’s really shaken up now. He spends a lot

of time thinking about it.

Well then I think this will get his mind off

of it. Fly him here on Monday.

Okay. I’ll be in touch when I’ve got

everything ready.

When Allister arrived, we met him there.

He was very wide eyed with Maisie. He stayed

close to me, and he was weary of the airport, and

all its very boisterous activity. How are you feeling

about everything, sweetie? asked Maisie.

Good. I’m happy that we are in Vancouver

now. It’s more fun.


There is a lot more to do. And it is so pretty.

Well you get to live there from now on. 

We took the shuttle into London, and took a cab

from the station to our flat. It wasn’t far. We hated

the tube.

This is where you live?


Cool. I like it.

It was funny. I hadn’t heard him talk for a

long time. What do you want to do now, I asked?

I don’t know. I’m not very tired. What do

you have to eat first, though.

You can help yourself to whatever you


Cool. Then I want to go shopping. With

both of you.

Shopping? Both of us?


He had never really been shopping before,

and I suppose he was in the right place to start. He

would be quite stylish. He’ll be a phenomenon in

Canada. He was quite taken with Oxford Street.

He was our new little top man.


Paul was in Ontario for the World U-18’s.

He probably wouldn’t play this year, but he would

for sure next year. Laurence was in Kelowna

training with his new teammates. Keane was still

in Vancouver, training at the same gym. He was

already six two, and about 185.

The defeat having softened its grip on us, we all

had very bright futures. Especially Paul. I never

brought it up with him though, I didn’t want to

add any pressure. In hockey academy, we just did

the drills, and we had as much fun as we could.

The most fun thing was our scrimmages. I use to

dream about it in Houston. It very much so came

true. We were going to dinner tonight. Allister was

running around like a little man now. He was full

of awareness, and he was full of wants and wishes,

which he could suddenly articulate, and to which

we were receptive. I think he recognized he was a

little lucky. I started giving him responsibilities. He

ordered for us.

Allister asked Maisie: Do you like Acting


Yes. I like it a lot, sweetie.

What do you do when your there?

We perform, and then we’re criticized. You

suck up your feelings after the criticism, and

perform again.

Do you get better that way.

Yes, that’s how you get better. It is like

hockey practice, but no one gets black eyes.

That’s a good thing, especially for an


Very true.

Do you miss where you went to school in


Not right now. I enjoyed it though.

Wherever you go you will enjoy it too.

Tristan said he hated it.

Did I say that?


I probably would have said that.

To be fair, I enjoyed my performances


I want to be a doctor.

I’ll hold you to it. What kind of doctor?

A surgeon. Can I specialize in heart


I’m not sure. Tristan?

I say yes. You’ve got it, the hands of a heart

surgeon. How is your meal.

It sucks.


It’s okay.

This is London, not Rome. Though the

restaurants are improving here.

What are we going to do tonight?

Whatever you want.

I want to go the Imax again.

Ah. Again?

What, you like it to.

Darn, your right…okay, let’s go again.

But you have to be ready first. Go shower

and stuff. I washed some of your clothes.

I don’t care. I only wore those things once.

In London after you wear something, you

have to wash it before you can wear it again.

Generally people do this anyways. Even if their

only sweatpants, you have to wash everything.

Well, thanks and stuff.

Maisie want to see one right?

What makes you ask all of a sudden, I

thought you weren’t giving us a choice?

Well, I’m not sure. Just, does she want to


Yes, I want to go to this one, Allister. It

looks pretty good, really.

Cool. can I use your shower?


It seals in the heat. want to make a sauna.

Whatever. Not too long though.

The days slipped by. I took Allister out with

the camera, and we went on the Museum rounds,

walked the Thames, visited old parts of the city.

We thought the old things were cool. Maisie and I

stayed up late together. The nights went away

slowly too. We always went to the book store

across the street. It was full of things to be

discovered. Sometimes the owner’s daughter was

there. One day, he introduced her to us. She was

bright and googly eyed. Allister wasn’t very shy. He

wanted to be friends with her. He started going

over there in the days, and the manager would let

them run around in the back. Allister would put

books away, and sometimes he stood very solemnly

at the counter and answered people’s questions.



It is in the very back, the second shelf from

the right.

Thank you, young fellow.

Do you like her Tristan?

No. We just like to do stuff together.

It’d be okay.

No. It’s not like I don’t like her. She’s nice and


I like that answer. I’m going to tell Maisie that


Whatever I don’t care really.

Maisie asked: How is Teagan doing?

Good, but his dad is blind now.


The murderous will of the gods. I’m not

sure, I didn’t want to discuss it too much. But he

said that he can’t recognize anyone anymore, and

he is trying to get around by listening, but it isn’t

working. See better, Sr. Teagan, is what I have to


Tegan should visit.

He really should. We were even talking

about it christmas time.

I’m not so surprised. You’re in love with

Europe. He’ll make it here eventually, i am quite

sure. Maybe he is a little busy with his father blind

and dying.


We should take another trip.

We haven’t been to Spain.

I would love to visit Madrid. Let’s go when

I’m on my break.

And Allister?

Let’s bring him.


After the second game with the Canadians, I went

home with Spelling for a change. Dad had to catch

a flight to Malyasia. We were at the new rink at

UBC. They had parked in one of the parkades a

little ways away. It is too bad you didn’t get an

assist on that penalty shot, Paul said.

It’s okay. My reputation as a puck hog was

being shed. But I still wasn’t getting credit for the

assists. I should have considered more that not

everyone could score in the same way as me, even

if they were given the puck in all the right areas.

It’s okay.

It was a wagon car. It was old though it was

sort of vintage. It was a long drive back home.

Spelling spent a lot of time with his mom. I guess

we all did, because we all lived at home, though

not me anymore I guess. She was very nice. I

didn’t like that she smoked. But she was from a

different generation. Their parents weren’t

together. Spelling’s Dad had cancer when he was

younger. They weren’t together after that. But his

father was always at hockey academy watching. He

didn’t work anymore. He had a very penetrating

glare, there is no doubt about this. It always made

me want to work a little harder, even if I was tired

from all of the ice times. He was an obsessive

sportsman. He followed basketball, baseball,

football, in addition to hockey at all levels, even

horse racing. He went to all the games and all our

practices too. I guess it was family times. I really

liked Paul, especially when we weren’t around all

the hockey academy kids, when Paul acted like he

was too cool for school.

Paul controlled the stereo. There were many

channels that he listened too, they didn’t have a cd

player. She drove very slowly, then making it even

later when we got home. It sort of was shocking

driving from the UBC area back to burnaby. But


You’ll have to be there early wednesday. …

will have someone waiting for you.

How long are you going for, I asked.

I’m going to play six games.

Glad to hear it. You’ll definitely be ready

next year. Especially after gym this summer.

Where’s your house, Tristan?

Up ahead. The second right. Far end of the


You live across from a school?

I live across from a school. I shoot pucks at

all the walls.

Okay, we’ll see you in a couple weeks.

Thanks for the ride. Safe travels Paul.

I hung my gear up on my hockey tree. The

basement smells like a dressing room. One room

does anyway. Dad wasn’t there but he left some

pasta for me. I curled up on the couch until Maisie

came over for the next week.


We were having ice cream in the plaza

mayor in Madrid.

Allister, stop running around. Come sit.

I have to do something first.

No just come sit.

Look your ice cream is melting already.

Better eat up, Maisie said.

It is not, replied Allister.

The width of the plaza could fill you with

grandeur quite easily and we were happy in this


Allister where are you going to school next


West Point Grey.

Really. How are you getting there?

Lets move.

I prefer Vancouver College, if it is only for

one or two years.

I just want to spend sixteen grand.

I know. I want to as well. But let’s not, and

then we can pretend like were still rational and

sane people.

We are definitely a little crazy. Where’s


He is still in Malaysia.

Are you going to play hockey again soon?

No one asked me about hockey for some

time. And Allister hadn’t asked about it in the

whole past year.



I’m not sure. I think I need a new area code


The sooner, the better, I would say.

Yea. Or else people are going to talk about

you too much and stuff.

That is one way to put it, Allister.

Let’s do something fun again.

Allister, your getting a little too pushy.

Relax, and sit down with us.

Very well, Tristan. very well. In Madrid, so

here we are.

Don’t say that.


Well, do you guys want to go listen to the

music, or should we walk back now?

Let’s go for a walk, Maisie said.

Where would you play?

I might go to the states again. My energy

levels are a little spent right now though.

Is that why we can’t have fun tonight?

We can have fun. Let’s just hold up a small

amount of respectability for our own sakes. Hey

Allister, do you know any Spanish?

Hola, coma estas?

Estoy bien. Y tu?

Bien. Thats all I know right now.

though you’ve been practicing your french?


good. vamos porque la noche esta joven.



So, you have never told me about Agnes.


You haven’t talked about her yet.

I thought it would be a little awkward. I

don’t know. I thought she was the love of my life.

But I always wondered if I was being ridiculous,

because we were so young. That’s partly why I left,

because already I’ve met so many more people

that I’ve fallen in love with too.

Other girls?

You’re the only one I have those feelings for.

But I have fallen in love with the people around

me. I guess it didn’t work out and it’s kind of just

over now.

If you want to try again with her then you


No, I don’t want to.

You didn’t even go see her when we were


Well, we were kind of busy with the whole

the step-mother literally died thing.

I want you to stay here with me, but maybe

you should talk with her, just for a little.

No, I don’t want to. I’ve gone back to see

here once, and it was pretty much a disaster.

Are you sure.

I’m not going back there, no. Just thinking

about it, my heart, my whole bloody torso aches.

Seeing her would make.. it’s just best to let the pain


Well just think about it.

No, I don’t want to.

Come on, let’s go find Allister in the kid’s


All this stuff is stupid.

That’s because your thirteen now.

No, it’s just stupid stuff.

You are both a little argumentative, Maisie


We are not, are we, little bro.

We’re just very candid.

He knows what that means, good for you

little guy.

Our train is sooner rather than later. We

should go to our gate now, I said.

It was a good trip. The very scorching sun

replenished our souls. Though, the weather this

summer in London hadn’t been so unbearable.

The hustle and bustle, the clouds, they could

dissipate from our immediate awareness as we

climbed the stairs up to our apartment. On the

train ride, we spent most of it in the restaurant

portion of the train, sitting at the bar. Allister had

two chocolate bars, and a juice.

That is a lot of sugar.

That’s why it tastes so good.

Look at that guy. He is the only obese

person I’ve seen since we’ve been here. They are

everywhere in Texas.

Keep your voice down.

Fat, fatty, fat people.


Two of the people that were killed in

Philadelphia last week were really obese. There

faces were all over the news.

They were only innocent bystanders.

Was that an act of terrorism?

Yes Allister that’s what it was.

Where almost there now.

Only another three hours.

Those beds are not very comfortable.

And it is so warm in there.

I can’t drink enough water.

The countryside is only so satisfying from

the windows of a train; Spain is dry and straw-like,

sometimes the mountains can stagger into

something interesting. The water sparkling around

the bends of out-jutting coast in the south of

France is something to be seen, the lakes of

Switzerland captivating, but mostly, the

countryside is only the countryside.

Paddington station was something

spectacular, however much anytime I was in a

station, in a train, I couldn’t wait to get home. I

tried not to look at the faces of people as I went by.

Traveling so much, there had been so many we

had come across. It was overwhelming. The

bubble of locality was forever burst, and going

home I was never able to feel the same about my

friends and family, and on the plus side, I seemed

to be able to connect to much, much larger groups

of people. This isn’t to say that my best friend

wasn’t still my best friend, or Maisie was not but

Maisie; no, these things will never change.

Hey Dad.

His face looked a little funny in the Skype

window. How is everything?

Good. Good. We had the funeral last week.

Only a small group of family. I’m home for the

next couple months now.

You’ll be ready for Allister in a little while.


did he enjoy Madrid?

Yep. He’ll probably be a photographer or

something. I took him to all the galleries there, and

here. He runs through them, but I think he’s

fascinated by the paintings all the same.

Well as long as he’s having fun and being


Are you going to come back and visit before


We’re thinking about it. Not sure yet.

Well, we’d all like to see you.

We might come back on the flight with

Allister. After all, it is a long flight to send him on

his own. Who knows who he might be sitting with.

That’s true. Well I’d like you to do that if

your up to it. I know Maisie’s parents are going to

be in town too. Anyways. how was the food in


I loved it. Allister was having stomach

trouble though. After that he just ate pizza.

Oh. We’ll I’m going to do a few things here.

I guess we’ll see you in a bit here.

See you.

Allister was sitting up, watching tv.

Al, aren’t you tired. We haven’t slept

properly in two days.


Go to bed you rascal.

Uggh. Okay.

Allister went to his room. Maisie came in

and we sat down together. I heard your parents

we’ll be in Vancouver in a couple weeks.

Actually, I wasn’t entirely sure as to whether

they would be coming or whether they wouldn’t.

She was changing subtly under the

influence of London, and her instructors. She was

speaking with clear enunciations, speaking lines

now, like we were in a Shakespeare play.

I just spoke with my father, it is confirmed,

everyone has heard, that your parents are in fact,

on their way into the area and they will be there

when we send Allister home. Now, I’m suggesting

that we accompany him, and this time you’ll see

your parents, and hopefully you can meet some of

my family. If you’d want to do so.

All you talk about is Eva. I’d rather be ever

so lost if I didn’t meet here soon.

There are more than just one or two in the

retinue. And they are all bat-shit crazy.

I can tell from what your dad says. But it is

Fridays, Saturdays, and all.

Allister was snoring now. he never snores.

The knucklehead was still awake watching tv

before you got here.

We are still awake now.

But we’ve had several cups of coffee. Hey,

do you know what?


We should have a child. It would be the

most beautiful child in the world. They would

crown him a prince here.

We’ll if we’re not going to make one in

actuality, we should move nearer the purpose,

because I can’t sleep.

Me neither.

It started raining outside. Heavily, as rare as

this was, as usually it drizzled and drizzled and

died on the rooftops. The night stretched into

early morning, we would have to return, one last

time, to set our feet once again, firmer yet, in the

fields of our dreams.


In Vancouver, the three of us stayed in our house

on Napier, the house towering above the very

anonymous streets. As a couple we were more

popular in Vancouver, than in Burnaby, where

people walked the streets with us, and had their

eyes open for something that would excite them.

Dad looked a little worn, but the new soberness in

his appearance made everyone feel better. He had

taken care of affairs, he could do many things

under stress. He’d be looking after Allister. Maisie

and I prepared to meet my relatives. We wouldn’t

stay long. Which colour dress do you prefer?

Wear the green one so we can match.

I was hoping you’d choose this one.

When she met Eva, I didn’t have any doubt

they would get along. Eva is so beautiful and

heartfelt about the things she says. Eva was

wearing heels, and they were almost around the

same height this way. She was short, and I only

thought this made her more feminine. She was

really interested in our life in London. Lots of

people visit there. Not many people move there.

Sweetie, I am so sorry about the game

there. We were all watching. It was actually

exciting but then we all felt heartbroken.

I’m so happy you watched, but you have no

idea how much I wish I could have done more.

The pain is so unbearable I can’t think about

hockey anymore.

Well I am sure it hurts. hockey is important

and everything. I am sort of surprised. Usually,

your are like training everyday this time of year. I

see what you mean by being really upset.


There was actually like a lot a lot of people

watching, and then there were people that were

interested in the score and stuff. Do you know how

many people it was?

I did. I forget.

We really like living in the U.K. right now.

Its miles away, said Maisie.

You’re in acting I keep hearing.


Are you getting parts and stuff, because I

know it can be really tough.


Well I’m not surprised even if I sound it,

my mother was overwhelmed with your looks.

Thank you.

I’ve been thinking about you, Eva. Every

place I go, I think, it would be nice to share this

with Eva. Where is Eva right now. Evaa, Evaa.

I would like to come join you. I’m working

full time right now.

Maybe christmas time, when you’re on break

from school.

Don’t say I can come and then not be able

to do it, you’re like getting my hopes for winter

break up like through the roof.

Eva, there isn’t one freckle of doubt I have

that this will be our best christmas break ever.


Alli, come over here, Maisie said. He sat on

her knee.

We think we’re going to have a kid, I said.

You’re joking.

Of course. But we might do it anyways.

There is no other way to express your love

better I guess.

We’d be sort of ready. Allister is our play


We’re good parents, Maisie said.

I couldn’t help but laughing. Eva is my daughtersister,

you know.

You look similar.

She’s the cutest.

Come on lets go meet some of my aunts

and uncles.

I can’t believe you all made it that far, in the

playoffs. good for you.

Yea. We’re not seeing it that way really.

I didn’t know you were such a good skater

on the ice there. And some of those moves.

Yea. We could have played better, our team.

I guess individually, yea it was okay.

She is very good looking. Is she your prize?

No. I guess she could be, we did win


I hope you are having a blast over there in

Europe. You know it isn’t the same unless your

young like you are. Where are the places you’ve


We’ve been around the uk a little. we were

in paris, we were in madrid, the south of france,

we were in russia. the goal isn’t to go to as many

places as possible. Not all at once, I guess.

It sounds like so much fun. Do you know

what you’re going to study?

I think I’m going to study English. I’m

thinking about other majors as well, though it’s

tough to narrow down all the things I’m interested

in now.

Well you don’t need courses to teach you

anything. Anything you learn will be in the books


That is a little pessimistic, but you are sort

of right, you have to learn on your own time in


uni. you’re already speaking in there

idioms. its adorable.

Excuse me, I’m just going to go over here

for a bit.

I really did like the snacks at family gettogethers.

Maisie, I’m going to have a drink. You

want one?

Uh yes. We haven’t been drunk the whole

time we’ve been home.

I know. Its been like two days.

We’re not alcoholics though.

No, we aren’t

Pour a little more than that, would you



Eva, hey, Evie. Do you want a drink as well.

Okay. As long as we all are.

Yay. Let’s get drunk. together.

I really wish no one had brought up that

game. Now I was thinking about it the whole time

I was trying to have fun being drunk. I had talked

to Spelling several times about it, and he was

super-bummed too. Probably more so, because

while I was in a different country he was home,

and he was on hockey 24/7. I think it was more

important to the two of us, than it might have

been to Laurence or Keane, they hadn’t worked as

hard, for as long, as we had, all season, all year.

Let’s go home.

I know we weren’t planning on staying very

long, but I do like Eva, and it might seem kind of

rude. You look shaken up.

That’s why I want to leave.

another thirty minutes?

Then we go?


I went downstairs and lay on one of the

beds for a moment. The noise of music, the voices

too loud riding over the lyrics, my ears were

ringing a little, and I felt the suppression of being

a little blasted, everything less differentiated, I

didn’t have to think quite so much about hockey. I

remembered what little Jian had said. When I

quit hockey, I started drinking with my buddies,

got hammered, felt like shit, and then it was over.

I wasn’t there right now. I felt like shit all the same

I could stay here for a half an hour.

I fell asleep. Maisie shook me lightly to

wake me.

Maisie, you can’t be having fun. stay here

and sleep some with me.

Gladly. However, its already 9 30. You’ve

been sleeping for two hours.

Blimey. Well your easy with all of them.

Your relatives are awesome.

I wouldn’t say that. Eva is awesome.

Eva is awesome. I agree. Now I want to get

the fuck out of here too though, between you and



Don’t you have an ice time with Spelling in

like an hour.

I don’t need to prepare. It’s the middle of

summer, we’re just playing some shinny.

The two of you out there there’s probably

scouts from the Rangers.

It’s not ideal. Everyone is always watching.

The small rinks at BWC weren’t

maintained over the summer. The ice on the big

rink this time of year, was wide open for at least a

few hours everyday. It was just me, him and a

couple jr. a players for a couple hours. In our oneon-

one’s he was beating me pretty often before the

season. Now it was a little more even. He was still

the best midget player in the world. One thing I

needed to work on was my one-timer. It was

pitiful. His was awesome. After they left, more

players had been showing up, and we had a full ice

scrimmage. Such amounts of exercise, I wondered

how I handled it. It was funny. Even in the

summer, it was so competitive that it wasn’t as fun

as I imagined it to be, I guess it could never be as

much fun as those first shinny games, the rollerhockey


They left, Paul left after a few hours and

then some. I was alone on the ice. I lined up some

pucks, shot them one after the other. Again and

again. I worked on my stick handling. I collapsed

on the ice. I was there at noon and I left at six.

When I got home, I felt incredibly relaxed,

drained, better.

How did it go?


I went to my room for bed.

Allister knocked on the door. How did it


Good kiddo. I’ll take you out one day when

there isn’t a Spelling on the ice.

Cool. He shut the door gently, and moseyed

off to watch t.v. again. He didn’t hang out in his

room anymore.


Tristan. Tristan. wake up. there is someone here to

see you.

Just give me a second Maisie. I’ll come to

the door when I’m dressed and ready.

I don’t think either of those are necessary. She’s

right here.



Hey. I sat up, I still had the covers around

my waist, though I moved to the edge of the bed.


It’s surprising to see you, here. I'm happy,

though. I missed you. I kissed her on the cheek, as

some form of greeting that wasn’t an awkward


I wanted to see you. It was a feeling like I

had to talk with you right away. I have to ask you


I had a feeling what she might ask me. I

was not happy about it. Whatever you want to

know, whatever you ask, I will tell you, I’ll have a


Okay I’m being serious. Do you still love


Of course. I love you so much.

Okay. Now that I’m finished school, I’ve

had so much time to think things over. I regret the

way I’ve been acting. I was mad at you for leaving.

I felt like you screwed us up. And I got so caught

up in acting like a teenager that I forgot to be

myself. It’s just everyone was, we were all

graduating together, and I got too caught up in

everything. I blame myself for letting you go so

easy. I blame me for acting selfishly.

It’s so great to hear you say these things. I

wasn’t so sure what to do now. I was surprised. I

put my hand on her wrist, held her hand.

You are still the closest friend I’ve ever had.

She started playing with her hair. Did we

break up?

Yeah, I think we did.

I really want to get back together.


Why do you think. I miss you so much. I

can come to school here. I even asked my parents.

There okay with it.


I can enrol for january. I never thought. I.

You have new friends now, and I like your family

so much. I want to start over with you now too.

I don’t know. That sounds great, but I

would usually say, stick to your plan.

I don’t want to.

Have you gotten bigger?

I have been working out really hard.

She just kissed me, grabbed my face with

her hands, and pushed me down in the bed. She

was sitting on my stomach, her back arched to still

kiss me.

Fuck me.

I can’t.

Come on.

I’m so sorry. Maisie is like right outside. You

should go.

She wouldn’t take no for an answer so

easily. She wasn’t used to me saying no to her.

She to took her shirt, put my hands on her chest,

and started moving her kisses down my body.

Oh boy. Agnes, please. I can’t. Not right


Me saying it twice, she knew she had to

stop. She was hurt, but she knew why.

Fuck. Okay don’t go yet. She was starting

to get off me, but I just put my hands on her waist


Why are you here.

Why the fuck do you think I’m here.

Okay, we haven’t talked in a while. Maisie

and I live in London. We’re just back here for a

little while.

We’ll I’ll be here when you visit. Don’t

bring her.

That won’t work.

Don’t you me. It’ll work.

If you have to, just not here. Close but not

here. It is a great place.

Like where.


You better come visit me. If you want me to

do this. She started kissing down my body again.


I turned her over with her legs still around

me. Stay quiet, would you.

I haven’t slept with anyone else.

I know. Keep it down.

Tristan, I

Quiet. I put my hand over her mouth.

Just stay in here.

I put on some clothes, and went downstairs

where Maisie was napping.

Hey. She’s still her.

She’s so pretty.

You think so?


I’m not really sure what to do. Did she say

where she is staying, how long, or anything like


No. I don’t have the feeling she even bought

a return ticket yet.

She’ll just call her parents when she’s ready.

I don’t think it will be such a long time.

I like her.

I had no idea she was coming here. I didn’t

want you to like her.

We’ll your going to have to invite her to

dinner and stuff. We can’t tell her to leave yet.

Alright, I suppose.

It was only four o’clock. I’ll go talk with her

some more. she says she misses me.

She’s not lying.

I didn’t think that she was.

Hey Agnes. How are you feeling?

Really, really good. I like your bed.

Thankyou. Hey, so tell me what’s been

going on.

Well, I’ve just been super sad lately. I’ve

been sitting at home and stuff, I don’t want to go

out. It really sucks.

I feel like that sometimes.

I didn’t know why I was feeling depressed.

But I know your right here and I feel so much


Glad you feel better. So, how long do you

think you’re staying?

I don’t know. I just came to see you. I didn’t

think about it after that. I didn’t realize you were

like living with her and stuff.

I’m glad to see you, anyways.

Hey, so if you’re here. We have to do

something tonight. Want to go for Sushi?

Okay. sounds good. when are we going to


a couple hours.

really? it’s still early then.


just lay her with me.

why not.

Allister came with us. That was a big relief. He did

have an ability to draw attention to himself, so it

was all about him, and not about our visitor.

Agnes, what do you like better dragon rolls,

or the california rolls?

The california rolls.

Let’s get the dragon rolls!

Hey, Allister, why would you get the

opposite of what I asked for?

Don’t take it personally. Dragon rolls was

the right answer!

You have to understand, Allister is

something of a professor. I think he got the idea

from the movie.

What kind of professor.

I think his area is corporate law, I said. I’m

not sure yet. The curriculum is very diverse.

What mark did I get?

You got a zero! Try again next time!

Ouch Allister. You were never this mean to

me before.

I don’t think he’s trying to be mean. He’s

making jokes. Professors often think they are

funny, don’t they Allister.

Always, every time. It’s because you have to


I’m not going to laugh at bad jokes.

Then I’ll make better ones!

Good. And all pick funny professors.

I’m the only one!

At this University anyways.

I teach at Harvard.

See, he explains everything very well.

It wasn’t so bad, all of us out together.

They were both beautiful. They didn’t talk to each

other. They both talked to Alli though.

Allister, I think she is crushing on you.

When that happens, be nicer to them, Maisie said.

Do you like me? gross!


No, I don’t like you Al, I just think you’re as

adorable as you were five years ago, Agnes said.

Remember the time we went to Las Vegas


Yes. We couldn’t do anything and

everything smelled like smoke.

The grand canyon was so breath-taking!

You remember?

Of course. I almost fell over!

Uh oh. Where was your Dad?

He was taking pictures.

Okay Alli, we’ll get the dragon rolls,

because I want them. Also though, I want

California rolls. Were getting this as well, I said.

That’s okay. I can have some of both of

them too. I really want dumplings too.

Me too.

Do you want Tristan’s bed tonight? He can

bunk with me.

You don’t have to do that

No its good. tristan, you like this right?

very much so, Maisie.

Your sleeping in her bed? Which one do we

like more?

Alli. There is no one that we like more.

There is just me and my girlfriend.

Fair enough tristan.

The food came, and they both ate very

genteelly. We didn’t talk very much, but it wasn’t

so awkward. I had spent a lot of time with all of

them. Maisie was oddly comfortable. She knew

that I loved her.

Hey alli, did Sally lend you any books until

you come back again.

yea. She lent me peter pan.

that’s one of my favourites.

i know. I think that’s why she gave it to me.

how do you like it?

mmm. I don’t like the how he lost his

shadow. it doesn’t make sense.

of course it makes sense. it makes perfect


no it doesn’t and why does he build a house

over her?

i think when you never grow up you do

some funny things sometimes.

more than just sometimes. I like Mr.

Darling though.

he’s like dad.

no Mr. Darling is like dad.

as you wish.

we’re you talking to me, Maisie asked.

That you have to ask is a sign of the

peculiarity of the situation.

Agnes looked away awkwardly.

Well. I’m full. Where is the waitress. Lets

say sayanora for goodness sake

Maisie, your driving.

She laughed quietly.

Alli let’s sit in the back together.


Look over there! that’s our favourite.

your favourite who! Agnes said.

our favourite animal. the cat with the red

tail. you know the one maisie.

she’s so pretty.

I wonder if there is a name for that, or if

she isn’t a breed, but more a genetic abnormality,

a perfect, beautiful, delectable, genetic gift?

who! agnes said.

the animal.

I think it’s just one like that here or

anywhere, Maisie said.

that’s what I say.

this is boring let’s talk about something else.

what do you want to talk about Allister?

I don’t know. I like when we talk about


What do you say about me.

All kinds of things, really.

Like What.

We say only the best things, right Allister?

Oh. Yes really, crazy good things.

Okay, Allister let’s be quieter than them for

the rest of the ride.

I would say I agree but I don’t want to be


perfect, most perfect. no more talking.

no more talking.

hey. listenzehere.

When we got home, I took Allister up to his

room, set a movie on netflix. Then I turned out

the lights, said goodnight, and went back to the

living room, were they both were sitting, looking at

their nails.

I’m ready for bed. let’s get to bed.

I’m actually not so tired, said Agnes.

Me neither really, said Maisie.

(argghhh) well then let’s just sit here.

You know, Jeanne said we can come over.

We should have Agnes meet Jeanne. Who’s


just her and Edwin.

very well. Agnes, are you satisfied with this?

more than so.

We better go before I fall asleep.

Fair enough, Tristan.

We drove again, this time Agnes was sitting

in the back. She poked out the window, fairly

interested in the city.

Is this the first time you’ve been here,

Maisie asked.

Mhmm. It’s very beautiful I really like it.

I guess we might show you around some.


I wouldn’t mind. I’m free all afternoon


Well, then.

We’re going in the back? I don’t want to

feel like we’re Edwin.

Lots of people come in this way.

They were in the kitchen.

Hey Jeanne. This is Agnes, I said.

Hi, he told me a bunch about you. I hope

your okay with that.

We’ve known each other a long time. I was


It’s okay, at least he remembers me, Agnes


What do you guys want to do tonight.

I think Tristan wants to get really drunk,

Maisie said.

I just want to do something.

Yea, he always wants to get really drunk, he

usually holds back though, actually, Agnes said.

Hey. Enough profiling for one night and


No, I want to hear all of it, Maisie said.

When something else comes up, Agnes said.

Here, Tristan, have a shot with me.

Your already into the hard stuff. Of course.

Mah. What an awful taste. chase. chase.

suck it up princess., Edwin said.

hey. i’m the prince here. i’m the prince.

He’s my little dude.

Maisie, suddenly were not all so sure,

Jeannie said.

None of that Jeannie. Don’t ruin my mood

and things and my mood.

Well, your girlfriend and your girlfriend

that you never really could break-up with is her.

I think he has everything under control,

Maisie said. It’s not like we don’t know about her.

We know all about her. We never thought

she’d come here though.

She is here. Look: yes, there she is. Let’s

keep drinking.

another shot, mate, Edwin said.

Everyone this time.

This is to my identity crisis, new

beginnings, fresh starts, to beauty. Just shut up

and drink. cheers.

nice tristan. I hadn't noticed. Is that

what you learned in London, said Jeannie.

One day I’ll show you what I’ve learned


Gladly, Tristan. Gladly.

Let’s go to the park or something. I’m

restless now.

Do you really feel like going outside? It’s


It’s freaking August. Put on a little



Are you cold Maisie.

I’m really perfectly okay.

Regardless of the indifference I was

feigning, I care. a little.

Do you really want to come live here?

Maisie asked.

Yeah it seems like fun, Agnes said.

Fun? Is that criterium for far-away cities?

seems like fun?

I don’t know I guess?

You’d want to think that one through some

more. A lot more. Then don’t do it.

It might be a good experience.

It will probably be a terrible experience.

Maisie is used to British people insulting

here all day long.

Its okay she’s sort of right. I haven’t

thought it all through really yet.

We noticed.

Tristan, get a handle on your women there,


I wasn’t going to mix them together. Maisie

wanted to be one of our friends. I think ideally,

she’ll go home in a couple days, and forget the

idea. But really I did have to make a choice.

Reaching past sports, past who lived across the

street from here. I guess Agnes and I weren’t

supposed to have quit. And we learn to make it

better. She was compromising now, it worked a lot

better. I wish we hadn’t been fighting. It hadn’t

happened before.

Looking off into the future, maybe they sort

of needed to sort it out. I was going wherever I

was supposed to. I never thought she really would

come with me. In thinking I had two of them, I

only stood the chance of losing both of them.

Edwin, you’re such a goof.

hahaha, he laughed.

What are you doing?

hahaha, he kept laughing.

Maisie was pushing Agnes on the swingset.


Like a little bit higher?

Like a lot higher.

What do I do, Jeanne, I said quietly.

Honestly, I’m not really the one to give

advice in this situation. But you definitely need to

wait for her to leave, and let her go. Let her think

how to say she might want you back. That she’s

scared to move on. Then pick one of them. pick

both of them if you want, I guess.

That makes me feel worse. Hey, Agnes.

You having fun.



which one are you are you staying with


Maisie of course.

It is getting cold. I hope you aren’t getting cold,


No, I’m okay.

What do they see in me, Jeanne?

A pretty face, something like that.

It’s cool you got to meet Agnes though.

She’s great.

I can tell.

What the hell is Edwin doing?

I’m not sure. We should probably leave. We

didn’t mean to stay long. but how was europe?

we had so much fun together. mostly, it

became about looking after, Allister, though. it

gave everything more direction, as when we went

around the city, our purpose was to show Allister

things. When we went for dinner, we had to make

sure he was eating properly. When Dad called, he

wanted to know how Allister was. Things like that.

Wish I was there.

It’d be nice. If you can, you’re welcome to

stay for a while.

Okay. Hey, how did your step mom kill

herself ?

It’s quite gruesome. She hadn’t been away

from her bed in over a week. I’m not sure if she

had been thinking about it for that long, or maybe

more time, and then she bled herself to death.

How horrible if there was a little boy there,

to make it even worse. Is Allister shaken up about


Yes. Most of the time now, he’s alright.

We’re obviously trying to have fun, and keep his

mind away from those things. Sometimes, he has

moments were if he’s away from us, and he has

been thinking for a while, he usually starts thinking

about it, and his eyes get very worried looking, and

he plays with his lip and cheek. We interrupt him

lightly, and I think eventually, he will overcome, I

suppose, the trauma.

Maisie,Agnes, you ready to drive home.

Remember I was tired when we left. Think how I

feel right now.


I closed my eyes in the back, and was

feeling sleepy.

This time it was Agnes. We’re here now,

sweetie.The next morning I woke up and found

myself draped over Maisie. I wasn’t thrilled with

myself for being effeminate in my sleep. I got up

quickly and made breakfast.

What have you made? Agnes was the first

one up. She had probably slept the least.

I made an omelette. Do you want to share

some of it?


I didn’t really want to share any of it, but I

gave her about half of it.

There’s pepper and stuff in it.

I’ve been cooking for myself in London. I

was cooking for myself a lot in the past year too,

without any mother-types around.


How did you sleep?


Great. So, did you have something in mind

for what to do today?

Whatever you’re going to do, I’m happy to

do that.

I’m going for a skate this morning. After

that, we can go around the city, or hang in the

house. up to you.

I’ll come watch you skate.

the rink is very cold.

that’s okay. can i wear one of your sweaters.

i don’t see why not.

Hey Maisie. Agnes is going to come watch

me skate.

Oh. Why?

I think she’s wondering what it’s all about,

and why I find it so interesting.

I like watching him play.

You even have an audience for practice,

good for you, Maisie said.

I’m going to go pack my equipment. Just

put that in the sink when your finished.

It had dried, wasn’t wet anymore. The

summer weather was better for this than the

heater. As I took things off the tree, and put them

in my bag, I could hear them through the ceiling.

we needed more sound proofing.

Why are you watching him practice?

I want to spend time with him.

You can’t talk to him if he’s on the ice.

I like to watch him play.

You can stay here if you want. I could call


I want to spend time with him.

Okay. How long are you staying?

Not much longer.

I’m fine with you being here if it isn’t too



I came back up. Okay, let’s go.

Is this your car?

More or less.

How far is the rink?

Not very. Five minutes.

Really? It was like an hour before.

Yes, this is much more sane. As you can see,

I’m a very good driver.

I can see this. I always felt safe with you.

Now your even better at this.

Just think, in a few years, how good I could


In a few years you’ll probably be together

with her.

I think there is a strong possibility of this. I

like her a lot.

If she’s what you want I guess.

So later, if you want to go somewhere, we

can visit downtown, see some of the shops, these

kinds of things. That would be the most fun, I


It doesn’t matter that much. As long as we

do something. I’m going to call my dad when your

getting dressed. he’ll probably book the flight right


okay. no rush. we aren’t that busy right now,

aside from this, really.

so this is our only highway. there are only

three lanes.

how do people get around?

they take bikes, trains, sky trains, or they

wait in traffic. Our municipal government would

prefer that we as a whole were very eco-friendly.

The benefit to have the city kept this way, and

living here being in a valley, is that the city is going

to keep growing, but it won’t get supermassive like

L.A., at least not for many years.

That’s why it’s a special city, I guess.

I think that is a really big part of it.

Here is the turn off, and there are three

stadiums here. Each one has two or more rinks.

So much hockey.

It’s a lot really. I have to try and not watch it

at home. When I’m watching it it’s usually to study

the game.

Is this really like a club?

Yea but only for hockey and shuffleboard. There

is a bar and cafe, I guess.

You might as well get a coffee or something.

I’ll probably be on the ice by the time you’ve

finished talking with your father.

k k. See you in a few here.

I got dressed quickly, warming myself up in

the cold building. I taped two sticks, and got on

the ice. I was the first one out there today. It was a

full roster of players though, and two goalies.

I looked up, and she was in the stands.

there was a few people watching. It wasn’t bad. I

liked having her here. This was kind of good.

Since it was summer, I could dangle as much as I

wanted. I’m not sure if I have ever showed off my

skills for her before. She only came to the really

important games.


She liked it. She said it was fun. I’m going

to lie down for a bit, and then were going to walk

around the city. Want to come?

No, you guys go. I’m just going to keep

watching movies with Allister, I think.

Okay. That sounds like fun. He’s watched

many. He has good taste in them by now. We’ll see

you tonight.

Okay. Join then.

Sure. I guess we could start at Waterfront.

That would be sort of the easiest place to begin.

We could watch the cruise ships, and then mosie

towards Granville and Robson, we can visit the

seawall as well.

She was quite as we drove. In previous

times, in Houston, she would have been texting,

and telling me things while we drove. It is

frightening to be in another city. Not that she was

frightened. We made quick time. It was early still,

there wasn’t any traffic.

Also, I’m really good at parallel parking.

We’ll park on the street. Are you watching?

Can’t wait.

Okay. I found a space, stopped and backed

in. I didn’t have to readjust.

Wow, I’m actually impressed.

I know. It’s a very useful skill.

Yes. Yes it is.

We walked along the water. What do you

think of it here? Of the view I guess.

It’s nice. It’s my favourite city now. I love

the mountains. What is that called there?

That is lion’s peak.

Oh. it kind of looks like that.


Where are all of these boats from?

The ferries usually come from Alaska. They

leave here, go up through the ice, and come back.

Sometimes, I think they start in California, and

they stop here, people come to the city for the day,

and they leave again.


Yea. Were do you want to go next?

Let’s keep walking this way.


People were looking at us a lot. We were

quite mostly. I didn’t like the feeling of people

listening. And there’s lots of yachts here. This is a

wealthy city. What is that up ahead? It looks


That’s the Hilton. Oh lets go inside.

We walked in and the counter wasn’t by the

door, but a little ways away, the main floor a very

open area. Come this way, I said.

We went up the stairs, to the level where

they had their conference rooms, their sort of gala


Oo did you have your prom here?

We didn’t. It would have been better here,

though. There’s a piano over here.

Do you play piano now?

Only a little.

Play me something.

I don’t think you really want that.

Come on, please.

Well, okay.

This is nice.

Just listen.

What is it called?

It isn’t important. I’ll tell you later.


just listen.

that was really impressive. how did you

learn that?

On the internet. I took two days learning it.

Can you play anything else?

No. Let’s go back downstairs. She was

looking at herself in the mirrored walls, examining

her outfit. It’s frowned upon to play the piano for

too long, I said.

We walked back downstairs, into the street

again. It was a little warm in there. It’s cooler with

the breeze off the water.

It’s a nicer way to live than when it’s too

hot to be outside unless you’re at a swimming


That’s one nice thing. Its easier to build a

lifestyle around it.

Why do you think of these things?

I read a lot.

like anything?

only the best stuff.

so your an elitist?

you already knew that. to rephrase, you can

have good taste and be a good person.

so you’re not an asshole for choosing

Vancouver over Houston?

I don’t think so. At the time, it was about

hockey. I want to live so as that people are

reassured in following their dreams. We all need

something to live for.

That’s sweet.

I hope so. I hope people are sweet. Because

I’m not sure the world is. We could keep walking.

Do you want to visit pacific centre, or keep

walking to Stanley Park?

No, let’s go home. How long has it been?

Two hours.

Let’s take a picture by the fountain thingy.

Then we go home.


— Home they were still watching movies.

When I looked closer, I saw they were both asleep.

The t.v. was still on, and we sat down on the

couches as well.

What movie is this?

The two towers.

No wonder there asleep. I don’t know how

many times we’ve watched those. I’ll search netflix

for something else.

Hey Allister. you just waking up?

when did you get home?

just then.

we were bored. we didn’t think you would

be home until dark.

well, tah dah. we’re home.

what are we going to watch now?

I’m not sure? Comedy or drama?


i’m browsing, but not finding anything.

keep looking. we’ll find something.

there’s nothing to watch.

they are just movies. let’s pick one.

Maisie, find anything?

have you all seen the lives of others?

I’ve seen it. Allister and Agnes haven’t seen

it, though.

Let’s watch it.

It’s a bit dark, though.

It’s educational though.

We’ll watch some of it.

Oh yea, hey what did your dad say Agnes?

I said I wanted to leave on wednesday but

I’m leaving tomorrow instead. He said it was

easier to get a flight then.

Oh that kind of sucks.

It’s okay. I have really enjoyed seeing you.

What time tomorrow?

It’s in the evening.

I’ll drive you when your ready.

Thanks. The night went by slowly. It didn’t

seem we were going anywhere that night. We

were getting along pretty well, the fact Agnes was

leaving, made everything easier, as it was only for a

little while longer, and she wouldn’t stress our

relationship any further, right now. All in all, the

company was nice. It wasn’t so awkward, really.

This movie is really good, said Allister.

It really is a classic, I said. Do you mind the


No. It’s like reading a book

I guess.

This was what we might have done any day in

Houston, though we have moved ourselves way up

here. Then again, there was always something else

to do. Here, it was just the three of us, or the four

of us I suppose. Outside, there were things to

discover, but that was tiring, and you had to come

home to recover your energies, and to feel wholly

safe. Maisie and Allister were really into the

movie. Agnes was a little distracted. I imagine she

didn’t quite get what she imagined from this trip,

but I might venture she got what she wanted.

Pretty soon, we would be back in London. Right

now, Maisie and I had that in mind, and we were

building our energies for the very busy life there.

Our lives were just starting now, and it was the

same with Agnes too. I like to think that I have

changed from this experience. I have. But other

people have changed too. Agnes isn’t the same as

she was a year ago, and we are the better for it.

It was so easy to be someone else away

from home. It is another thing to try and make

people accept that you’ve changed. That’s the

challenge of growing up. How to change and

become something much more than what you

were before.

Maisie, when are we going to leave?

Next week, I don’t have to go yet.

I was looking forward to being away again.

So, you guys don’t feel like going anywhere

tonight, and we can stay home, right?

Sounds good to me, Allister said.

I more meant Maisie and Agnes.

That’s okay. It will be a long flight. There

are some good movies here. We only looked at one


I just want to watch this movie more,

Allister said.

When it was time for bed, I felt sad leaving

Agnes. Maybe I was making the wrong choice,

and right then I thought, I don’t have to decide

everything right now in this moment. Maisie and I

stayed up for a little more time, we weren’t ready

to give the day away yet.

It was quite in the house. I felt like this was

more the way it should be, all the same. It’s not

that good of movie, she said.

It’s about loneliness.

It is.

So how do you feel about Agnes’s stay here?

Just from watching you together a lot more

makes sense about you now. She’s nice. It helps

that her stay was short.

She really just showed up. A few months

ago, I would have been very happy about this.

I guess she had a proper chance to come,

and less constant company without school.

And by the way, are you going to see your

parents before we go?

Of course. Will you come for dinner on


Definitely. Is your mom is nice. I like your


Mhmm. You’ll sort of see what she’s like.

The next day, I drove Agnes to the airport,

and I said goodbye, kissing her on the cheek. She

walked away through the gates, and I got back in

the car, and drove home again.

Maisie’s father was ex-military, but he was

very nice. He was a manly man though. He liked

being with the guys. That’s why he took to me

easier than I thought he would. Maisie’s mother

on the other hand, was less warm. She was very

demanding of her children, expected to be treated

with a lot of respect, she had a lot of pride, and

pushed Maisie into valuing beauty and looks and


Well, this looks good. Who cooked.

I did. Just me that cooked everything,

Maisie’s mom said.

Great. Can’t wait.

Maisie was well-dressed for the occasion.

She made me do the same.

So is this serious, between the two of you?

I would say yes, it is, mom.

She thought about her answer for a while.


Tristan, are you still feeling it about the


Yes, who wouldn’t be?

Don’t take it to heart. Think about doing

better next year.


And Maisie, be careful over there. I don’t

want to be more worried about you than I already


Yes, Dad.

And you’re always welcome home. You don’t

have to be at Tristan’s all the time.

I might stay here tonight, I guess.

You should. We can spend some time


I made my way home, and I felt alone for

the first time in a while. I texted Agnes to see how

she was doing. She made it home safe. Said thanks

for letting me stay. I said anytime. A little while

later she texted me, will I see you anytime soon,

you think?

I hope so, I wrote.

Hey Allister.

When the heak is Dad coming home?

I don’t know. Good question.

Really. I want to know.

A couple of days. Why you want


No. I just don’t want to be left alone.

That won’t happen.

Where’s Maisie?

She’s staying at her parents tonight?

What? Why?

She hasn’t spent any time with them lately.

What’s your worry?

Who am I going to hang out with?

You can’t occupy yourself for one night


It just isn’t very much fun.

I can hang with you tonight?

That isn’t the same. You like have to.

It’s not like that. Come on, let’s walk

hollander. He hasn’t been on one for a day now.

Yea why haven’t you walked him?

I’ve a visitor; I’ve had visitors. Holls. Here


Even he isn’t the same. Death. So, I haven’t

brought this up. But were alone together now.

How are you doing about Paige’s death.

It doesn’t bother me.

Really. Because it seems like it bothers you

sometimes. It bothers me too.

I don’t know why she did it. There was

nothing wrong.

I think sometimes people get sick Allister. It

was probably the pills she was taking. All in all,

that women wasn’t your mother. We care about

you, and your mom wouldn’t have done that.

She looks like Maisie.

You think so? That’s funny because I always

thought she looked like Agnes.

No. she looks like Maisie.

Do you know something?


She use to go on walks with you all the


Really? Like where did we go.

All over. trails. near rivers. atop mountains.

in New York. Alaska. all over.

cool. I’ve seen some pictures of that. you

use to do lots of stuff.

lots of stuff. they were one of those active

couples. I think that’s how they met.

when did they get married.

two years before they had me. I think it’s

better that way. They had practice working

together before I was born.

Hmm. Why do you like hockey so much


I don’t know. Maybe it was Wayne Gretzky.

Do you now that they had an outdoor game in Los

Angeles. Why?

To grow the sport. It was really warm. And

then they started to have teams all over the United

States. It’s tough to say if this was a good thing. But

i guess it’s partly economic boom, Wayne Gretzky,

and airplanes.

Do you think you’ll play in the NHL?

Maybe. When I was your age, I use to wish

all the time to play in the NHL. I imagined

winning the scoring title, the Stanley Cup. I

thought about it a lot.

Cool. Are you going to pick up his poop or

do I have to?

I think I have the bags anyways.

Well, should we turn around now? It’s

getting late.


there’s a pizza. Should I make it?

that sounds good.

what’s this?

game 7.

I think Detroit is going to win.

No it’s Pittsburgh year. Datsyuk sure is

good, though.

What about Zetterberg.

There all good. But Malkin and Crosby are

the best in the league.

I think the pizza is ready.

You can bring it in here.


It was no surprise the game had changed a

lot. The new rules helped, but the play wasn’t as

end-to-end anymore. Power plays boosted the

number of goals, but I’m not sure they were as


So do you want to play hockey? You’d be a

bit late starting, but if you’d learned the basic

skills, it might be worthwhile. We have something

big in common.

I’d like it. But I’ve been skating before, and

it’s not very easy.

You get better really quickly.

Hollander. Come here boy. Good pup.

He’s in good shape. Healthy pup, healthy.

Did you have dogs when mom was alive?

We had three, though not at the same time.

How did she carry me?

On her back. Like a camel.

Do you think Hollander likes Vancouver?

He likes it so much. He loves the weather.

I worried about him when we use to pant so


Not many people have dogs there. Here,

everyone has them. It’s easier for them.

I’m going to walk him everyday.

I hope so.

I wish Maisie was here.

How is your pizza?

It’s always really good. ate so much. weren’t

you watching. now i’m thinking…can we get


You aren’t tired?

Not really.

I guess so. Let’s watch this period first.

okay, so what kind do you want?

We always get chocolate. I just want Vanilla

this time.

I’m getting Vanilla too. Where are we

headed, little guy?

We’re going to Whitespot.

Very well. After we got in the car, I told

him, I can’t remember where it is? Can you direct


Of course you know where it is.

It’s strange, but I just forget. Maybe you

can direct me. We where there the other day.

Okay. it’s simple. go straight. and then drive

to whitest.

such good directions.

And how is yours?

Vanilla is tasty.

Mhmm. All this sugar I’m feeling a little

tired now. Lets drive home.

I’m tired too.

Did I tell you Isaak has been hiding since

January? Why?

He kissed an older guy’s girlfriend. He

doesn’t want to fight him. He’s only half his size.

He has to get over it eventually.

I’ll protect him. Isaak and I can take the

older guy together.

Cool. Why is Ellis sick all the time?

I’m not sure yet.

Maisie and I were leaving soon. Dad was

going to come home soon. Our priorities would be

shifting a little. Allister would have to take some

more responsibility for himself. I started packing

for the flight. I’ll have to bring more things this

time. We can’t just buy everything.

It’s going to be cold now.

That’s what I was going to say.

My mom bought me a new coat.

It’s really, gorgeous.

My mom has expensive taste.

When Dad finally got home, we were

happy to see him. He was a little sad, you could

tell he’d been working hard, and that he was

starting to get older. He made dinner for us. He

was a good cook. At first he felt like I was still with

Agnes, but he liked Maisie, even more now. So I’ll

drive you guys to the airport on friday. Eva says

she wants to come this time. She misses you when

your not here.

I’m not sure if there will be enough room.

We can put your suitcases in the back. They


I really like London, it’s so exciting, whereas

Vancouver is boring and sort of off the radar, Eva

said. I wish I could come with you.

Me too, I said.

Are you guys going to go away somewhere

cool again?

Maybe. I’m not sure if it’s the same in the

fall. Hey eva, are you going to come visit Allister

sometimes while we’re away?

Of course. I think we were talking of taking

him to whistler for a week.

Perfect. I was searching through my

messages, and I had the time on my phone. Aghh,

we are super early for this flight.

Can we get timbits, Allister said?

We could have a whole dinner, honestly.

I call the honey dips.

Ten honey dip, ten chocolate, what are

those they look interesting.

Let’s get those.

Ten of those. Three ice caps as well.

I guess this was the end of our journey. An

even bigger one was just starting. We were much

closer now. Your just supposed to love your family,

but before things like this happen, and you realize

you can count on them, I’m not sure if that love is

real. Who knew what direction we were going,

who knew what direction the world was going.

Another hour and a half before the flight.

There are no line-ups at security either.

Dad was happy for us, he was happy with

how Allister was now. He was much more

talkative, and he was more pleasant. We thought

for a while he would need a psychiatrist,

psychologists, and psychiatrists. Luckily, he didn’t.

These ones are good. Tristan, you can have

one honey dip.

Thank you, that means so much to me. It

tastes so good. yummy.

your welcome.

That reminds me. Did you ever hear from the girl

in the bookstore? She might be expecting you.

I told her I’m staying here. I invited her to

come live here but she said she couldn’t.

We’ll go to the bookstore and tell her it’s

too bad. Maybe in a couple years.

I think I’ll go there before she gets to come


She doesn’t have family here.

I’m here. And science world.

Science world?

She likes science.

Eva are you going to be home at Christmas.

Am I, um yes I am going to be here, why do

you ask? We’re going to visit again then.

Okay good. I would be so upset if I didn’t

see you until next summer.

I think it’s about time. We’ve waited around

for a long enough time.

We got up, and we walked towards the


We’ll thanks for coming to see us go, guys. I

hope everyone is feeling okay now. Take care, be

safe Allister. You can call anytime, even though

you probably won’t.

Bye, Tristan and Maisie.

Thanks for coming Eva, Dad. See you guys.

We walked through the gate and headed to

our departure area. I felt better now. It was a

nice day. The plane started moving. Take off

started, and the plane left the runway, and we were

in the air, up and moving.


Hey Spelling, let’s shoot top shelf glove side

all practice.

Why would we do that?

See how many times you can do it. You

can’t go blocker side over the pads every time,

even if you really were Joe Sakic. Anyways, I’m

going to do that, I’m bored today.

I did it three times. Then I told Isaak.

Nice man. Do it in a game. Let’s do this

drill together.

He was a pretty good passer. Sara was here

today, she hadn’t been here for a while er and

Jennie were talking about something, not

necessarily hushed, but budded, evaluating some

decision. I think she was coming over to where I

was in line for the next drill. Hey. So, do you want

to. You know.

Oh. I’m sorry.

Do you know what I’m going to asking.


Well, would you?

I’m already going. With Maisie.

Oh. Okay.

Sorry. I would say yes, but I’m already

going with her. Maybe you can come too, I don’t

know. I have to do this drill now.

I was surprised by this. I skating, and doing

drills. Maybe I would talk with her at the end of

the ice time.

Isaak, Jennie just asked me on a date.

Too bad you couldn’t say yes.

Maybe if she’d asked at the beginning of

the year.

I wouldn’t hold it against her in anyway.

That takes some guts to do.

It does. Hey, when are we scrimmaging. We

should scrimmage now.

Ask Hayes. Let’s scrimmage. Enough drills.

He never listens. He wants to do drills.

There’s only a half hour left. We’ll

scrimmage soon.

When we were sitting in the dressing room

afterwards, I felt sort of sad. I didn’t feel like

talking that much, all the same, I left the dressing

room last, taking a shower, and getting dressed

slowly. I went and visited the pro-shop, got my

skates sharpened there. One person did them well

there. He was the pro-shop guy. I looked at the

sticks, I didn’t really need anymore now. They

were starting to get pretty cool though. I bought

some more white tape and a powerade and then I

left. This was my first day off in a while. I called


Hey Al.

Hi Tristan.

How is Paige.

She’s the same as she usually is.

So she’s with it, she isn’t with it.

Not really. It’s okay though. Sometime’s

she’s good. I don’t need her help with anything

really anyways.

That’s good I guess. I’ll probably visit again



Have you seen Agnes.

Mm. No.


She was here a few weeks ago. But other

than that, haven’t seen her at all.

That was because I asked her to doublecheck

on Paige.


Okay. See you later kid.


Hey Dad.

Hey Kid.

Paige is acting weird again.

I know. How is Allister?

He’s fine.

I might go down there. Paige is getting less

and less reliable.

I think it’ll be okay for now.

Have you gotten your sat’s back yet?

No. They’ll be in the mail soon, I would


Good. I’m going back to work for a little

while. I don’t want Maisie or any other girls

running around here while I’m gone or tonight.

Okay. Tomorrow is an important game.

We’ll be quiet whatever we do.

They all seem to be important.

Yea, I guess.


It was the year before. We were in class

together. The instructor was droning on about

graphing calculators, and we were texting

surreptitiously. This is so boring.

I know

What the heck.

I know.

Are you really going to oklahoma this



I want to come.

I don’t think I can bring you. I could try

stuffing you in my hockey bag.

It’s really smelt though.

You might just stay home, and be better off

that way.

See you on monday morning, we’ll go for

coffee. You can come over for dinner too if you


Are you making it?

Yes. And your beautiful presence, the

satisfaction of your tastes, would make it all the

while worth.

I’m not sure if it makes sense when you say

it that way. Sounds nice though . Thank you.

After class, we drifted through the hallway.

We slowed down to talk to people. I didn’t know

what to say to most people, she had something to

say to everyone. Eventually I found Teagan and he

talked about a camping trip. He said hello to

Agnes and then it was time for next class. Do we

really have to be in every class together today.

Why are you complaining? You love me.

The absence would make it stronger.

Just shut up and let’s go take more notes.

We have a mid-term next week,

We do, We do.

It’s a shame Teagan isn’t in this class. Then

I’d have someone to talk to.

Hey. I prefer your conversation. You can

sort of do the same, don’t you think?

Rarely, and not deeply about these kinds of


I like her outfits.

I don’t.

Why there really nice.

For a teacher, yes, I guess so.

Why are we even together?



I’m the best.

You really are.

Do you think that any of this is actually


No, not really.

That’s unfortunate, really.

I’m actually excited for English however.

Yea stop talking so much in that class.

I like talking about books. Moreover I like

the participation points.

You and your points.

Don’t belittle me please.


We switched over to text.

My hand is getting so tired, it’s been a week

of this.

There’s a lot of things to remember.

There definitely is.

Not that many.

Not so many things.

Most of our teachers were good. The

school was strong. Our days were full of each

other, our afternoons were full of each other, and

we were never out of touch. There, really though,

wasn’t anything worse than a text message when I

was already asleep. But everything was okay, I

could go back to sleep quickly. One thing I didn’t

like so much, which you might have thought I did,

was that everyone talked about sports too much. I

know, I’ve already complained about ESPN. And I

like basketball, and I even like baseball, but

football, especially southern schools, the way they

approach the game, and their lives, is a little off, a

little too much to say the least. It cultivates, rather

than channels, the violence in the South. Going to

a game with so many other people, is always

exciting and interesting, however much the players

hurt each other. Teagan liked to hang with us, but

it was more fun when Agnes was busy. He had

been single for like a year now, and when we went

places he’d usually make me wingman, so he could

make-out with more girls. He wasn’t a sports guy,

and that was refreshing, though a little alienating.

We had more fun dirt biking, or when we were

younger, riding electric scooters, than we ever did

playing sports. Then again, we played a lot of

horse in the driveway. I remember when his

parents got divorced.

It’s not my place, but it might be for the best.

I guess so, Tristan. I don’t want to leave here

though. My mom’s keeping the house. I’m happy.

We can still have fun, your mom is more

encouraging of that anyways.

In the summer, I use to wake up just like a

school day and ride my bike over to see him,

otherwise it would be too warm outside. We would

watch movies, and in the late afternoon we’d go to

the village for food, sweating in the heat as we

came back. Should we go to the pools. No it’s not

even cold anyways.


When I was leaving a year later, he was

more understanding. He just said, good luck

Tristan, make sure you visit.

I will. Take care Teagan.

And when I left, I didn’t want it to be

ceremonious. It wasn’t, people were upset, and this

is a little overlooking of the reason — my Dad’s

divorce wasn’t a pretty thing, even if it was a good


In the following years, leading up to now, I

still saw him often, not a lot at first, and the very

strange process of making our way over stretches

of years, and changing, that is the stability upon

which our lives sit.

I wasn’t unhappy with this kind of living. It

was just, I felt like having other good times.

Hockey had always been important to me. I use to

love to watch the games, and every day I was a

famous hockey player. I drove Ferrari’s, I lived in a

mansion, and went all over the continent playing

for loads of people, doing interviews with NBC,

CBC, ESPN. It was too bad ESPN didn’t show

more hockey. I always had to wait until the very

end of Sportsnet to see the hockey highlights.

Sometimes, we got to see games. In Dallas, we saw

ones in Nashville and LA, and me and Dad went

to a few in Vancouver. I guess I’m not real sure

why it was so surprising. My dad loved it, it could

be poetic, you could achieve glory this way. When

Mom was around I use to have her drive me to the

rink. Stick and puck was fifteen dollars.

Afterwards, sometimes I would go to free skate

with the guys, and we would have races, watch the

other people, mostly any ice time was good

practice. At home I would play on the drive way

all the time. There definitely was one thing, that it

really calmed me down. It is really good exercise.

And there is something thrilling about ice skating,

especially on a pond. The phenomenon of ice, the

thrill and fear that it might crack and you might

fall in, that was exciting. In looking for clarity,

purpose, hockey could centre me, and being on

the ice alone, was a very calming experience. You

really going? Yes, Agnes I really am. But you’ll be

home soon. Not that soon. Soon though. Okay.

You’re going to call right? Of course. Okay. Okay.

And youth hockey was highly enjoyable too.

Before the hitting, it was really fun. And it was

special, I think, going to all these places, staying in

hotels together, boys being boys, and having fun. I

still wish we could play knee hockey tournaments.


— Hey Teagan.

Hey, sorry man. Mostly I’m sorry for

Allister, but yeah.Sucks.

Thanks for staying with him. How is he?

Fine, considering. What did it look like?

I don’t know. Not much of a way to live,

that’s for sure. It makes me feel angry, really. I’m as

shaken as he is, hopefully I’m handling it better.

Think so. It’s good that Maisie came, I

would have brought her too.

Yea. So, I haven’t been able to eat today.

I’m going to get some juice, though.

Want something?

I’m good. I’ll keep an eye on the two of


I went back through the door, and through

the hallways. By the ice machine, there was a soda

machine, but no juices, only bottled water. I

thought about going to the bar, but they probably

wouldn’t want me in there. I needed the fresh air.

Not as crisp as I’d like. Still, I breathed deeply, the

air not visibly polluted, anyways. I walked three

blocks to the esso station. There was several cars

filling up. The drinks were to the left. I went with a

lemonade. I went to the register, and as I was

waiting, I took a couple nutri-grain bars in case I

got the urge to eat in several hours, or maybe in

the morning. An elderly brown man helped me. I

walked back, took the stairs a few flights, and I felt

a little woozy. I stopped and drank some of my

juice to help my sugar levels. Maisie and Allister

were still awake. She was watching T.V., though

Allister was staring at the wall, mostly.

Hey you guys. If either of you are thirsty,

have some of this.

I am a little now that you mention it.

Maisie had a sip.

How is Allister?

He’s hanging in there, he’s doing well.

Hey Teagan.

Hey, there both doing well. Your back now,

but I’ll stay here with you guys a little longer.

What are you watching?

Just some movie on t.v.

A t.v. movie?

I’m not even sure.

Is anyone tired, or will we all be awake


I’m sure we’ll be able to tomorrow, Maisie


I’d hope so.

I guess it was whether they all were

emotionally alright. This was our closest brush

with death. I think we had all had relatives on

other sides of the country that had passed away,

but this was the first immediate person in our lives

to pass away. there was, sadly, a couple of students

that passed away, but we didn’t know them very

well. It was strange how everything felt the same.

My chest felt a little uneasy, but everyone sat in the

same way where they would have before, and the

t.v. continued in the same way, bringing us the

outside world, which had oddly come to terms

with the process of birth and death. This was life,

you couldn’t change it.

I don’t like this channel.

What other channel would you want to

watch Allister.

A different one. Look at the guide.

Nothing looks very interesting.

Pick something funny.

I was looking for something funny, Maisie


It is getting late, Teagan said.

Maybe we should be going to bed now, I

said. Tomorrow will be a busy day of travel. I think

Teagan has to work as well.

I’m not very tired. Let’s go to the games


I don’t think it’s open right now.

I really don’t want to think about the house

and stuff. I need to think about something else,

Allister said.

It’s best we just stay in the room, right now.

I felt upset now too, and I wanted to do

something to take all of his pain away, but it wasn’t

easy. In any event, it would be over soon enough,

there’d be someone with him for the next while,

whether it was me, or Dad.

I think we’re going to go back to our room

to sleep. We’ll see you first thing in the morning

Allister. Thanks Teagan, hope you sleep well.

Thanks for coming here.

We left the room and went up to ours.

These stairs are winding when you haven’t

eaten anything.

I feel the same way, I said.

Do you think you could eat now?

Yes. It’s not really that late yet. We could

probably get room service.

Once we were inside, We looked at the

menu and did get something to eat.

She took a shower, and I lay down on the

bed, seeing if I could fall asleep. Not right away I

couldn’t I guess, and I answered the door when the

room service was there.

Maisie came in from the bathroom when I

closed the door. Oh, I am so hungry now, she said.

Me too, I’m feeling a little weak. I’m glad

our flight is early.

Enough of hotel rooms.

I guess the guest bedroom is Allister’s room


It’s not so weird that your living in that

house after this.

That was the least of my worries, but yes

that’s a good thing.

What a nice little boy.

He takes after Dad.

Dad and him would get along. Allister was

getting older. He was interested in more things.

He’d like Vancouver. He hadn’t been there yet. It

was time he visited, or as it was shaping up, moved

there. I wondered how much money we had

accrued for parking. Quite a bit, but it wasn’t a big

deal. It was just after midnight now. I actually felt

a little cold. I had brought one sweater. I could see

the warmth in Maisie’s cheeks from the shower.

The shower had softened her feelings. She was

very calm now. her hair was spun under a towel,

and she was wearing pj’s. I think she enjoyed

visiting a new city, and getting to see where I lived,

in the midst of the perverse feelings we all had

experienced in the course of the day. It was quite

something how she connected with Allister, and

Teagan, right away.


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