When His Heart Stopped – Friday Fictioneers

Well now.  This is a rarity.  —Not my waking up at stupid o’clock and not being able to go back to sleep.—  But to surely find myself on the first row of the “Hollywood Squares” as our buddy Russell calls them…  As always, thank you to Rochelle for hosting this crazy bunch!

I’m sorry to do this to you.  I had to “go there”.   I won’t bother pretending this piece is not wholly true so I’ve kept all names real.  I cannot believe my life changed so drastically three years ago this coming December 11th.  And when I saw my own picture as the prompt, I just dunno what happened.

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Genre:  True Story

When His Heart Stopped

The phone rang.  “Ya, Dale, it’s Armen.  Mick collapsed.  He’s at Santa Cabrini Hospital.”

“What do you mean he collapsed?”  Fear gripped her heart, sending shards of ice throughout her veins.

“I dunno.  They called me.  They are checking him now.  Tony’s with him and they have questions for you.  I’m on my way and will meet you there.”

She Googled the address, dressed and left, thankful both boys were at school.

Tony met her at the entrance and guided her to the registration.  “He had a heart attack at our shop.”

Her own heart sank, somehow she just knew.

 

It All Started With a Phone Call

A good while back, I let ya’all know that I would be starting to write my stories.  Well, more like my stories with Mick because, frankly, he was quite the inspiration, my muse, if you will.  The boy just knew how to attract, um, “situations”, yeah, that’s what we’ll call them!  But, before I can get into our (mis)adventures, I have to share just how we met!

Why start today?  Well, today would have been our twentieth anniversary together.  Instead of focusing on sadness and what-could-have-or-might-have-beens, I prefer to remember the good stuff.  The oh-so funny stuff.  Lord knows there are plenty of those!!

As my story was not accepted by Six Hens ~ no, no, say nothing ~ it was my fault.  I did not perfectly respect the guidelines.  I will for the next issue, though!  That said, I can now share with you what I sent them with a few extras thrown in!  So, without further ado…

It All Started With a Phone Call

In my thirtieth year a series of events happened: my marriage of 17 months came to an end, I lost my job and I could have lost the family house ~ the one I had bought from my parents when they split up.  I will forever be grateful to René for continuing to pay his share of the house, even though he had moved out.  He went above and beyond and will always have my respect.  He may not have been the man for me, but he is definitely a good man.

This six months sans job turned out to be a benefit to my sister as she had three babies at home and welcomed the daily help. Truth is, I didn’t mind the forced time off either – it was a fabulous time:  playing in the park, swinging babies, cuddling, sharing with my sister, walks in the snow.  All good.

In March, 2005, I found my dream job.  (If the head office had not moved to Toronto, I think I’d still be there!) Things were looking up.

I started thinking about going out and dating but, ugh! Did I really want to do the bar scene? That whole meeting-your-soul-mate-at-the-grocery-store only happened in movies!  Serendipity?  Well… some work is involved, no?  I had to create the occasions to meet people.  I couldn’t just sit on my butt waiting. What other options did I really have? Almost all of my friends were pretty much coupled and none of them seemed to have any single friends to set me up with.

Well.

A friend of mine, Kathy, who happened to be single at the time also, suggested I sign up with Tele Personals (This was 1995, the Internet was still reserved for computer geeks!)  Really? Do I look that desperate? Had she lost her mind?  Was she nuts?  No. She was none of those!  She convinced me it would be fun and really, what did I have to lose, anyway?  You made the arrangements.  You decided where and when to meet these guys so… don’t be stupid and go to public places!  Go for a coffee (a meal is way too much commitment!) and you can decide when it is worth more time and when it is not!  I thought it over and really, how else are you supposed to meet people if you don’t want to sit alone by a bar looking like some desperado?

So, I sucked it up and signed up ~ it was, after all, free for women. I met some really nice guys, some not-so-nice guys, some desperados and some that just didn’t click. It was funny to listen to guys’ messages: “considered good looking…” (yeah, to your mother!), looking for minimum 5’9”, blond, must be under 125 lbs…. (really? You want a Barbie?), etc.  I dated a few more than once and even ~ gasp! ~ met two in one day!!  What?  It was for coffee!  Kathy was right.  It was a lot of fun.  People in Quebec don’t know how to date anyway.  You meet someone, you date once and all of a sudden and you are “going steady”… Pfft.

And then one day, I heard a nice voice stating he was looking for someone to go biking with, to hang out with, go to movies; he did not describe himself at all and did not have a list of pre-requisites.  I liked his voice and his message, it all rang so sincere to my ears, so I left him a message.

Well, whenever someone leaves you a message, the first thing you do is listen to theirs!  Which is what he did, of course. I had specified in mine that I preferred a non-smoker so he left me a message saying that he would have liked to meet with me be but he was a smoker.  Hmmm. In my suddenly-single state, I had found myself having a teenage-like identity crisis. I was rebelling! Well, no, that is a small exaggeration. But, can you imagine, after eight smokeless years, I stupidly started up again? It was all innocent at first. Apparently pretty much all the guys I met on the system were non-smokers except when they had a social drink. So I’d have one here and there.  I started smoking during the meetings (strangely a lot easier to withstand when you are one of them) at work.  As a result, it didn’t quite matter as much that this nice-voiced guy was a smoker.  I then did something I never did! I gave him MY number! There must have been something in his voice that sounded trustworthy is the only explanation I can give.

So, it’s a Sunday morning, June 25th, and I’m basically lying in bed, listening to potential candidates’ messages when I get a beep stating I have a message in my voicemail. Oh! So, I switch over and get this message: “You obviously don’t have call waiting… so call me at 514…!”  It was Mick.

Well I did. We ended up talking for over two hours! I won serious brownie points when I told him that he was listening to good music as I could hear Genesis’ Cinema Show from Selling England By The Pound in the background.  It turned into a game of  “Guess what song this is?”  I would play something on my CD player and have him guess what I was listening to and vice-versa.  So silly. We decided that we just had to meet that very day. Problem was, he had a dinner at his best friend’s house (André) that night.   He said we could meet after supper as his friend would totally understand if he had to leave earlier than usual. He then suggested we go to the movies. Movies? Now he lost brownie points! How do you get to know someone if you are sitting in silence in a movie theatre?

I agree anyway and we checked the listings. Batman Forever was playing at the Loews, downtown Montreal, at 10:00 pm. We decided to meet there around 9:00 so we would have a chance to chat a bit before.   “I’ll be wearing cut-off jean shorts, a white blouse and red shoes”, I told him. It was not like it was the first time I met up with a blind date and there was something exciting about this one.

Phone Call

I stood by the west-side entrance of the now defunct Loews movie theatre and saw a nice-looking guy walking towards me. I just had a feeling it was him so I stuck out my right foot and wiggled it, showing my red shoes!  With a big smile he walked towards me.   Someone cut in front of him and stopped him.  After talking with her for a few minutes, he motioned me over and introduced me to Samantha, a friend from high school!  He told me later on he was so worried I’d think he was some kind of player!  Too funny.  If you knew Mick, you would know that there is no way in hell he could ever wear that title with comfort.  Sam left and we officially introduced ourselves to each other!  I suggested we go for an ice cream cone as we still had time to spare.  He agreed and we walked around looking for an ice cream parlour.  He first tried to bring me to one in one of the parks off Peel Street but it was closed; we then ended up going to some other little joint ~ the one detail I cannot for the life of me remember. (I found out much later that ice cream was the last thing he wanted to eat as his friend had served him a “Jurassic-Park-sized steak” and he was so stuffed, he could barely breathe!  No wonder it took him so long to eat it that the ice cream was melting faster than he could eat it. Gave me a chance to scope out his hands…

We slowly made our way back to the Loews, watched the movie, and then decided to go have a coffee. We were in no rush as neither one of us was working the following day so we walked towards Dunkin’ Donuts.

We sat on a bench for hours just talking, drinking our coffee.  It gave me the opportunity to see what a generous man he was as he handed out cigarettes and coins to various homeless men. It was almost 4:00 a.m. and I told him it felt like we were teenagers staying up all night at Prom! Then I said, “Hey, if we were at Prom, what would we be doing about now?” “Go up to the Mountain to watch the sunrise!” he exclaimed.  So we did. We walked up Peel Street, through the walkways, where we held hands for the first time. It was so quiet and we were the only ones up top on the Belvédère Kondiaronk, (a wide piece of land annexed to the Mount Royal Chalet) over-looking the City of Montreal. Some view! It was cloudy and muggy with no sun to be seen!  Perfect place to share our very first kiss.

Belvedere Kondiaronk

It must have been around 8:00 am and we were getting hungry. Not only that, our cars were parked on the street and we were in danger of getting parking tickets!  The holiday was officially on the 24th (a Saturday), so companies had the option of giving the Friday or the Monday off.  We both had the Monday. He asked me if he could make me breakfast. I accepted, so down the mountain we went to our respective cars and I followed him to his place. He got busy in the kitchen, making me an omelette, bacon, coffee… It was delicious! This guy was a keeper!

After breakfast he showed me a video of his shark dive in the Bahamas and then, because it was so hot, I asked him if he was shy about meeting my sister. She had a pool….  Well, guess what? He was all gung-ho and off we went to my sister Lisa’s where we splashed around like little kids and laughed and laughed until our bellies ached. I think I was not the only one who considered him a keeper…

He never slept in his apartment again.

It was basically the date that never ended.  All thanks to that first phone call.