[in which our young narrator moves to a small town for 20 days]
Napoleon had his Waterloo. And I had mine. When the story of my life is written (that is, when I write it), this episode will surely have its own chapter, entitled "My Waterloo." Here's the first draft. All names have been changed (except the cat's), making this seem even more like a bad romance novel.
This whole thing may be a case of "too much information" and I certainly don't encourage you to read more than you want to. It may just be an exercise in archiving for posterity for my own sake. Apologies to all involved if I've portrayed you unfairly. I was a jobless, transplanted, broken-hearted fool.
Your narrator - Sad, and just a little obsessed, your narrator had made the decision to move to Waterloo the previous winter, after being laid off from his job. After completing a messy spring breakup, and a 4 month course in multimedia, he is ready and willing to move, even if the only people he knows are his best friend (and roommate to be) Chad, Chad's girlfriend Rachel, and his X.
X - Your narrator met X through his friend Chad, who'd actually dated her several years before. At the beginning of the relationship, there was some confusion about who X really wanted to be with. She and Chad talked about rekindling their romance, but Chad decided he liked Rachel better. Last I heard, X was happily married and still living in Waterloo.
Chad - My best friend since high school, though he moved to this insufferable burg almost 10 years ago. Polite and fair, Chad was as baffled as anyone by the strange behaviour of his new roommate and his ex-consort.
Brian - ah, the one left behind. Another "best friend," your narrator lived with Brian from 1989-1992, and from 1994 until these events. Oh, and since these events, too. Not generally one for sappy feelings, when asked on New Year's Eve 1997 what was the best thing that happened to him that year, he replied, "James moved back home." I almost bust out cryin'.
Shelly - one of my steadfast women friends, also since high school. She also knows Chad from that time. She lives about halfway between Toronto and Waterloo.
Rachel - Chad's girlfriend, and now, happily, wife. She had to put up with a lot of nonsense near the beginning of my relationship with X, due to her boyfriend almost bailing on her (and me.) He came to his senses. Rachel is wonderful.
Claire - Your narrator met this beauty in his multimedia class and they immediately hit it off. Smart, funny, beautiful, taken. Her father is a very famous sports figure in Canada. I couldn't care less.
Bob - a friend of Brian's who moved in with us in advance of my move, intending to take my spot in the apartment. Left in the middle of the night a few weeks later.
Nelson - scruffy, Toronto-based feline companion of Brian and your narrator.
"If God Should Send His Angels" - U2