I love the people at this cafe. The lady with the Austrian accent always upsizes my drinks – free of charge! And sometimes the Hipster Barrista sneaks me free pastries.
And they were all so happy for me when I gave them the good news!
Okay. This is gonna sound tremendously pathetic, but I don’t have many friends in Vancouver. I have one friend whom I meet once a week to watch movies with and vent about love and why Scandal makes me mad; there’s a budding screenwriter who passionately debates on topics regarding race and racism and racists! racists! Avatar casting! racists!; and then there’s The Novelist – spirited, lively, gifted – who I send neurotic emails to and who lets me sneak peeks at early drafts of her manuscripts.
Three friends. Three incredibly wonderful, talented, and beautiful friends.
But said friends either have jobs or families or General Life stuff to worry about. And so, most of the time it’s just me at this cafe. Writing.
Are you feeling sorry for me?
Do it. I love sympathy!
No, don’t feel sorry for me. Because the people at this cafe are lovely! Really, I was shocked by how happy one of the ladies was for me when I told her the good news. She actually stopped steaming her milk for a second because she was so proud! I think she was initially worried because I started coming in more often, staying longer hours, and I was probably looking more and more skeletal and stressed. This normally means I’m in the middle of another project and I’m at that point where I’m wondering what the hell I just got myself into. I was slowly transforming into Miss Havisham and Skeletor’s lovechild. And I think she saw me so often that she knew how much this meant to me – how hard I worked and how much I wanted it. I think she knew that it didn’t come easy to me. At all. And I like that. I like that there’s someone who knows that I had a hard time getting to this point. That I really, really struggled.
But thankfully I had this hipster cafe and its awesomely caffeinated beverages. Thankfully I had my three wonderful, beautiful friends to dump on and to keep me distracted with their own life-happenings. Thankfully I had an awesome mentor who was patient and didn’t roll his eyes at me when I brainstormed cliches and trite ideas. Thankfully I had Vancouver. For everything.
And I’ll miss it. I’ll miss Vancouver so much. Gastown, the cafe, the cobblestone streets… That clock that’s always steaming at the top and tourists seem to love. The comic book store on Granville. The skunks that come out of hibernation in the spring, and the porpoise (yes! The porpoise!) that I swear I saw swimming along the beach one day. And the Vietnamese guy. The one who I’ve been trying, tirelessly, to get to notice me. Ha. He’s sitting right behind me right now. (Maybe I should flex? If I had muscles…)
Two years ago today I dropped my family off at the train station. They were heading back to the airport, where a plane was waiting to fly them back home. And I thought, desperately, “Please! I change my mind! Just take me with you! Screenwriting is a mistake and I’m not good enough and please take me with you!” And the next day I was sitting in the third row of a mini-theater and the balding man at the front was telling us what we were headed for: struggle, passion, and lots and lots of writing. And I was surrounded by others, people like me who, yes, had a story, but weren’t 100% sure if they were worthy of the stories they wanted to tell. They were fathers. They were fiancés. They were former biochemists and engineers and stand-up comedians and Wellesley graduates who decided to renounce practicality and tell their stories. And, like me, I think they might all have been terrified.
Since when did Vancouver become less terrifying? How does something like that happen?
Because now that the struggle is over (for now), it’s just occurred to me: I’m leaving Vancouver, and this time for good. And I don’t know if years from now I’ll remember everything the way I want to remember it. I don’t want to forget the small details that really matter: like the streets and the cobblestones and the people. And the magical porpoise that I swear I saw! I don’t want to forget that even before the magic things were once mucky. Because, then, when things continue to be mucky, I can at least tell myself that I’ve trudged through it before and find the magic again.
Dang. The Vietnamese guy just left. I should’ve flexed.