Blame it on the Wind Chill

Chapter 12

There are those days in life when everything appears to be going your way, it shocks your jaded, pessimistic world because you’re just waiting for that final destination: a single concrete cinder block shattering your skull as it rains down from a mysterious blip in the sky because Russian chemists are getting restless again. But however you wait, however alert and mentally prepared you are for the extreme dodgeball experience of your life, it doesn’t come.

There are hockey games like that, too. The once-in-a-career fairy tale where for some reason you take on the big enforcer, to which the vets shake a disapproving head, yet don’t get beaten completely to a bloody pulp on the ice. You then score a buzzer beating Eberle, the potentially game-saving goal. (I say potentially because your opponent may be a superstar keener from the Maritimes—in which case, no such luck.) And just when you think it’d be a crime if things got any better, you make a beautiful stretch pass to your mate out front, who puts it away for good, giving him the TSN highlight reel, you the Gordie Howe, Pierre McGuire the orgasmic explosion, and most importantly, your team the victory.

It’s as if God took his better-than-Midas-touch, pointed at you, and shot beams of his golden rays. Like you’re living life on Mario’s magic unhallucinogenic mushrooms, and with each step you’re walking into a pool of sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows and so forth and so on. Like no matter how many thousands of ways to die we face, you’re untouchable for another day.

Those days are one in a million.

Those days are magical. More so than discovering the patterns in Pascal’s Triangle.

Most days are different, though.

She jams the key into the ignition forcefully again. “Today is just not my friggin’ day!” I try a half sympathetic, half mocking tear gesture, only to be met by her impatient growl. “Don’t,” she warns menacingly, eyes glaring, which only makes it harder for me to hold down the laughter tickling in my throat. “Goddamnit!”

“Hey, the day’s still young,” I attempt with a positive reinforcement. “Want me to sing a sad song just to turn it around?”

Ignoring my sarcasm, she rips open the door with shocking force, only possible if her body was hijacked by Iron Man or someone of his calibre. I follow suit, jumping out of the passenger seat. “Calm down,” I coax, smiling because I can’t help it. Her frustration is amusingly endearing, although I’m guessing my personal patronizing thoughts would not go so well if shared. “Have a break.” I plant my ass down firmly on the hood of the rusty beige beauty, which wobbles discouragingly. “Have a kitkat.”

Judging by the humourless expression on her face, there’s no doubt that my second feeble attempt at wit nosedived faster than the aircraft in the beginning of LOST. “Fuck off.” She waves me away with the back of her hand.

“Alright, alright. The things I do for you, Rebecca.”

The pitch black darkness outside would contradict the fact that most people probably haven’t even had dinner yet. Curse the winter solstice. It’s a pretty quiet neighbourhood, I digress. No loud parties at this hour—no sounds, really, save for the wind hitting the trees and the barely audible evening news coming from another neighbour’s lit window. I like quiet. Sometimes. I could use more quiet, that’s for sure.

“This…should…do…the…UGH…trick,” she grumbles, hefting up the hood Megan-Fox-in-Transformers-style and peering inside. I watch her manhandle the parts in a rackety fashion—there goes the quiet—while cussing profusely. Like that sort of nasty language is going to awaken the beast, I shake my head in her desperate struggle to ignite her glitchy ride.

“This working for ya?” Clang.

“Don’t ever judge me, Fowler.” Thump.

“Let’s be serious, man. You need to call Pimp My Ride ASAP.” She chooses to ignore this, which I’m beginning to have a problem with, and is honestly pretty juvenile of her in the early stages of this game. This weird cat-and-mouse, on-off flirtation going on between us all day. I just hope I’m the cat. I like cats. Expecially those on YouTube.

She bends over a little more and suddenly I wonder what the rush is anyway. As far as I’m concerned, she can take her sweet old time. To complain in this situation would be a heinous crime. And I’m not ready to join Mike Ribeiro on the NHL’s dark and shameful wrap sheet. She lets out another of a series of frustrated grunts and places both hands on the vehicle, head tilt back. “Why are you not cooperating?” she squeaks, and it makes me feel bad almost, that I don’t know mechanic rage. Not that she’d let me help her because she’s stubborn as a mule.

“Try speaking to something with a soul.”

“Not you,” she bites back. “For fuck’s sake!” She gives the already weathered bumper a last aggravated kick. I’m literally two seconds away from pulling out my phone and dialing Crime Stoppers for car abuse. However, in an instant the old beast seems to breathe new life, whizzing and whirring like a well-oiled gizmo. Fine, so it coughs and sputters like an old chain smoker, but the engine starts and that is good enough for the pair of us.

“Better?” I grin playfully, giving her a jab in the ribs.

“Much,” she deadpans monotonously and purposely bumps into my shoulder crossing to the other side.

We get back into the car, which has conveniently warmed up anyway. To a certain degree, celcius. Getting back to my half finished contour sketch of Turtwig on the passenger window, I joke, “Is that how you approach all your problems in life? A good nutshot?”

“Well,” she considers briefly while sliding into her own worn, yet comfy seat and turning to look at me square in the face. “Only the ones that begin with C.”

I laugh. “I know what you’re trying to imply. But I’m going to let that go, since you know, we’re friends now.”

“What? Since when are we friends?” she snaps, accompanied by an incredulous frown.

“I’m riding in your car, Becky.”

“Riding in Cars with Boys is the story of my life. I didn’t have a choice, Cam.”

“You hopped in my bed; that was voluntary. We were bonding. I felt it.”

“I was bored and temporarily amused by the way you moan Ryan Getzlaf’s name in your sleep, that’s what I felt,” she argues.

“I did not do that.” I scoff, defensively. At least I hope not. I look her dead in the eye and I feel a spark, a sense of a challenge. “Fine.” I release the seatbelt, allowing me to get out of its precautionary chokehold. In the very limited amount of space I have I manage to contort the best I can into something resembling a kneeling position. I think she figures out what I’m about to do because she jumps back, only to hit the door, thus, displaying her first minor act of clumsiness. Welcome to the club. She deserves a sticker.

“You’re cracked, Fowler.” She rolls her eyes and laughs loudly in the midst of reaching for a Jay cap sitting on the dashboard beside bobble-head Brian Burke. “You really are.”

“I get that a lot.” I snatch the hat she tries to use to block her face and toss it in the back. I’m doing this. I know I can. I think I can. No going back now at any rate.

“Rebecca. I realize we’ve only met, yet I feel like I’ve known you for a long, long time,” I declare, going into a bad psuedo-dramatic monologue. The expression on her face reads something in the range of I’m amused and This is ridiculous. “Will you befriend me?” I choke out in between sobs with that stupid sappy look on my face.

She rolls her eyes and punches me in the other formerly unbruised shoulder. “Come on! Do you know what time it is?”

The time reads 6:15. “Perfect time to be friends.”

“Okay. What’s in it for me?” She purses her lips, arms crossed.

What does she expect, a pat on the back and a Congratulations balloon with the works? “A diligent pal. With benefits, if you want,” I add in, hopefully. “So what do you say?”

It’s still so cold I can see her breath in clouds. She sighs and blows a ring of smoke the way classy people do in black and white movies. I sense this as a sign of caving. “Well, this is probably a huge mistake and I can see myself really regretting this, but—” she huffs and puffs and tries to blow the smile of my face, “if it gives you the benefit of the doubt, then I suppose, yes.” She scrunches up her face. “But without the benefits.”

Yes, I mouth to myself. “Why don’t I leave those up in the air? Use at your own discretion.”

She blinks. “Do you want to be friends or not?”

“Yes ma’am.” We shake on it, Fresh Prince style and all at, and when my eyes meet hers there’s a mischievous twinkle waiting. Without breaking gaze, “We should probably get moving,” I say at last.

She, without so much as a flinch, responds automatedly, “That’s what she said,” winking in a way that makes all my thoughts go blank.

I realize I’ve got it bad.

But yet again, I blame it on the freezing night.
♠ ♠ ♠
I know..I'm awful. But at this point I do fully intend on finishing this monstrous novel of a story.