Leslie

Konichiwa

 

“I am, like, so jealous right now.”

“I know, right? I’m super excited.” My best friend, Ashley, and I march through the airport, a giant piece of luggage wheeling behind each of us.

“You have to call me everyday.”

“I will, don’t worry.”

“And you can’t forget about me just because you meet some ridiculously cute artist boy or something.”

“No way!” I say, affronted.

“Okay, good.” She seems satisfied.

A few moments of silence pass between us as we listen intently to the click, click of the wheels behind us. “So, I guess you and Brad are really over then.”

“Yep.”

“That easy, huh?”

“No, it wasn’t easy, but I told him I had to go. I asked him to come with me and he wouldn’t. I asked him to try long distance for awhile but he said he didn’t want to. What else could I have done?” I let out a strained sigh at the memory of the conversation.

“Well you’re better off without him then. There will be plenty of new people to meet and friends for you to make, trust me.” She looks at the floor as she says it.

I stop abruptly and grab her shoulder. “Ashley, you are my best friend in the whole world. My only best friend. It’s me and you, always. Got it?”

She flashes me one of her gigantic smiles and I know everything is going to be cool. “Got it.”

“Good. Now, let’s get these bags checked in so we can get a latte.”

Over coffee, we discuss a few very important issues. “So I’m thinking that if I’m going to be a famous artist I should change my name to something more…exotic.”

“Why?”

“I can’t be known as just ‘Leslie Harding’; how boring is that?”

“Okay, what were you thinking?”

“Alright, how about…” I pause for effect and spread my fingers apart on either side of my face for dramatic emphasis, “Mist…”

“Mist?” She repeats rather blandly.

“Yeah.”

“I don’t get it.”

“There’s nothing to get. It’s a name.”

“Umm…”

“Don’t you think it’s intriguing?”

“By intriguing do you mean weird?” Ashley takes another sip of her coffee, avoiding eye contact with me.

“Don’t you think people would want to buy amazing art from a woman named Mist?”

Ashley has that terse look on her face now; the one where it looks like she’s contemplating what I’ve just said but in fact she’s just thinking of a way to tell me I’m being weird. “Maybe you should just stick with Leslie for now and see how things go.”

“Okay…for now.”

“So where did you say your parents are?”

“Umm…the last time I was talking to them I think they were in Istanbul.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah, seriously.”

“So what did they think when you told them you were moving to Toronto?”

I recall the conversation I had with my mother weeks before. “She tried to convince me to move to Japan instead.” Ashley gives me a confused look. “Yeah, she said the culture was way more interesting and that I’d learn a lot.”

“Man…you’re parents are really messed up.”

“Tell me about it.” I agree.

My parents, the eternal adventurers, have been travelling the world for the last two years. When they decided that I was old enough to not actually need them around, they both retired, packed up their things and left. Just like that. I guess that’s what I get for having hippies for parents. I never minded them not being around but sometimes I can’t help but miss them when they’re not around for something like this. Sometimes my older brother, Lucas, flies up from the States for special occasions but lately he hasn’t been able to since he’s married and has a kid of his own.

“Okay, I better get going.”

Ashley sticks out her lip in a pout. “Okay, if you must.”

We say our goodbyes and I walk down the hall towards security. I turn back, waving and she yells after me, “Nova Scotia will miss you!!”

The End

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