Get out of TownMature

Travis Bidwell’s recent move to Toronto was simply a matter of physics. Proximity to people after all was more likely to facilitate connection than the wide open prairie. The closest town to Travis’s 640 acre grain farm was Kindersley, Saskatchewan (population 4,412 on a market day). Social life in town consisted of occasional eight ball pool games at the pub, where he also spent lifeless evenings with other lonely grain farmers complaining about weather and counting cigarette burns in Terri towel table covers.

Community wide events usually involved families eating turkey sandwiches and potato salad at United Church picnics. He could not attend community gatherings in his last year because he was an outcaste. Yes an outcaste.

His 10 year marriage to Ramona Wallace ended in disgrace. Ramona’s niece who was  unabashedly looking for a partner online spread the word that she discovered Travis’s profile on the very same dating site she was using. Travis found himself in the crossfire of a grassfire that ripped through Kindersley. His plea to Ramona, “I was just curious about how people find each other on these site.” It was hopeless, his marriage was over and so was life as a farmer.

Ramona and her extended ministerial family clung together like seeds on a stalk of wheat and Travis became invisible like the ceaseless wind. His own family disowned him out of small town self-preservation.

Women in town thought he was a jerk and the men just thought he was stupid for getting caught. Simple things like buying groceries and parts for farm machinery became unbearable, so there really wasn’t any option but to sell the farm and move. He headed for the big city.

The out of court settlement with Ramona meant he had enough money to buy a small condo near Queen Street in Toronto, where there was enough activity and enough anonymity to settle his self-conscious paranoia.

In his new life, Travis imagined himself surrounded by friends engaged in charged conversation, contributing to the development of social movements that would change the course of human evolution. He thought he could be deeply involved with enough people he knew so well that they would stop over at his place unannounced. Meaningful conversations about literature and politics would develop while drinking bottle after bottle of red wine. He imagined this yet the only thing he read was the Toronto Sun where he checked sports and the entertainment sections.
The facts were that he had trouble saying hello to people he rode the elevator with in apartment building.

The End

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