It wasn't supposed to be like this. I wasn't supposed to end up here, waiting alone in a crowd of tourists at Toronto Pearson International Airport. Maybe I should have gone on that trip to Brazil with my sister Anna and her friends Lacy and Brandon. At least, if I'd gone with them none of this would have happened.
They're going to wonder where my boyfriend of two years is and worst of all, when they find out, they'll want to know why we're not together any more. For so long I tried to hide who I am in this façade of perfection where I could do no wrong and I was perpetually happy. But now I don't know what to do with this life that I am forced to live. I know it sounds melodramatic to be so contemplative over something that I've been living for the past twenty-one years, but if you were the leader in a group of perfectly crafted young adults then you would understand.
Now I, the once honoured and revered of all my friends, am just the weak self that I tried so hard to hide. And it all began with the breakup.
"I think we need a break," Jorge, my Cuban boyfriend, announces while eating breakfast. His curled black hair is swept back over his forehead by gel and his eyes are focused on the fork in his hand. He slept over in my cramped apartment; his shoes are strewn on the Welcome red mat in front of my door. "I just think that maybe we should start exploring other...possibilities."
I sit quietly, watching him shove a forkful of the scrambled eggs that I'd made him into his mouth. My mug, filled with boiling hot tea, is inches from my mouth and for a fleeting instant I imagine throwing it in his face, like the many clichés of the scorned lover. Instead I say, "Oh?"
He looks up at me, finally showing some sort of emotion. I can see the irritation on his face by the way his left eyebrow twitches and by the nervous tick of his mouth. "'Oh?' Really?" He drops the fork roughly on the plate and I calmly place the mug back down on the wooden table that I found in a thrift store the year before. "Jesus Danny, you're boyfriend tells you that he wants to see other people and all you say is 'Oh?'?"
I bite my lip, unable to discern whether I am actually mad or irritated by his sudden immaturity. "I agree that we need some time, before fully settling down with each other."
"Are you kidding me?"
"No." His mouth goes slack and he leans back in the creaky, purple chair. "You know I love you Jorge, and if this is what you need to be sure that you want to be with me too, then I can wait."
"I don't believe this..." he begins to mutter.
"I know you'll come back to me."
He wipes his face, then his hair, causing ripples of curls to come loose from the gel's strangle hold.
"Jorge," I say, catching his eye. "Listen to me, I understand where you're coming from, I do. But if this is all just a big fear of commitment, then think of how far we've gone together."
"You're ridiculous. This, this whole god-damn thing is ridiculous."
"I tell you that I want a break and instead of acting like a girlfriend whose heart is breaking, you act like this?" He looks angrily at me and in that instant I know. I know that this isn't a spur of the moment decision. That this is what he'd been planning all along and he expected me to grieve the loss of our relationship like one would grieve the loss of a spouse.
"I'm not going to cry for someone who doesn't even know what he wants in life," I spit out before containing my emotions. The next words out of my mouth come without my coaxing or without much thought. My controlled self appears to disconnect with my true nature; like my Superego and my ID. "You come here whenever you feel like it, you sleep with me then ignore me when I need to confide in you. You want a break? Fine. Take it."
We're silent for a few minutes that stretch on like the eternity one feels when recognition hits them.
"Fine," he says matter-of-factly. "We're done."
He gets up and walks towards my front door through the small kitchen. I hear him putting his shoes on, but I sit frozen, replaying the last ten minutes in my head. How did we get here from having such an amazing morning? His dark eyes squint in my memory when I recall me saying that I loved him last night.
Jorge slams the door shut and I jumped in my seat, surprised with the anger in this action.
So, this is where I am now left. Waiting for a group of friends who will look at me like a stranger when I tell them what happened. The crowd of tourists is now larger. They babble to each other over the din of the airport announcements and crying children. Someone behind me steps through the automatic doors, sending the busy sounds of blaring horns and shouting people into the constant noise of the airport. Various signs signal in bright red writing "Arrivals" and a few gate numbers appear beneath them. When I see the flash of the name Brazil I start forward, brushing past families holding balloons and flowers and past sugar-eating children.
Lacy steps through the gate first chatting away with Anna, her blond hair and baby-blues stand in contrast with her tan and her tall, modelish body stands almost above the head of the passengers behind her. Brandon is following closely behind. The bright pink of Lacy's bag stands out against the dull greens and blues of the passing suitcases. Anna's tan is incredible, her dark straight hair stands out almost angelically from the rest of her features. Brandon is as handsome as ever with his black hair and piercing green eyes. He stands tall behind the two girls, his trademark smirk appears on his lean face and I know that he is listening to their conversation.
"Danny!" Anna cries out first, nearly dropping her bag in the process of running towards me. She and I are close, despite our four year age gap. She's twenty-five and an aspiring screenwriter, though she's only really written one screenplay. She says that she will definitely get it made into a film this year, I believe her because she's more talented than she gives herself credit for. "I've missed you so much!"
I open my arms wide and she gives me a tight hug. Her frame is small in my arms, but I know she is strong so I hug her back just as tightly. She smells like lilacs and mango, which sounds like a weird combination, but she somehow makes it work. "How was the trip?" I ask when Anna and I dislodge from each other.
"Brilliant, you should have been there," Lucy comments, waving her hand simply at me.
"Oh yeah," Brandon rolls his eyes. "All the men and the whole nakedness thing."
"Nakedness?" I ask.
"Nude beach," Anna answers simply.
I nod my head, but keep walking, knowing that they are closely following behind. I'm not going to tell them about Jorge until we're at my place, where we're having the welcome back dinner.
I look back at them and smile. "You should see what I made, you're going to love it Anna."
That sets them off on a tangent about the food they ate in Brazil. I'm about to comment on something that they say when I suddenly walk against someone in front of me, my arm smacking their side roughly.
"Hey!" A male voice calls out as I regain my composure and rub my aching arm. "Watch where you're going!"
I'm about to reply when Brandon suddenly steps in front of me, blocking the stranger from my line of sight. The muscles on his broad back grow taut against his wife-beater as he reaches his arms back to protect me.
"Hey buddy, calm down, it was an accident," he says in a low voice.
I can hear a snicker before the stranger answers. "Easy big guy, your girl walked into me, hard. I can be a little annoyed, can't I?"
Before Brandon can answer, I gently move him out of the way. "He's right, it was my fault." I look up at a blond man in his late twenties or early thirties. His blue eyes are dark against his light hair and there are a few bags under his eyes. The worn leather jacket that he is wearing sends off the scent of expensive cologne, but his jeans and black ACDC shirt look so casual that anyone could mistake the expensive smell for a cheap replica. He looks oddly familiar, but I've learned that in Toronto everyone looks like somebody else.
The stranger's eyes move from my head down the length of my body and back up, before saying, "Right, I'm glad you see that," and without another word, he turns around and heads out the double, automatic doors. A small entourage follows closely behind him, asking him questions and writing things down in notebooks.
"That was so weird," Lucy suddenly says, "he looked so familiar."
"Yeah, well, he was a jerk," Brandon quickly adds in before heading out the doors.
Catching the taxi was easy, getting out of the busy terminal took a little bit more time. When we'd finally gotten on the highway, heading back down-town, twenty minutes had passed and the heat was nearly forgotten as we all chatted about our summers. I still couldn't tell them about Jorge, since this day was about them and not my love problems.
It took me a few seconds to finally pull my attention away from the conversation and notice that we were passing other cars on the road too quickly. The driver, a middle-aged Caucasian man, was sweating profusely and quietly swearing every time a car cut in front of him. Anna, who was sitting in the passenger seat, wasn't paying him any attention.
"Excuse me sir," I say aloud, cutting into the loud conversation going on around me. "Can you please slow down?"
"Slow down?" The driver's eyes flicker to me for an instant in the rear view mirror. "I'm sorry miss, but I've been driving for a long time. I'm just trying to get you to your destination as soon as possible."
"But we're not in a hurry," Anna adds in, finally noticing the driver's erratic driving.
"Don't worry, I've got this under--" just then the cab hits another car ahead of us and at the speed that we are travelling, the taxi easily flips over in the air before crashing to the asphalt, where it rolls about two times before I black out.
The police tells me that the car rolled a third time, but by then, two of us were already dead.