Wednesday, Oct. 01, 2014 @ 1:19 pm
The Whip. This place enters into so many of the stories of my life. It's a bar/restaurant/art gallery that is so very east side. It's across the street from our apartment, so close that even if it's raining, you don't need to bring a coat because it's a literal across-the-street dash. The waitresses are tattooed and interesting looking, so far from the standard resto-bar wait staff that you feel like you're in a wayside diner on Route 66. The art on the wall is affordable and often strange.
Ten years ago, when I worked in the lab in this neighbourhood, this was the typical Friday afternoon after-work beers location. It was my first taste of real local craft beer (not Gr@nville Isl@nd lol). It was where I met the girlfriend of the coworker that I was sleeping with. She'd flown in from Winnipeg, and I sat across the table with her, and I rode my bike home in the dark feeling equal parts drunk, nauseous, and hurt. I'd assumed that he was going to break up with her, which eventually he did, but at that moment my naivety became apparent.
When we moved into this neighbourhood, my heart ached with how thickly this place moves in my arteries. Daniel and I went there for dinner on the night that we moved into our new apartment. I looked at the bike rack that I had used so often, looked at the chairs in which I had sat and laughed and been teased and later had my heart broken. I walked inside and thought to myself, I loved you then; I still love you now.
On Sunday, we went there with a friend who was in town from the Island. I walk in and there sitting at the long table is Josh. I sit down and stare at him. Is that him? Yes, it's him. Is that him? Yes, it's him. I worked with Josh for a year and a half in a different lab that was located far away from here in the 'burbs. We worked Saturdays together, just the two of us, running the tests on the samples, listening to the CBC and getting everything done. We were a well-oiled machine. I always looked forward to working with him. When I left the lab, I saw him in the hallway, and the hug goodbye was so honest, so raw, that I felt too ashamed to ever email him.
I at my burger and stared at him some more. Building up the courage to just go for it. We get up to leave, and I walk straight towards him and smile. He turns towards me and smiles and gets out of his chair and hugs me. Bookend hugs; the end and the beginning. It's been somewhere around 9 years, hey? , I say. We should hang out, he replies.
All of these different threads of my life, weaving in and out of the Whip.