Fathom 2005



Inside Cover



Sara Squires (2)
Ann Leslie (2)
Jennifer Clarke
Patricia Murray
Kari Gunderson
Heather E. Thomson
B.D. Mitchell
Wesley Colbath
Brooke Gray
Christopher Misura
Robyn Goldsmith
Michael Kimber
Italian Stallion
Oghomwen Ehigie
B. C. Hackett
Deanna Foster
Jonathan Rotztain
Sarah Lofton


Jonathan Rotztain
Robyn Goldsmith
Sonjel Vreeland
Connor Robinson


Connor Robinson



The End of Something

She usually leaves after finals. Now, depending on exam schedules and snow days that could be anywhere from the first to the third week in December.

Off to Mom and Dad, gold section Maple Leafs tickets, snow-shoeing and cross country skiing in Muskoka, 45 minute drives to Finch subway station and yearly reunions with her friends from Camp Wanacanika.

You love her. You love living with her. You love the way she feels neglected on Sunday afternoons if you have been watching football too long. You even love all those clichéd domestic squabbles. Like when she calls The Smiths sad little British boy music and you call Ani DiFranco the soundtrack for granola /carpet munching. All those little things you can only know by living with someone, like in Good Will Hunting how Robin Williams knew his wife farted in her sleep.

Nonetheless, when she leaves for Christmas your one bedroom apartment is altered from that haven of blissfully domesticity to a conduit through which past versions of you appear.

The first thing you do to phase out of school and girlfriend mode is have the St. Pat’s boys over. Julie pretends she likes them, but Matt once used “pussy” in front of her and it has been downhill from there.

This year you have Ian, Matt and Tyrone over to watch one of those special December NFL games scheduled on a Thursday. They are little extravagances you don’t really deserve, like celebrating your half-birthday. Around this time you also get to act like a big man by buying your Christmas two-four of Keith’s, little does the pretty LC girl know it’ll carry you through New Years Eve.

By the fourth quarter the Patriots are up 24-6, and you are all feeling that four beer keyed up buzz, like the guitars in a Sam Roberts song. You’re all arguing whether Tom Brady is Hall of Fame worthy, whether it would be ethical to hit on Sean MacDonald’s little sister Piper, whether the name Piper MacDonald would or wouldn’t be perfect for porn and whether Matt tapes The Bachelorette every Monday night.

Ian’s also itching to go downtown and is making a passionate argument for the Palace.

“I mean we’re gonna end up there eventually.” “Why should we pay two covers?”

“You cheap fuck! It’s too early. I like to be drunk enough that I can’t be held responsible for showing up there” tolls Mark.

“I want to talk to some classy ladies first” says Tyrone.

You float the idea of going to the Marquee, which is bludgeoned to death by colourful comments about NSCAD girls and snobby bartenders.

Fifteen minutes later you are in a Casino Taxi heading to the Ale House, neighbour to the infamous Palace.

It’s around this time in the haze of six Keith’s and cab driver profanity that you let it slip.

“Do you guys still see Sarah?”

Tyrone laughs and with a big grin says,

“Dec... you shady fuck. He acts like he’s not shady, but he’s shadier than Matt. You’re just a lot better at being shady.”

“Say shady again Ty” mocks Ian. “I’m gonna get you one of those word of the day calendars for Christmas.”

Tyrone suddenly channels Farrakhan, “It’s not my fault the education system is racist. Keeping the brothers down. Look at Kirk Johnson”

Ian interrupts, “Yeah, Declan. I saw her at the Crow. She was asking about you too”


“Yeah, I told her you were applying to Grad school, playing intramural hockey with Pierre, but mostly we talked about how sick it was that you keep talking about hate jerking to Paris Hilton porn.”

The cab driver almost chokes on his smoke.

You just smile and nod,

“That’s very clever, very clever”

A couple hours later you are at the Palace and you’ve lost the guys, you’ve scanned both bars for Sarah without success. Around 3, you wonder home where you make nachos that you’ll find still in your microwave the next morning. You check your messages.

“Hi Declan, it’s Jules... I’m guessing you’re out with the football guys. Anyway, I’ve got a big surprise for you, but I want to tell you to your face, or I guess your voice. Anyway call me tomorrow.”

What a sexy voice! You contemplate masturbating, but figure you are too drunk to cum and fall asleep on the couch.

The next afternoon you call her back.

“I’m heading out to the mall with Kayla, but I have great news. My dad saw how much I miss you and bought you a ticket to come up for New Years Eve. I just paid for it on the computer, all you have to do is show up the 27th.”

“Fuck Julie!”

What follows is an argument you’ve had dozens of times in three years, about how she can’t just call up Daddy to bail you out whenever money is tight. She’ll respond that you’re obsessed with money. You’ll drop a good line about money only being a big deal for folks who don’t have it. She’ll sound sad, says things about how you haven’t even met some of her friends and how her folks are always asking about you, and want to get to know you better. She’ll even say she was planning to take you to a Leafs game. The combination is all too much to win an argument you were geographically pre-destined to lose, and that’s that, you’re a kept man.

Later in the week Matt calls and invites you to a party being thrown by Chelsea, the first girl to develop breasts in grade six, and Matt’s prom date. You’re sheepish about going to her party, held at her parents place, because you once threw up in their washing machine and her Dad has scared you ever since.

“I think I’ll go to Steve’s Christmas in the Shed tomorrow instead, I can’t drink two nights in a row anymore.”


“I’ll call you tomorrow, we’ll play tennis” Matt says.

This is an inside joke that for you has long symbolized how little time you now make for your high school friends.

“Meet you at the commons around 2” you say.

“Pussy” he says.

The next afternoon you do go over to Matt’s. It’s the afternoon before Steve’s Christmas in the Shed, thrown annually ever since drinking became a part of High School.

Steve’s parents were those parents, the ones who were only too eager to let underage kids drink in their house. But after an armoire was broken in Grade Ten Steve’s father set out to turn the Shed into a guesthouse, or rather a shed with plumbing and it became home to many a drunken high school fight.

Matt and you start playing X-box, though you’re just going through the motions, you haven’t won a video game since NHL ‘94.

“How was Chelsea’s?”

“Pretty good” Matt laughs, “I’m not sure how I got home though?”

After five minutes of going through the motions just to cover your urgency you drop the question you wanted to ask from the moment you mentioned the party.

“Sarah wasn’t there was she?”

“Yeah, she was there, she’s was drinking some crazy microbrew her brother made called Promiscuous Pumpkin. It had a mad graphic on the label with this slutty pumpkin.”

Matt pauses to feign modesty.

“Umm... what do you think it’d feel like to stick you dick in pumpkin guts?”

After you stop laughing you respond. “Probably pretty good.”

Later that night you’re at Steve’s, the Christmas tree is decorated with the usual dozen beer cans and the TV is showing Coach’s Corner. Again you remind yourself that you should go as Don Cherry next Halloween.

After about an hour or two you’re drunk. You’ve already talked to Chelsea about breaking up with her boyfriend, to Neil who accused you of ignoring him in the Mall last month and someone named Chad who claimed you played hockey together in Pee-Wee. So you find Matt and ask if Sarah said whether she was coming tonight.

“No man, I should have told you. She said she had to go to Pictou to visit her grandma. I think she’s in a home or something.”

You feel like you’ve just been kicked in the stomach.

The rest of the night you’re just going through the motions and realise that after tonight there is the imminent fog of Christmas with the family and the approaching flight on the 27th and that you won’t see Sarah this Christmas.

At 5 o’clock, after Steve’s, the Palace, a slice on Pizza Corner and a frigid walk home just to save the cab fare, you’re sitting at your computer trying to compose an e-mail..

Eventually you decide that everything you write sounds desperate or weird and that your fingers are not constructing the words you want. You only had her Dalhousie e-mail address anyway and she dropped out three years ago.

At the airport on the 27th you think about her again, and then board your plane.


last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul