The autumn here is one of those mutable, changeable things. It’s rather like your grade 2 (or any grade, really) teacher who was nice but who had a hair trigger and a handful of chalk. There’s nothing like taking a hunk of chalk in the head when all you’re trying to do is find out what’s going on at recess. Maybe this is why I’m not the sort of person who is good at planning things (always been more of a spur-of-the-moment person) because Mrs. B could hit a fly off the ceiling fan at thirty paces with a piece of chalk, and she wielded that power like a superhero whose mother has just been taken for ransom by people with one-syllable names which are usually used as nouns. Maybe I was conditioned against making concrete plans because every time I tried to discuss recess plans (what game we’d be playing, whose marbles were most vaunted, whether the girly girls would lower themselves to playing Red Rover, or whether they’d stick with hopskotch on the uneven sidewalk) I got dinged in the side of the head.
Anyway, that’s totally what autumn is like. Sometimes, it’s bearable. Sometimes, it’s very pretty. Sometimes, it even smells really good. But more often than not, it’s just kind of there, winging chalk at you from across the room and trying to get you to do long division.
So I decided that I should probably go to the God-forsaken damnable shopping mall. It’s one thing to send the kids to school with last year’s usable school supplies; it’s another thing entirely to claim that the shoes they wore last year for gym must have shrunk in the sun. Stupid feet. I don’t remember if I first saw the gorgeous, sexy, and wicked-smart Ms. A at the God-forsaken damnable shopping mall, or if I managed to literally run in to her.
You see, I don’t like crowds of people. I especially don’t like crowds of people I don’t know. God-forsaken damnable shopping malls are particularly awful. So are their first-cousins, effing big-box hell stores. So after I’d been at the God-forsaken damnable shopping mall, I really had to unwind, so I decided I’d take a long, relaxing walk in the park at Depot Division. (That’s the RCMP training barracks.) I think I must have met Ms. A at the mall, because I remember apologising to her for having to leave so soon, and she asked what my plans were, and I told her “to go for a long, long walk in the park at Depot Division”, and she said, “I’ve never been there!”, and I said, “you should come!”
So Ms. A and I wound up on winding trails that reminded me of the Kinsmen Park in Prince Albert, or that city’s graveyard on the hill; the trees were tall and deciduous, shedding their golden and yellow leaves on the pathways. Groundskeepers came by with mulching machines and blustry machines that cleared the leaves from the paths, because the baby Mounties need the paths clear for their joggery. Which gave me an idea. I started running. I haven’t run (unless something was chasing me) since sometime in grade nine when I realised how painful it had become, since the advent of ten pound breasts. But it felt great, and I had someone to talk to!
Later, as Ms. A and I sat on a small hill beside the path, laughing and talking about all manner of things, we leaned our heads together conspiratorially and began kissing each other. The leaves were surprisingly warm to lie down on, and the baby Mounties were surprisingly not interested in a) kicking us out of their park for trespassing, nor b) staring at us making out.
Much more happened later, after we’d left the park. But I’m not the sort to dream and kiss and do stuff and tell.