Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Loyal No More

She loved him more than anything in the world, but sometimes she had a hard time showing it.  Sometimes she would appear difficult, but it was only her concern that drove her to be this way.  She was insecure and wanted reassurance that she was the only one he would ever care for and love in his life.  He would never come out and say it, but he did.  He was always loyal to her. Until one day when he had enough.

It was a day like any other. They spent their day separate from each other and met up at the movie theatre. This theatre was different from most that she had gone to.  It looked ultra modern with its white, polished surfaces and bright red leather couches.  They had a bar setup in the back of the theatre and a restaurant that would serve you dinner as you watched the show.  It was a new kind of luxury product on the market, so to speak.

She arrived with her family and she headed in ahead of them to save everyone spots.  It was hard since she was one person, trying to save spots for five people. As the theatre began to fill and her family was taking their time to show up, people started taking the spots she was saving.  Shortly after she was able to ward off several people, an events manager came up to her telling her she couldn’t save spots for people as this event was so fully booked that it wasn’t fair to people who showed up early if someone was saving spots for people who didn’t even bother to show up on time.  Reluctantly, she relinquished the seats, hoping her family would understand and be able to find their own spots elsewhere in the theatre.  She saved one spot for him.

Her mom came in and sat down next to her.

“Mom…I’m trying to save this spot for Declan,” said Grace awkwardly.

“Oh, I’m sorry, honey,” returned her mom, standing up.

“No, it’s-it’s fine. Um, you can have this spot and uh, dad can take mine.  I’ll find another spot when he gets here,” said Grace, shaking her head.

“Are you sure? I mean, I could go find a different spot since we need to save a spot for your sister too,” said her mom.

“Nah, it’s fine,” said her sister walking in, “I found some friends.  I’ll go sit with them, but guess who I found?”

Her sister stepped aside to reveal Declan with his arm around another girl.

In a word, she was gorgeous.  The type of gorgeous that would make you stop in the middle of traffic, the type of beauty that could get you in trouble.  She looked like she always got what she wanted and pursued what didn’t fall right into her lap.  She was smart. She was cunning.  In short, she was dangerous and Grace could see that.

“Um…excuse me, who are you?” asked Grace standing, feeling immediately threatened.

Her sister took one look at her face and knew she had to get the hell out of there.

“I’m Ashley, who are you?” said the other girl, looking Grace up and down.

“His girlfriend,” snapped Grace, “DECLAN! How could you? Who is this?!”

“Grace, relax, it’s nothing,” shrugged Declan in the casual way he often did when speaking to her, dropping his arm to his side, “She’s just a friend, that’s all.”

“Yeah, let’s go find our seats,” said Ashley taking his hand.

“Excuse me?” said Grace, blocking their way.

“Wha-” started Ashley, looking as though she  was about to protest.

“Ashley,” said Declan sharply, cutting her off.

Ashley looked from Declan to Grace and back, bewildered.

“Seriously? You’re not even allowed to sit with your friends?” asked Ashley incredulous, trying to hold back her anger.

“Drop it,” said Declan, not taking his eyes off Ashley,”Grace, go find a spot for us, I’ll go get us some refreshments.”

Grace nodded and headed up towards the left side of the theatre to find a spot along the wall.  As she settled into her bar stool, Declan returned with a plate of pasta and a basket of chips

“Sorry I couldn’t find better spots facing the screen,” apologized Grace, “I guess we’ll have to just turn the bar stools so we can see the screen, are you ok with that? I mean my back will be to you…”

Declan gave her a reassuring smile, “It’s fine, I brought you your favourite, orecchiette in an arrabbiata sauce.  Did you want a drink?”

“A Strawberry Daiquiri?” said Grace.

“Sure, I’ll be right back hun,” smiled Declan.

From across the theatre, Ashley watched Declan go to the bar.  She dropped her jacket on her seat and sprinted up to the bar.

“Hi, a sex on the beach,” said Ashley to the bartender.

“Comin’ right up,” returned the bartender, flashing her a smile.

“Hello stranger,” said Ashley sidling up to him.

“Ashley, don’t.” said Declan quietly, shooting a glance at Grace.

Her back was turned to him as she enjoyed her pasta.

“What? I thought you said you two were done,” said Ashley.

“I haven’t exactly broken up with her yet,” he said.

“So?” smirked Ashley, “We all know that you’re gonna, so I don’t see what the difference is if she finds out from me rather than you.”

“Ash, seriously, can we not do this here and now?” said Declan.

“Why is this bothering you so much?” asked Ashley.

“Cuz her parents are right there,” he said, “And I don’t want them to you know…kill me?”

Ashley laughed, “Alright, I’ll keep my distance, but just for tonight alright babe? You gotta break it off with her.”

“What if I don’t?” he asked, looking at Grace again.

“What would make you want to stay with her? You said it yourself, you said she was a psycho. You said she’s over emotional and cries over the smallest things,” said Ashley accusingly.

“She wants kids,” thought Declan, “Not like you. You have no love for children. You’re nothing more than a fling. I don’t and never will see this going anywhere farther than sex.”

Declan shook his head, picked up the drinks and headed back to his seat.

“Here, sorry it took so long, the bartender is swamped back there,” apologized Declan, setting the drink down and sliding it towards Grace.

Grace nodded, “Thanks hun.”

***

“Declan…can I…talk to you about something?” asked Grace cautiously.

“Something wrong?” asked Declan, cosying up to her.

“Who’s Ashley?” asked Grace.

“She’s just a friend,” said Declan, “Like I told you last night.”

“I know, but like how did you guys meet?” asked Grace.

“She was a childhood friend.  Grew up with her.  She was a neighbour’s kid,” said Declan.

“The one you had a crush on when you were a kid?” asked Grace.

“Yeah…” said Declan awkwardly.

“I’m gonna ask you just once, is there anything going on?” asked Grace.

“No,” said Declan immediately, “What would make you say that?”

“Well, I mean, I’m not pretty or anything. I’m always so insecure. According to you and everyone, I cry too much,” listed Grace, the tell-tale tears welling up in her eyes.

“Oh, hun, there’s nothing to worry about,” said Declan holding her close.

“Liar,” she thought.

She nodded and climbed out of bed.

“Where are you going?” asked Declan, sitting up.

“I…I just need some fresh air.  I’ll talk to you later,” said Grace walking out, feeling numb.

***

Grace drove herself down to the Glenmore Reservoir, sitting at the water’s edge watching the sunset, replaying the conversation she had with Declan, replaying the confrontation with Ashley, rereading the texts from an unknown number telling her about the affair.  From what she could see, logically she had two choices: to walk away from this or to try to make things work with him.  Her over dramatic mind gave her one more option, she could die.

Once the sun had set, she walked back to her car and drove home.  As she drove she steeled herself, prepared her mind for what she was about to do.^ (see below for ending three)

“Hey hun, everything ok?” asked Declan, picking up the phone.

“Yeah, it’s fine.  Do you think you could meet me at Chapters in Crowfoot?” she asked.

“You mean at the Starbucks?” asked Declan.

“Yeah,” said Grace.

“What’s this about?” asked Declan.

“I think this is a better conversation to have in person,” said Grace.

You could hear the pain her voice as she said it and the pain in Declan’s reply.

“Sure, I’ll see you in ten?” said Declan.

“See you,” said Grace, hanging up.

Shortly after, she pulled into the parking lot and headed inside to the bookstore.  She got herself a Grande Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher. She was a sentimental sort.  This was the drink she had had on their very first date here. He arrived shortly after, ordering Starbucks Refresher Strawberry Lemonade.

“Grace, please tell me what’s going on?” asked Declan sitting down.

“Declan…I don’t think this is working out…” started Grace.

“What do you mean?” asked Declan.

Grace pulled out her phone and pushed the messages towards him, “I know you’re cheating on me.”

ENDING 1:
Declan’s face fell, “Grace…I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt you.”

“I gave you a chance to tell me why.  To explain to me why you would do that to me,” said Grace, trying to hold back the tears that were fighting to break through the surface, “But you chose to lie to me.”

“Grace-” started Declan.

“No, let me finish. Declan, I’ve always imagined a life with you.  Getting married, having children, growing old, but your choice has taken that away.  I loved…no I still love you, but I can’t live with someone who would lie to me about something like this.  I trusted you and I thought you were better than this.  I know I’m not the easiest person to love, but you know that I would work hard to make things work,” started Grace, “Your one decision to do this has destroyed everything we’ve built together. We’re done.  I’m sorry.  Good bye.”

She stood, turning to hide her tears that had now spilled over when Declan caught her arm.

“Can I say something before you go?” asked Declan.

Grace nodded; he deserved a chance to explain himself.

“I love you.  I’ll never stop loving you.  I know I slipped up and I regret it, but I know that will never get you back and I’m sorry,” said Declan.

She nodded again and walked away.

Declan sat there for a while longer and called Ashley.

“Hey babe,” answered Ashley.

“How dare you!” said Declan angrily.

“What?” asked Ashley confused.

“You texted Grace even after I told you to leave her alone,” said Declan.

Ashley made to protest, but Declan cut her off, “We’re done. I don’t ever want to see or hear from you again.  Get out of my life!”

“Deck…please,” said Ashley tearfully.

“I told you this was a mistake.  I begged you to leave me alone, but you clearly couldn’t stay away could you?  You just had to have me,” continued Declan, “Well I hope you’re happy because I lost the best thing that has happened to me.  I lost the ONLY person I ever loved because of you.  So fuck off and I swear to God, if you ever try to contact me, I will make sure you don’t see the light of day ever again. Am I clear?”

He hung up without waiting for a response.

ENDING 2:
Declan looked at her blankly, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Grace looked at him puzzled, pulling the phone towards her rereading the texts, “What do you mean?”

“Like I told you, Ashley was just a friend.  Yes, I used have feeling for her, but that was maybe ten, twelve years ago,” said Declan, “Look, she contacted me and asked me about starting up a relationship with her, but I told her I wasn’t interested.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t having any of it.  She somehow figured out that we’d be at the theatre that night and went there pretending not to know I would be there.  And you know that I hug people rather than handshakes, so when I hugged her she just wouldn’t let go, so I left my arm around her.”

“And you’re sure you’ve never had anything with her,” confirmed Grace.

“Years ago, before we started dating,” sighed Declan, “Yes, I had a one night stand with her.”

Grace nodded, “I trust you.  Thank you for being forward with me.”

Declan smiled, “Now come here.”

Grace returned his smiled and hopped on his lap.

“Can I see that message again?” asked Declan.

“Why?” asked Grace.

“I just wanted to double check that number; I think that might be Ashley’s number,” said Declan, “And I want to make it clear to her that she’s to leave us alone.  I promise that I will never hurt you and I will never let anyone else hurt you either.”

Grace handed him the phone and he compared the number of the unknown messager to the number on his phone, confirming it was hers. He called Ashley, putting her on speaker phone so Grace could listen in.

“Hey babe,” answered Ashley.

“Ashley, I told you that I wasn’t interested in a relationship, I told you not to make up lies about us to try and break up my relationship with Grace, and you’ve completely disregard all my requests,” said Declan angrily.

“What?” asked Ashley confused.

“You texted Grace even after I told you to leave her alone,” said Declan.

Ashley made to protest, but Declan cut her off, “I love Grace.  Can’t you see that?  What we had was gone years ago.  I intend to stay with Grace, to love her until the end of my days. I don’t love you, I never have, Ash.  Why is that so hard to understand?”

“Deck…please,” said Ashley tearfully.

“I told you that was a mistake.  I had just broken up with Charlotte and was looking for the comfort of a friend and you took advantage of me.  When I found Grace, I begged you to leave me alone, but you clearly couldn’t stay away could you?  You just had to have me,” continued Declan, “Don’t try to contact me again.  We’re done.”

“Deck, can’t we please talk about it?” begged Ashley.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” stated Declan plainly.

“How can you say there was nothing between us?  Did you honestly feel nothing?” asked Ashley.

“Nothing,” confirmed Declan.

Ashley broke down in tears, hanging up the phone.

Grace looked at Declan and smiled.  For once, she was glad she was wrong.

ENDING 3:

She drove across the grass, maneuvering around the blockades that would normally prevent people from driving on to the walking trails, heading straight for the spot she had been sitting, watching the sunset. In her mind this was the only solution. He was going to leave her; she just knew it. The world was better without her anyways. She was certain that no one would miss her. Her car bumped along; it was not made for off-roading. As her car plunged into the water she sent one final text: goodbye. Slowly, she lowered her windows. The water flooded in. She closed her eyes as the car began to fill. She did not go peacefully. Her body struggled and fought, but in the end, it was futile. She was gone.

 

Location: 220 St Georges Dr NE

A visit to the new science centre is something I’ve been putting off partly because of what I had heard about it.  The most resonant criticism about the Telus Spark was that it wasn’t as good as the old one.  Today, I was on a mission to find out for myself.

We arrived at 12:50 pm, purchasing the tickets for admission to the science centre and to a show at the dome theatre.  We started on the first floor and explored the exhibits they had there first.  As the cashier at the desk told us, everything was very hands on.  There were no instructions to tell us how to go about doing things and there wasn’t too much in terms of informational bulletins either.  In a way, this was good.  Like the cashier said, there are multiple solutions to a problem and trying to figure it out for yourself is half the fun.  We finished looking around the exhibition hall at around 1:20 pm and headed upstairs to continue looking at the exhibits up there.  The first half was about the human body: puberty, the brain, reaction time, and so on.  The second half was focused on animation.  We took our time with the first half, but had to rush through the second half to make our show at the dome theatre.

I love astronomy so we went to the show “Our Solar System with a Spotlight on the Sun,” a suggestion made by the cashier because of my interest.  This show was presented in the form of a story, which is an interesting take and an obvious attempt to open astronomy up to a wider audience, but unfortunately I didn’t really learn much as promised and well Brae almost fell asleep.  Heck, I nearly fell asleep myself.  On the one hand, I would say that it would have been a very informative show had I not taken two university level courses on astronomy, one of which focused on our solar system.  On the other, I would have to agree with Brae and say that it was really kind of boring.  It was awe inspiring at first to watch the stars fill the screen, but after a while it just wasn’t.  It didn’t help that the reclining seats were obstructed by the concrete step behind us (that was where the next row of seats were).

After the show, we went back through the exhibition hall to see/do the exhibits that we missed because there were too many children running around for us to be able to try.  After we looked around, we headed outside to check out the outdoor park, which was somewhat of an exhibit itself.  I liked that even in play, there is a chance to educate and show the science behind the importance of play.

People were right, this new science centre is not as good as the old one.  Sure there are improvements to it that I would have said would be good to incorporate into the old science centre, but to move to this completely new model, I think, was a mistake.  This place would be perfect for three or four year olds who are curious about the workings of the world, but any older, I’d say they wouldn’t have too much interest.  Maybe I’m overestimating the intellectual capacity of children, but I’d like to think not. I probably won’t be returning here unless I have children of my own one day.

Location: 2430 Crowchild Trail NW
Website: http://nickssteakandpizza.com/

After a mixed feeling kind of day, we finally got to try out Nick’s.  Brae had been planning on bringing me here when we just first started dating. Tonight we finally got that chance.  The restaurant wasn’t dead, but it wasn’t super busy either, but it was a Tuesday, so I didn’t expect it to be too busy anyways.

We were promptly seated in what I assumed to be the bar/lounge area and given just enough time to peruse the menu.  I had already looked at the menu before, but still didn’t exactly know what I wanted.  I know Brae wanted me to try the pizza since that was once of the things they were known for, but wanted to try their steaks, which is the other thing they specialize in (I mean, duh, look at their name).  After looking at the prices, I decided I’d stick to a pizza this time and come back another time to try some other items on their menu because a lot of it sounded really good.  Me being me wanted to order an appetizer and guess what, we ordered the calamari.  As most of you will know by now, this is my go to appetizer.

Like the kind of day I had been having, I had a mixed opinion about the calamari.  Having had so many varieties of calamari, I’d have to say that the batter could have been lighter.  At first, it isn’t so bad, but after about half or more of it, it starts to feel very greasy and heavy.  There are two solutions for that: sharing that with more people or make a lighter batter.  However, the tzatziki is one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s not the kind that has an overbearing amount of garlic, but just the right amount for me (I do love my garlic, but I know that sometimes the quantity that I like is often too much).  The pizzas followed shortly after we finished the calamari.

Brae got his favourite: Hawaiian and I tried the Sweet Chili Chicken. I was torn between the Sweet Chili Chicken and Chicken Carbonara, but Brae helped me choose.  I think that was a great choice because it satisfied all the tastes one craves for and chicken carbonara has the potential to be very heavy and rich.  The first thing that struck me was the stringy mozzarella cheese. Mozzarella is one of my favourite cheeses simply because of how well it melts and the slightly chewy texture it has after it’s been melted.  The pizza was simply blanketed in cheese.  Now, some may say that that is too much cheese, but for me, there’s no such thing.  In fact, when our waitress offered us some parmesan, I jumped at the chance to have more melty cheese on my pizza. While it was annoying that the pizza toppings kept slipping off the pizza while it was hot, it tasted so much better that way.  The crust itself tasted almost buttery.  It’s one of the better pizzas I’ve had, but the thickness of the crust and the doughiness are somewhat off-putting.

This is one of Brae’s favourite restaurants and I can see why.  I like this restaurant, it’s good for a casual night out and I would agree to come back here, especially since I would love to try some of the other items on their menu, but would I say this is the kind of restaurant I would choose if given a choice? No.  Restaurants like this aren’t usually in my wheelhouse, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy them when I do go.  It’s homey and the servers are friendly enough.  Besides, it’s one of Brae’s favourites so I can definitely see myself coming back here in the future for sure.  I would rate this place 3.75/5.

nick's 2

Calamari

nick's 3

Hawaiian Pizza (Brae’s)

nick's 4

Sweet Chili Chicken (Mine)

Location: 11670 Sarcee Trail NW

We’ve passed this restaurant on many occasions when going to other businesses in the Beacon Hill area.  Each time, Brae and I have remarked that we should try this place out, but, of course, once it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.  For a picky eater, this place is ideal.  After all, there is complete control over every aspect of your dish; it is the ultimate customization of your meal.  For those who are unfamiliar with Mongolian BBQs or grills, you are, in essence, given a bowl and told to fill it up with whatever you want.  The charge varies by restaurant, but the charge is almost always based on weight.

The general rule with restaurants like these is not to choose foods that have a lot of water weight because when the cook, a lot of it is lost and you’re left with a sad, half full plate of food.  This place is different and possibly better than others as it comes with wraps and rice so you don’t have to include a carb element in your dish which removes some of the “extra” weight.

At this restaurant, the food is arranged in several “stations.” While there is no proper way of going through the “stations,” Brae suggested we start at the vegetable station and move from there.  In a way that makes the most sense because once you’ve loaded up on all your food then you would know how much sauce you need.  I got water chestnuts, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and white mushrooms from the veggie station, while Brae only got pineapple. There was a small section with noodles (two trays) following the veggies: Shanghai noodles and rice noodles.  Brae grabbed some rice noodles. Next we moved on to the meat and seafood station.  I got squid, prawns, chicken, and beef and Brae got beef, chicken, pork, imitation crab meat, salmon, shrimp, and scallops. The last station is the sauce station.  They have such a variety that I was tempted to mix and match, but I knew that the flavour wouldn’t turn out well if I were to do that. I ultimately settled on a coconut curry sauce. Brae, of course, went straight for the teriyaki sauce, as per usual.

Our items were promptly weighed and we were given slips with the prices on them.  Mine came to almost $20 and Brae’s was about $18.  Given that the restaurant was practically empty when we go there, I’d say service was pretty fast.  When mine came, it looked complete void of sauce even though I had put in a lot (that’s probably what made mine heavier than Brae’s).  I could barely taste the sauce. It was as though it had completely evaporated as coconut curry sauce so often does when cooked unless a large quantity is used. The only other issue I had was that the beef was kinda tough. Or some pieces were and I nearly choked on one. Even Brae’s teriyaki sauce wasn’t as prominent as it normally is, but luckily, as Brae said, they will give you extra sauce on the side if you need it. And in my case, I poured the entire tea cup of it onto my dish in order for it to be enough. I would also recommend that you add salt to the dish before it is cooked because there’s nothing in there really that would give it that salinity.  The food at the stations are just that. The raw, unaltered, unseasoned state that you’d expect.  While the sauces are meant to season, most of them appear too weak and diluted to do much. But I suppose, as in my case, I would normally recommend tasting before adding more salt to the dish and they do have salt at the table if you find that you need some salt after the fact.

While the rice is just rice, I was glad that they included it in the meal as part of the overall price. The wrap on the other hand tasted raw to me and reminded me of spring roll wrappers before they have been deep fried, which made me want to go deep fry them and eat them like that.

While it was good, I’m not sure it is good enough for me to want to return.  I feel as though Open Sesame offered a better selection of items and tasted more polished, if you will. The service on the other hand was pretty good.  The waitress, who I think was also the hostess, checked in at the perfect times.  Based on my overall experience today I’d give it a 2.75/5, but, of course, I’d be willing to give the place another chance some day down the road.  Especially since I’ve never seen Brae eat his food so fast in my life. He clearly enjoyed it and seeing him that happy over food makes me happy.

xan panorama

Restaurant Interior

xan 1 -my food

My Stir-fry

xan 2 -brae's food

Brae’s Stir-fry

xan rice 2

Look at the cute bowl with a cover that the rice comes in. It even has a place for the spoon’s handle to come out of

xan rice

Rice

xan wraps

Wraps

Some people have good days sprinkled with a few bad eggs
For her she had bad days brightened up by a lucky few days

Her life began in sunshine
Brightened by his presence
By his love
But as time went on
Things became routine
And they both became too comfortable in their lives

His love came automatically
He no longer provided the gestures of courtship
He had already won the prize
Why would he continue to fight for what he already owned?

From that day on
She began to wither
And the beauty marred by the thorns were all he could see
He couldn’t see that it was he
Draining her life from her
He couldn’t see that her eyes were empty and dead
He couldn’t see that she had become a husk of her former self

He could no longer bring himself to love her anymore
He began to blame her for his misfortunes
And so she continued to die
To wish for an end as swift as the rose plucked
For she could not help but think about what she’d become
For who could love a beast?

Let poetry flow through your veins once more
It is the root of all that lies within your mind
Free it and it will thank you

Unleash the passion you have always known within your heart
Embrace the unknown
And explode with the power the words have given you

What cannot be capture in prose
Will always come naturally in poetry

Poetry flows and ebbs
Like the current of life

I will always live to breathe poetry
For I know it is the song my heart longs to sing
And what better way than this

Be brave for me
So that when I look into your eyes I don’t know what fear is
Be brave for me
So I can walk through life with my head held high

You are the light of my life
You are something so rare
So precious
I never want to lose you

I love you for who you are
But I love you more for who we’ve become
Together

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