Do you remember the time
when we fell in love
do you remember the time
when we first met, girl?

I was surprised to hear this as I hopped in his car, out from the cold
January air.  Out of nowhere, the song had popped into my head
earlier that day and now here it was, playing out of O’s stereo. As O
called our friend to see where he was already, I sat back, listening to
the song and thinking about the first time O and I met…

******

We were at a car show back in April 2003 and after it was all over,
I needed a ride back
to my dorm at UBC. O was a fan of driving, and he offered to take me
back, even though he lived in Coquitlam (which is the complete other
side of the Lower Mainland, for all you non-Vancouverites out
there).  So I hopped in the car and off we went back home after a
long day.

It was pretty quiet at first. A bit from exhaustion. A bit because we
hadn’t really talked at the show, so it was awkward getting a ride from
a near stranger. Before he went back to my place, he asked if I minded
if we stopped by a nearby 7/11 first. Some of his friends just called
and wanted to pick up some stuff he borrowed. I didn’t mind, and we
even picked up some coffee there for a pick-me-up.

I guess the coffee got to both of us because afterwards we started
chatting. I told him how much I enjoyed going for rides at night to see
the city lights, something I used to do a lot before I go together with
my then-boyfriend. He told me he knew a place where you could get an
amazing view of the lights, even though it was a bit far away. If I
didn’t mind the drive and the late hour, he could take me there. It was
probably the sugar rush talking, but I suddenly found myself speeding
down Lions Gate towards West Vancouver. He took me to this wonderful
lookout, where you could get a clear view of downtown.

We talked for hours in his car, soft music playing. It was one of those
nights when you really really connect with a person. You open up about
your feelings: your hurts, your fears, your dreams, your hopes and your
failures. He told me about his recent break up: a girl who dumped him
and who he was still in love with. He showed me pictures of them
together. I told him about my own relationship, the frustrations I was
having. I told him about my estranged best friend and how we hadn’t
talked for three weeks (which would turn out to be almost a year).

We went to two other places that night too, star gazing and connecting
with each other. It was around 2am when I finally went back to my
place. I hugged O and thanked him for a wonderful night. Much better
than anything I had had lately.

******

Over the next two years, O and I would meet up a few times and always
we’d end up for a drive in his car to some nice quite place, and spend
the whole night talking to each other. There was a connection there,
which was easily picked up. It wasn’t romantic connection, but a
friendship. Like two old friends who have known each other for years.

The last time O and I had one of those night was last summer. We were
both meeting up with our friends for drinks at a place in Richmond.
Afterwards, we went for a ride in his new car around Stanley Park. O
was eager to show me this place he found, almost total darkness. It was
somewhere between Prospect Point and The Hollow Tree.

I asked O about his current girlfriend. The last time we talked on the
phone, he was telling me about his current girlfriend troubles, how he
wasn’t happy anymore. He asked me how I was doing: I had just been
dumped by a guy I was crazy about. I realize now that we found
ourselves in reversed situations from when we first met and talked.

There was something different in the air that night, a sadness. But it
wasn’t us feeling sorry for ourselves. It was more of a loneliness. I
touched him a few times on the arm. He touched me a few times back.
Nothing sexual. Rather, it was a need to physically touch another human
being, to know they’re real.

Around dawn when light was breaking and the darkness was dissolving, we
both fell silent, just taking in the conversation. Then, while looking
out into the foggy morning, he said to me that there were moments
tonight when he thought he’d like to kiss me. I didn’t turn to look at
him, instead choosing to continue gazing out at the sky as well. I told
him I felt those moments too.

…And we let it pass.

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