The Only Detail that Matters

In our fifth roadside motel room Alice is standing in front of the mirror examining her face carefully. She is wearing nothing more than a pair of white knee socks with a tiny lavender bow stitched just above the back of each slender cotton calf.

While she studies herself her tailless grey and white rescue cat named Olive circles the perimeter of her ankles methodically. Alice stops applying mascara for a moment and leans down to scratch the animal’s eager brow with her free hand.

The cat is not travelling well. We both knew this would be the case but Alice insisted and I relented. This particular motel manager said no pets, but Alice managed to charm him just like she charmed the rest of them.

The rest of them. All of them. Me.

I have been in love with Alice and her ever-changing pair of knee socks for six days and two hours now. I have known her for four months and two weeks. I will not tell her that I am in love with her for another six and a half months, and by then it will be far too late.

Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 3. Purchase the book to read the full piece.

Toronto locations referenced in this piece

“Tom got down on one knee in front of me at the Lahore Tikka House on Gerrard before I’d finished my chicken tikka masala, and as I looked down at that sweet dopey face I knew there was no possible answer but yes . . . ” —Lahore Tikka House