One Friday morning, I was running late for work. I remembered I had to walk because my bike was currently out of air in its tires. That realization was quickly followed by the thought that I was meeting someone new for drinks right after work. I was going to be so late. And frazzled.
I stumbled into the bathroom and put another coat of mascara on. 5 minutes. I tried to find a shirt and came across my favourite Friday-with-jeans shirt. A soft beige, long-sleeve sweater over a white blouse. I picked it off the ground and put it on. It still smelled like Port Rexton.
My day alternated between work thoughts and imagining a new life on the East Coast. Newfoundland’s charm is not in its weather (though I absolutely loved the chillier air and the leftover snow) but in its people. Both Islanders and Mainlanders making their home in St. John’s.
After a day of exploring fishing villages along the Avalon Peninsula, my brother and I came back on our steps to stay in Port Rexton, or Trinity East. I’m still not sure what the name of the village is. The roads were dirt and we ended up getting lost and taking a very un-advised route that may or may not have scratched the rental car.
Once we had dropped off our stuff, we ventured out to Trinity to find food. We were starving. The restaurant we picked had an ocean-view. Of an iceberg. I don’t think I’ve ever had dinner before, staring at an iceberg. We returned to the hostel and settled in the hostel common room. It was time to make friends.
We had been initially disappointed as we heard the brewery was closed. The hostel girls told us it wasn’t. The pouring rain and wind did not entice us to leave for the brewery. As soon as I had made up my mind that I would drive there – it was, after all, the thing to do in the place you’re suppose to do it in – the boy and my brother also decided to go.
I put on my rain jacket, a quick brush of mascara (really Isabelle – it was pouring rain!) and the hat I had just bought in Bonavista and headed out. It was so windy that I had to remove my glasses until we got to the brewery.
Gin and tonic please.
Look, I don’t like beer. But I love gin and tonics.
There was a couple beside the three of us and they asked my brother why were in Newfoundland. He pointed at me and said it was my fault. I told them I booked flights on a whim, that I loved Canada and Newfoundland was my last province to visit.
The ice was broken and the boy and I started talking about our lives.
This is my absolute favourite part of travelling. I will sit and listen to anyone who will tell me their life story. Tell me where you came from, where you went to school, that you have two brothers and you were on the same hockey team. I want to know it all.
He asked about mine. I told him about my master’s degree and then went into detail about my thesis. I called Jason to ask him a hockey-related question and followed that up with a text.
This guy seems really cool.*
With the brewery closing and far too many gin and tonics were had, we had to devise a plan on how we were going to get back. Three girls from our hostel offered to drive us back. The six of us piled into the car and drove around looking for a new place to party in. You were in the front, the four of us were in the back.I know this is what I said, that I held onto your seat because I had to sit sideways against the door, And I couldn’t help that my hand repeatedly brushed across your back.
But you smelled great and you seemed so smart and you had blue eyes and a great smile and the nicest laugh – and you let me ramble on about citizenship and terrorism and how Canada is on the wrong side of history by revoking citizenship. You held my purse and I gave you all my pens and did I mention your eyes? You texted later that you felt your pale complexion was your best feature but it’s not. It’s your smile. And your hands.
Our driver couldn’t see and so I told her to pull over and I kicked you out of the front seat so I could help her. For the safety of the group. I didn’t leave the front seat, and you sat in my lap and you leaned in close and we searched things on your phone because mine was dead (as per usual) and I never wanted to get out of that car.
We made our way back to the hostel and our little group added four more people. You sat next to me and we exchanged numbers and the new members of the group asked us where we were from.
“Oh, did you guys just meet?”
The festivities lasted long into the night and we drank and shared stories and told jokes and I’m pretty sure my hand never left yours. I don’t remember how many times I wanted to kiss you again while we sat with the others so I settled for your cheek.
The next morning, over coffee, we talked about the rest of our day and we made tentative plans to see each other again in St. John’s. My brother and I did the Skerwink Trail and it was breathtaking. Cliffs and beaches and views of Port Rexton and Trinity and even more icebergs. It might be the most stunning hike I’ve ever done. You showed me your favourite view of St. John’s.
When I returned home, I told everyone about the tiny fishing village, this wonderful hostel and incredible hike and a boy. Who would have thought a boy from British Colombia, who studied in Alberta could meet a girl from Quebec, who went to school in Ontario, in a tiny fishing village in the middle of Newfoundland.
Port Rexton. That’s where.
*Not really the text I sent but it’s got the same message.