It’s Always Snowing in Nova Scotia: It Burned Down Last Year

July 6, 2009 at 1:38 am 2 comments

We’re deep into French country, and Stephen and Jon are going to get our asses killed.

“Oui oui! I would like some french toast!”

Both of them are wearing their berets, both are speaking in terrible French accents. An ominous draft blows through the restaurant.

“You can’t do that here! This is Aulac!” It’s possible nobody every said this directly, but the sentiment was certainly implied. We can’t afford to get ourselves killed at such an early juncture; there’s still so much to do.

We are eating at the Big Stop, for what may be the last time.


Danger doesn’t manage to find us, and we pass the time talking about comic books and tv shows. It’s what we talked about on the car ride here. It’s what we talked about during the day. It’s what we talk about nearly all the time. Even our attempts at serious conversation tend to end up couched in comic book terms.

Somehow we dredge ourselves out of our conversational sinkhole, and I start fielding questions about people I know out west. They’re perplexed by the fact that so many people out there smell me, like I was a flower or glass of wine. I find it perplexing, too.

Danielle’s mom happens to be eating here too, with her friends. She says hi and gives me a hug. Danielle spends the whole dinner taking pictures and photos, barely touching her food. But then, Dani is such a picky eater that she barely touches any food. My dinner is disappointing, but the milkshake is nice.

On our way back Jon takes the wrong turnoff. We’re heading to Sackville. Stephen shouts at him.

“How could you take the wrong turn-off, Jon?!”
“I always take that turn when I’m going for classes! It’s instinct!”
“What are we going to do in Sackville, Jon?!”

Benji, of course, has the answer. “The liquor stores are still open in New Brunswick.”


Though Amherst has all my friends, Sackville is the town where I grew up. My dad got a job at the university there when I was three, and we stayed until I was somewhere around Grade Six. It’s a tiny place, the kind where you only have one of everything; one grocery store, one barber shop, one pharmacy. Yet despite the frugality elsewhere, you can still find at least six pizza places; it’s how you know it’s a college town.

We drive one of the two streets making up the downtown. Everything is exactly how I remember it, even though I haven’t lived here in nearly a decade. The cinema (one screen), Mel’s Tearoom (which doubled as my first comic shop), and….

We turn off Bridge Street onto Main Street. The building on the corner is wrapped in plastic and covered in scaffolding. “What happened here?” I ask.

“Oh, that.” says Jon. “Most of Main Street burned down last year.”


We get to the liquor store, and Stephen and Jon take the opportunity to clown around in their berets with the French wine. It turns out no one is all that interested in getting anything, with the obvious exception of Benji; he’ll spend the rest of the night trying to get me drunk. We drive back to Dani’s; they sing happy birthday again, this time with a birthday cake and pie. We spend the night devouring them while watching movies and playing about a million rounds of Super Smash Bros.

I spend a lot of the night cracking jokes at Jon’s expense, and then feel really bad about it. Jon seems to think something entirely different is going on, though. “Every time you say ‘just throwing this out there'”, he says, “I think you’re about to hit on me”. To dispell this notion I spend the rest of the evening trying to hook up Stephen and Jon; though they claim to resist my efforts, they end up leaving together.

Tomorrow is February 14th, Valentine’s day. I try to discreetly ask Danielle if I should clear off so she and Benji can spend some time together. But their relationship has always been somewhat non-traditional, and they explain that won’t be necessary. Somehow in the midst of this Danielle and I agree to find time to sit down for tea and discuss life.

Everyone goes off to bed, and it’s just me trying to sleep while the cats crash around the living room, chasing each other and desperately trying to climb on the bed. Danielle mentioned that Shuck hasn’t been neutered, and I’m worried if I fall asleep they’ll try to have sex on top of me. But eventually the noise subsides, and I’m off to sleep again.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dani  |  July 6, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Shuck still has no interest in sex. I don’t think he knows he’s a boy.

  • 2. jon  |  July 7, 2009 at 2:48 am

    he lives on the way to my place.


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