My parents are all about traveling, whether it be to California or Wisconsin or even Oklahoma. Every summer, my parents plan a trip with friends to some obscure place. Last year, Camden, Maine, the year before that, the Outer Banks, North Carolina, the year before that, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The list goes on and on. This summer, my parents wanted to go to Montreal; the sub arctic paradise of Montreal. Because I loved nothing more than being cold. Yeah, sike. The summer we went to Maine, I thought I’d die. It was cold and foggy/rainy every day and I was miserable.
I don’t know, this Montreal thing seemed like a good idea in theory, but when we got there and it was 60 degrees on an August day, I was not happy. When back home it would be 99 degrees and I could be sitting in a lifeguard stand getting a tan, I was in Montreal shivering in my Princeton basketball sweatshirt and khaki capris. People around me who were wearing shorts and T-shirts looked at me like I was crazy to wear a sweatshirt. I could not wait to get to the hotel and change into a nice warm pair of sweatpants. Ah, yes, sounds like heaven to me.
Now, standing here with about twenty bags of luggage and my purse, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I wanted nothing more than to be home at that moment. My parents and brother were apparently getting the car while I was assigned to baby-sitting the bags. I hitched my bright orange purse higher up on my shoulder and braced myself against the wind and cold. What I didn’t brace myself for was someone running straight into me, knocking me backwards, and then, consequently knocking over the luggage I was standing in front of as I toppled back into it.
Let’s do a little math right here at this moment, shall we? What do you get when you take bitterly cold weather and add in a total stranger knocking you and your luggage over? One completely pissed-off individual. First I looked back at the luggage lying on its side on the ground, still wobbling a little. Second, I looked up at the person who hit me and was still lingering around. And lastly, before I could tell him off, my mouth opened slightly giving me that dazed look. Not because the hit, bump, knock, whatever you want to call it gave me brain damage, but because the guy I was staring at, the guy who hit me, was absolutely gorgeous.
He had a baseball hat on backwards so that all I could see was the MLB logo. Brown hair stuck out of the back of the hat, curling around his neck. He had a slightly upturned nose, his eyes were like liquid chocolate and when he opened his mouth to talk, I thought I’d die.
“Êtes-vous bien?” he asked me in what I assumed was French. I stood there dumbstruck for a few seconds before remembering I didn’t know French, which meant I had no idea what he just asked me.
“Uh,” I started. “I don’t know… French,” I finished, gesticulating around my mouth and face hoping to convey the idea and praying to God that he spoke English, because if it sounded anything like his French, I would probably fall over from lack of oxygen.
“Oh, sorry,” he said grinning at me. “Are you okay?” he asked once again, in French-laced English.
I wanted to say, ‘Well no. I’m from freaking Georgia where it’s 90 degrees all the time. My left shoulder is acting up a little bit and I’m not sure my knee liked being knocked into, thanks for asking.’ But instead, I forced myself to say, “Aside from being freezing cold, yes, I’m okay.”
He nodded in response, but still didn’t walk away. Instead, he bent over and picked up the luggage that was strewn around the ground beneath my feet. I jumped out of the way so he could pick them all up and set them upright. While he was doing this, I couldn’t help but check out his butt, which was extremely bootylicious, if that’s a word. It’s the first word that popped into my head, so we’re going with that; bootylicious.
He straightened up and grinned at me, making my body temperature rise a good degree or two which stopped the shivering. I don’t know how he wasn’t cold, wearing only a shirt, jeans and flip-flops.
“Oh, I’m Kris, by the way,” he said, holding out his hand to me. I took it and shook.
“Isabel,” I said, smiling a little, but not enough to show my perfectly white, straight teeth.
A nod. I felt I had to fill the void he left by just nodding.
“I’m from Georgia. It’s always warm there and it’s not very warm here. It’s actually quite brisk, which I don’t like. I’m also not sure why I wore capris…” I said, pursing my lips and letting my purse slip down to the crook of my arm when I was done, thinking about what I had just said. I ramble when I’m nervous. I talk and ramble about irrelevant things when something or, in this case, someone makes me nervous.
That cute smile was back on his face, almost mocking me now.
“It’s alright,” he replied smoothly as if I hadn’t just told him my condensed life’s story. “Most Americans don’t like it here at first, but once they hit the clubs, they loosen up and realize the cold’s not so bad.”
Why wasn’t this guy leaving? Not that I was complaining, it was just weird. All he did was run into me and now he’s like my one and only friend in Montreal.
“Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be doing that, as much as I’d like to,” I said with an apprehensive smile.
“Oh really?” he asked, now intrigued.
“I’m pretty sure my parents wouldn’t want me ruining our ‘family vacation’ by going out club hoping.”
His face fell a bit, probably thinking I was some 16 year old here with her parents. I was an 18 year old here with her parents and 16 year old brother.
“No, I mean,” I began, “I go to clubs at home. My friend Blair and I go all the time. I just don’t think I should go while I’m here with my parents. They’ll want to just go sight-seeing and all that jazz. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go out at night; I’ve heard the nightlife here is legendary. Isn’t that why celebrities come up here?” Shut up, shut up, shut up. You look stupid.
I mashed my lips together, quieting the stream of words that had come pouring out of my mouth. I glanced behind me, at the passing taxis and rental cars, wondering where in the world my parents were.
“Yeah, it is,” he said still smirking at me. I’m assuming he was answering my stupid question about the celebrities; I didn’t dare ask for fear of looking like even more of an imbecile. His gaze made my extremities burn; I could feel a steady tingle in my fingers and toes.
“Anyway,” he continued, dismissing my babbling with a wave of his hand. “Let me know if you can spare some time on this family vacation of yours to go out with me,” he said, taking my hand and pressing a crumpled piece of paper in my palm.
With one last charming smile and slight flick of his wrist in the form of a wave, he was gone to leave me standing there pondering what had just happened. I looked down at the crumpled piece of paper that was shaking in the wind. I could see something scrawled across it and unfolded it to find a number headed with area code 412. Where was that? Pittsburgh? Whatever, not like I was going to call this guy, Kris. How random was he?
At that exact moment, my parents pulled up with an ugly Mercury sedan. I grimaced and picked up some bags as they got out of the car. My brother looked bored out of his mind in the backseat of the car with his iPod, while my parents were a stark contrast of smiles and joy. It’s going to be a long week, I thought to myself. I loaded some more luggage into the trunk before glancing down at the piece of paper I still had in my hand, my brain working overtime.