Smiley McGee. That’s me. I’m walking down the street, not with a grin, but with a huge unmistakeable smile, coupled with numerous audible laughs. What’s got me so sunshiney? Oh, just the wonders of the world and all the ways it turns. Let me rewind about five years to give you some back story.
It’s November, 2005, and I’ve just moved to Toronto for the first time. I’d been out for a few drinks with a friend, back when I used to do that kind of thing, you know, drink, and so I was a little tipsy as I got outta the cab on my street. As I start walking home, I notice a man on the other side of the road that I had seen earlier that day while I was on the streetcar. “It’s that guy from today!” I thought. “Good god he’s handsome.” So I looked at him, and he looked at me. And we kept looking at each other. Within a matter of moments he walked towards me for a closer look. “Hello,” I said to him. “Hello,” he said to me, and that was that. Away we went. Huggin’ and kissin’ pretty hardcore. It was intense, and surreal and incredibly exciting. “What’s your name?” We eventually thought to ask. I asked him to repeat himself about 4 times, and I still couldn’t decipher what he was saying, but I didn’t particularly care. Names were irrelevant at that point.
“Sooo, is this your place?” he pointed to my house behind me.
“Well are you going to invite me in?”
“Hmmm, welllll….I promised myself I’d be good tonight,” I debated. I was new to the big city and was feeling particularly footloose and fancy-free. Those days entailed lots of drinking and lots of caution to the wind. I was aware of this, and figured I’d better reel myself in. Perhaps develop some inhibitions for a change.
“I think we’re beyond that.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Who am I kidding?” and there goes caution again, away with the wind.
So we walked to the door, and as I’m fumbling with my keys, he looks at me and says, “You’re a Scorpio, aren’t you?”
“Sure am. So are you?”
“Yep. Oh fuck,” he said. If we didn’t already know we were in for it, we certainly did now. Scorpios are known to be especially sexual beings, and when 2 of them come together, from my experience, it’s nothing but trouble. Insane amounts of fun, but Trouble with a capital “T.”
We didn’t take things to the place we might have liked to, “I want to see you again…” he said, and he feared that if we got too carried away, he wouldn’t. It wasn’t until he wrote his name and number on the notepad at my desk before he left that I finally figured out his unusual name. I’ve not heard it before or since. Fitting.
The very next day I was attending the Christmas party at the agency I’d been temping with, and I ended up sitting next to a magnetic and gregarious girl that I immediately hit it off with. We were laughing and carrying on and had an instant rapport, so we started sharing a bit about ourselves, more than you usually would with what amounts to a perfect stranger. (Seems a theme was developing with me…) She was wearing big gold earrings that said, “Leo” and when we were exchanging numbers, she pulled out her notebook also adorned with her astrological sign. “So, you’re a Leo, I see,” and we carried on a conversation about our horoscopes.
“I have a funny horoscope related story that happened to me just last night,” and I proceed to tell her my tale.
“Oh shit, girl!” she laughed. “That’s unreal. So who is this guy anyway? What’s his name?”
For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call him Mr. Hello. “*Mr. Hello*??” she questioned, “*Mr. Hello*???? Is he a tall Jamaican guy? A model? An actor?” she implored.
“He’s my ex-boyfriend’s best friend,” small friggin’ world. So, not only have I shared this incredible connection with this gentleman, but now he’s somehow connected to other people I’m immediately connecting with. Too strange.
Mr. Hello and I saw each other a few more times. Firey and fun and nothing but Scorpio trouble. Unfortunately, in the meantime, I made tracks back to PEI for the holidays and rekindled with my ex, which meant the next time he came calling, I had to put the kybosh to it. I remember one night, just as I crawled into bed with my boyfriend, my phone rang. “Who’s that??” he asked me, knowing that it likely wasn’t my mother. “Just somebody I met once.” I called him back the next day to say, “Dude, I’m in a relationship. I’d LOVE to see you, but alas…” Fair enough, he resigned.
A few months later I was coming out of a party at a bar on Queen St. and right there, at the bottom of the stairs stood Mr. Hello himself. I poked him in the ribs as I walked past with my boyfriend, and I turned to see his reaction. He stood there in amazement, with his hands in the air. I gestured to my mate, and gave him the salute. He waved in return. Nice to see you, we both thought.
I recall two more Mr. Hello spottings over the years that followed. Once during Nuit Blanche in Trinity Bellwoods Park. I was with someone and so was he. He didn’t see me, and I didn’t make myself known. The next time I was waiting at the crosswalk on Havelock St., yet again late at night, and he zoomed past on his bike, not noticing me bundled up in my winter gear. “Was that really who I think it was? Nah, couldn’t be…” But yeah. It was him. You can’t forget a face like that.
So, it’s November 2010. Five years later. I’ve been here, there and everywhere, but have just moved back into my old neighborhood. I’d been reminiscing about this scenario a lot lately, doing the old “what ifs” and “coulda wouldas” so I sent him a message stating simply, “Pssst.” Just a, “Hey, remember me, remember THAT?” kind of thing, and it doesn’t take long for him to respond with a, “Well, well, well…as the Scorpio season descends upon us, I find myself thinking of you. Dundas St. has never been the same for me.”
A few brief texts and messages later, he’s at my doorstep this morning. Let’s go for coffee. So civilized. We walk and talk. What’s up with you, what’s up with me, la la la, let me buy you a coffee, did you want a muffin with that, nice, nice, nice.
“So, you live alone?” I ask him.
“Actually, I live with my wife.”
Dun, dun, dun. The descending, disappointing music ensues. I feel like turning on my heels and heading straight back home, but we are being civilized after all, so I sit, and enjoy my coffee since he’s gone to the trouble of paying for it and everything. I’m oh so curious where this conversation is going to head now. He shares some things with me, and yeah, I know, lots of people feel like they can tell me things, so really, I’m not surprised. I’m an open book, so it’s no big mystery that you feel you can open yours too. But really, when you said, “I do” to that lady of yours, whoever she is, maybe it didn’t mean much to you, but newsflash, it does mean something to me. “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” Really? Really. Realllly? So this is how it happens, eh? This is what people do.
Yes, he’s hands down the most beautiful man I’ve ever laid eyes on, and yes, I agree, as he pleads with me in the text messages that follow my dismissal of any possibility there will be a repeat performance, you’re right, it was absolutely memorable, unlike any other, but gosh darn it, I’ve just been cursed with this big, bad conscience of mine. You can call me a lot of things, but home wrecker is not one of them, tempting as it may be. I might be spontaneous and fun, and do lots of adventurous kinds of things, but not at someone else’s expense. Nevermind the fact that I don’t even drink anymore and can’t even use the tipsy excuse. Sound, sober mind here, saying thanks, but no thanks.
And so I walk along the street, and I’m laughing. I’m smiling a great, big goofy smile, and I honestly don’t know why I find the whole scenario to be so damned hilarious. What they say is true, smiling is contagious, because loads of people are remarking, “How are you today?!” and “Hey there, Smiley.” It’s infecting everyone, and you know, I’m glad. I’m glad that my friggin’ hilarious love life can at least be the source of some happiness in the morning of these random strangers.
The texting ensues, and try as he might to convince me otherwise, I’m not somebody’s mistress, nor do I plan on it anytime soon. So, while it was nice to catch up with you, my dear, old, Mr. Hello, I believe I shall finally have to call you Mr. Goodbye. Another case closed. Another story for the books.