I find myself most days sitting in a café somewhere in Old Montreal. You see this place inspires me to write. It can be intoxicating to just sit here among the tourists, the artists, the entertainers, and those who like me just come to breath in the atmosphere. I am surrounded by buildings that were built many many years ago, some as far back as the 1600’s. From the café the scent of the Ste. Lawrence River fills your nostrils, but it’s a scent of home. Not a bad smell at all, but one of comfort and familiarity.
I have traveled the globe and sat in café’s all over, from France to Italy, from England to Amsterdam, The Czech Republic to Hungry, yet by far this simple little place is home. I feel laid back and sure sitting here. I feel I could fall asleep as if on my couch at home. The food and drink, mixed with the occasional violin or guitar only makes this dream come true. The sights and sounds, morning to night, never let up. Each person only gives to the scene as they seem to melt into the back ground.
I sit at my favorite table and look up at the Hotel Nelson, a grand place that I have frequented many a times I thought with a smile. I ordered an espresso and closed my eyes as I lifted the top of my laptop. Deadlines, God I hate you but it is a necessary evil in the writing world. If anything it hopefully signals the end of a project. I was told one time by a fellow author that the completion of your book is like the death of a loved one. So true I though with this book I was working on.
I loved this story, I fell in love with it from the get go and felt sad as I neared its end. I would miss this one, I miss the characters I had already killed off, even the hated ones. They were my creation, my babies, how dare I eliminate them. Thoughts of a sequel assaulted my mind with a smile. Resurrections from the dead, was that possible in this story, not likely, after all this wasn't a soap opera. I looked at where I had left off the night before and re-read the chapter. Why is it I am never happy with what I write, although others love it? Are all authors like me? Are we our worse critics?
Just when as was about to get down and pound the key board motion to the right caught my eye. Now before I continue let me say that Old Montreal is frequented by many in the arts and show business world. Meaning a mass of pretty and beautiful people. They come in all shapes and sizes and dress in styles that are often seen on runways around the world. I have seen some of the most beautiful women from around the globe just tables away.
But now before me, strolled a woman who I had no words for. To the casual looker she would seem casual if not regular. Nothing new or spectacular in her clothing or appearance at first glance. She had dark hair and wore no sun glasses like all the other women today. She wore simple jeans of no name brand I could see. She had a plain t-shirt on that I swear may have a few paint stains on it. Her shoes were unusual for the rest of her attire. See these were older and worn, yet high dollar Italy jobs that was like an exclamation point on her looks.
Her hair, as I mentioned was dark and hung down straight to a little over her shoulders. I noticed not a piece of jewelry either nor purse or hand bag. For some reason I cannot explain I was drawn to her and all attempts at writing ceased. Now I’m not stalker or weirdo but I had a hard time keeping my eyes off her. She intrigued me like no other woman I had seen. It was if she did it on purpose to appear not attractive, but it was doing the exact opposite with me.
From what I could see she had dark eyes, a color I could not make out from where I sat. For a reason I cannot explain I wanted to take her picture but the thought of a huge husband or boyfriend smashing his fist through my face was not alluring. After all I have an image and was quite famous myself. I always had gotten nods and requests for autographs but for some reason I was becoming a big fan of this woman before me. “Come on and calm down” I thought to myself, she is just one of many beautiful women you have encountered in your travels. I stole a glance here and there and wondered if she too was famous in some way. She ordered what appeared to be a plain coffee and stared out towards the river. At times she would check her cell found and respond to a text or message of some kind, and I felt myself smile.
I wondered what her name was and where she was born, she appear to have tanned skin, but I thought it was more her heritage than the sun. Latino was a very good possibility, maybe even the Middle East? Hell I thought she could be from the Arctic for all I cared. She rubbed her chin in a way that might say she was in thought, then placed her cell to her ear. She seemed to be talking to someone who made her smile and I become jealous thinking of a lover. “God, man get a hold of yourself” I thought and laughed.
At that moment I fell in love with her smile, it was a smile I thought to start a war over. She twisted her hair as she spoke and I melted like a teenage boy with a crush. I tried to appear calm and normal in my surroundings, after all I was a big time author who others were supposed to lust after. She closed her cell and placed it on the table, and took a drink from her coffee. At that moment our eyes met and she smiled at me. I must have looked like a bumbling idiot because she kind of laughed, I think.
I took a deep breath and thought if the Ste. Lawrence would be cold this time of year when I jumped in. I took a look at my laptop and noticed not a damn thing written since she showed up. She would be bad for my career I thought. Oh god she was getting up and walking right towards me. My heart fluttered like a kid at Christmas as she moved in for the kill.
“Excuse me but I couldn't help noticing that you are Jake Rutland right, the author?” she said. I said “blahhh blahhhh blah” I think because she laughed, I think. I wanted to call 911. I finally mustered enough English to say “Yes”. She went on to explain she was a huge fan of my Mack Delaney (plug) series and could hardly wait for the next one to be released. Well I couldn't break it to her that the last one, was the last one and I had killed off most of the characters.
So with all the wit I could gather I announced “Soon.” Wow I should write for a living I thought then said “I do” a little too loud and she said “excuse me.” “Oh nothing I was thinking too loud.” And we both laughed as I felt like a 44 year old moron. I asked if she wanted to join me and she said she wished she could but she was waiting on her ex-husband to bring back their child. We chatted a bit more and I found out she owned a sports bar of all things up the road from where we sat now.
She told me to come by one day and watch a hockey game. My mind raced to “No I’ll watch you if that’s OK” but instead my answer was “OK.” Boy my wit must have been showing because she twisted her hair a bit and gave me a card to her bar. “The Bad Apple” I thought what the hell does that have to do with sports and who cares. We said our goodbyes as she walked over to a car and a small boy got out and hugged what had to be his mom, my angel. They walked away hand in hand and I watched hoping she might turn just once. Just when I was about to look down at my blank laptop, she glanced back and waved. Followed by her little guy’s look back and I’m sure of “Who’s that Mommy”
I took a deep breath and positioned my hands over the keyboard and smiled. Then took one more look at where they were walking, but by now she disappeared. I then thought to myself “What was her name?” I shook my head and started to type as a small hand tapped my shoulder. I turned around and this little boy said “My mommy asked if you would give her your autograph.” “And what is your mommy’s name?” To which his innocent little mind said “Just Mommy I guess.”