The thing you need to understand is none of us liked him from the start.
That’s why we weren’t too choked when we first heard about the breakup. It’s not that we didn’t care about my sister. Really, we were happy for her to be rid of that jerk.
See, between the pair of us, Linda had always been the pretty one, the loveable one. But despite her good looks –– or maybe because of them, I could never decide which –– she was terrible at picking men. Mom always said it was because she had a big heart. Linda gave guys the benefit of the doubt. I said that was sweet, but the truth was she didn’t have a critical head on her shoulders. She wasn’t a big thinker, my sister.
Linda had been dating Tristan for about a year when she ended things. From the outside, you wouldn’t have known anything was wrong. They were living together in his 31st-floor condo in the nice part of downtown. They were thinking about getting a cat.
My sister never said exactly what it was that soured the relationship, but I guess she finally saw what we had seen all along: Tristan was an arrogant asshat. Just because he had a fancy academic job using mice to study cancer cells, he thought he was better than all of us, including Linda. That, and the fact that he was vegan. Talk about a hypocrite.
The breakup was a month ago now, and I’ve talked to Linda only once more since then. It was a Saturday when she called, asking for advice. She said there was a box of her things still at the condo, but she wasn’t sure if she should go back for it, what with everything being so raw. I spent a while asking some questions, like how much the stuff was worth, and whether or not she thought she might find him with a gun or another woman in bed, and then the solution came to me.
I drove over almost immediately after our call. Linda had offered to text Tristan to see if he was home, but I said not to bother. I knew the sad sap would be there. When he came to the door, he looked pale and hollowed out, as if he’d recently taken a punch to the gut. I hadn’t planned to stay more than a minute, but he just kept talking, looking so crushed, that I didn’t have the heart to turn down his offer of chamomile tea.
It was 2 p.m. when I left for Tristan’s to pick up the box and it was 10 p.m. when I got to Linda’s place (she was crashing on a girlfriend’s couch) to drop it off. When Linda asked what took so long, I told her I’d stopped at a book store and lost track of time.
What I didn’t tell her was that sitting next to me on the couch, his eyes red, his tea long cold, Tristan had confessed he was still thinking of getting a cat –– though it’d originally been Linda’s idea.
“Why not?” I said. We were sitting so close I could count the specks of light in his eyes.
We were sitting so close my knee accidentally bumped his.
“I could feed it when you’re away at conferences,” I said.
Even someone like Linda was bound to have one –– or two –– good ideas.
Dawn Maria Muenchrath is a writer originally from Calgary, Alberta. She currently lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where she is completing her MFA in Writing at the U of S. She has two cats.