Tag Archives: Canada

Footprints in the Snow

“I’m coming to Canada on a school trip. I’ll be staying right near you. I checked.”

“What?” she asked, a surprised look on her face that he could see via Skype all the way from Philadelphia.

“My professor is organizing a trip for next month for our geology club. He has some crazy notion that there’s a group of kimberlites that might have formed diamonds in them so he wants to abuse our club to become rich.”

She shifted in her seat and he could see she was uncomfortable. Either that or nervous, he couldn’t tell.

“Aren’t you excited? We’ve been online friends for two years now. Here’s our chance to finally meet.”

She thought back to that conversation as she sat in one of her favorite spots a month later. She’d come across the old cabin doing a nature shoot for her Digital Photography course and noticed the dilapidated hunting cabin that was falling apart from disuse. It was cold out and the recent snow made it stand out in the woods; she doubted anyone had set foot in the building in decades. From inside she could see enough of the snow through the giant cracks that had formed between the logs, and while a draft did float through the building the aged walls still kept some of the cold out.

Today was much like that first day she found the building. A fresh snow accompanied a cold day, and she was so nervous about meeting him that she didn’t even think to bring a coat. In her hands she held the best gift she’d ever received from a boy. Last Christmas he bought her the small porcelain carousel, inspired by a trip she’d taken over the previous summer photographing vintage carousels across the country. They reminded her of her father before he passed, and somehow the photographs all seemed to capture that, which she always thought helped her win the contest that helped her attain her first gallery show in the city.

She was to meet him in one hour in a café near campus, and even though they had Skyped for hours every week, he still insisted she bring the small toy so he would recognize her. She had romantic notions which were leading her to such nerves that she needed to collect herself in the cabin, the place she often found herself in moments of doubt, nervousness or deep thought. This one was all three.

She walked to the window, the most comfortable place to sit, and brushed the ledge off with her hands so she wouldn’t get her favorite flower print leggings dirty, just in case. She had no idea where their meeting, or date, was it a date? would lead. She’d fallen for him over the past two years of constant texts, calls, IMs, and Skype dates but never had the desire or nerve to tell him. Why bother? He’d never been a real person she could touch before. All the boys she shunned, all the dates she subconsciously sabotaged were because of him. She hadn’t even kissed anyone in over a year, which was right around the time she realized her feelings. Even though she knew she would never meet him.

But now he was coming.

She turned the little carousel over in her hands, listening to the subtle jingle of the parts inside that would play music if she wound it. They sounded so far away, but she knew she could just twist the knob and they would echo through the cabin at a high decibel.

She looked at her watch. Forty-five minutes until he would be sitting in her favorite coffee shop, the one she’d talked about often and even Skyped with him in so he could see it. She wanted to show him everything she loved, and there was only one place he hadn’t heard of, and this was it.

Maybe she would bring him, show him the hideaway she visited for the big decisions. But then he might notice the fresh footprints and put the clues together, somehow realizing that she loved him. He might say “Were you here today?” and she couldn’t lie to him. She would have to admit it. And he would look into her eyes and ask “What was the big decision you had to make?” and she would blush and smile and he would take her in his arms and she would feel him for the first time after years of wishing and hoping and their lips would meet for the first time in her favorite spot and she would share it with him and maybe, just maybe, he would fall in love with her in that moment.

She would bring him here. They would get tea in little to go containers, and she would show him to her favorite place and hope he noticed her footprints in the snow.

Photographs by Danielle Suzanne Photography. Check out her website or her Flickr.

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He Says Oui

Julie and Quinn watched the couples walk by at a pace slower than what they were accustomed to in the United States. Their breath clouding the air in front of them, they admired the beautiful view, a simple rue full of little shops like every other street they’d seen in Old City, Quebec.

“I wish we could live here year round.”

“And I don’t? That would be lovely.”

She pulled a mittened hand out of her pocket and picked his up, holding it tight. He squeezed back and she looked into his eyes. A couple passed and she returned to people watching.

Lovers walked by closer than they would walk back home, and Quinn squeezed her hand a little harder and a smile grew on her face. She rested her head on his shoulder for a moment and closed her eyes.

That’s when a distant ruckus startled her a bit, and she was not the only one. The meandering couple who moments before were full of bliss jumped a bit too and hurried away from the little courtyard-like road. The noises approached from around a corner.

“Here they come again, merde!” Julie whispered.

“Jul, they are so obnoxious. I can’t take it anymore.”

A large group of people, their loud laughs echoing against the stony storefronts, began to emerge from around the corner, headed by a rather large woman with a giant American flag t-shirt and armed with a disposable camera. She screamed at the sight of the fountain calmly pushing water into little waterfalls.

“Be positive,” Quinn whispered into her ear.

“I’m trying. It’s tough.”

“Look at the cute older couple sitting over there.”

She followed his finger towards the same fountain, where a couple, probably in their seventies, were sitting close to each other and preparing lunch. The man pulled out a sandwich and unwrapped it making sure the paper came off just right, handing the woman her half, and waited to start eating until she was settled. Meanwhile, she opened a bottle of Perrier and placed it next to her. She took her half of the sandwich; they looked at each other, and began eating. That’s when the American woman ran up to them.

“Hel-lo,” she yelled as if the elderly couple was both deaf and unintelligent. “I. Would. Like. To. Take. A. Picture.” She held up her disposable camera and pretended to take a picture. “Could. You. Please. Move.” Then she began to back up, ready to take the picture. The couple looked at each other and then, with a sad sigh, began collecting their little picnic. The loud American grunted.

“Take your time, geez. I just wanna take the friggin’ picture!”

She rushed them, shooing them away like unwanted children at a dinner party, and then tried to take the photograph multiple times until she realized the camera must be advanced.

“Ugh. It’s so embarrassing that we’re with them,” Julie said.

“Agreed.”

“But what are we supposed to do? Quit the tour now? We spent so much money.”

Oui.”

At the sound of Quinn’s simple attempt at French, Julie smiled. She loved that he was trying, because she knew it was just to impress her. She loved the one or two words he was comfortable saying, such as this one and the other common expression, “Merci.”

He also smiled, because he knew she was impressed. She had taught him other words on the plane as they took off, but those were the ones he was comfortable saying, for now. He would try harder.

The large group of Americans filed into the nearby stores, most of them purveyors of Canadian flags, t-shirts and hockey jerseys.

“I’m dying of thirst.”

Moi aussi. Let’s get a Perrier. I’ve always wanted to try one.”

Quinn got up from the curb and offered her his hand, and she took it and allowed herself to be pulled towards a store.

Merci,” she said with a cute smile.

They walked up to the nearest store with a visible refrigerator and entered.

“Mom! MOOOOOM!” a woman in the back of the store screamed into a cell phone. “They have all kinds of shirts! They have blue! BLUE!”

Julie looked at Quinn who was already rolling his eyes.

“This is so embarrassing,” she whispered. “No wonder the world hates Americans.”

The woman continued her phone call as if she were yelling to her mom from two hundred miles away. “MOM! THEY ALSO HAVE A RED ONE WITH A CANADIAN FLAG! OH AND A GREEN ONE WITH A MOOSE! OH AND MUGS! THEY HAVE TONS OF THEM!”

Quinn ran to the drinks and grabbed a Perrier as Julie pulled out a toonie, almost as if they had rehearsed this before. The little bell hanging over the door rang in no time and they were back on the curb. They opened the Perrier and took a sip.

“It’s okay.”

Oui,” he agreed. “It’s kinda just like club soda. But the moment is so great, I can’t help but love it. Just look at this place. It’s beautiful.” He looked around and his eyes ended on her. “You’re beautiful. How do you say beautiful?”

Beaux.”

“You’re beaux.”

Merci!”

They stared into each other’s eyes and then heard footsteps, so they returned to their people watching. Another couple wandered onto the street: a boy in a longer pea coat with large buttons, and a girl in a similar coat but red. They both wore white scarves and walked in unison. At first this was confusing, until they looked closer.

“Were they sharing headphones?” asked Quinn.

Oui, Je pense ainsi, I think so.”

“That is adorable. I love this place. The couples seem so loving, the streets are so clean, it’s safe and beautiful everywhere. The only really ugly thing is the…”

His voice was drowned out by two loud Texans who exploded out of a nearby restaurant.

“I can’ beleev that stuff we jus ate, the damn es-car-got,” he yelled, spelling the word out, as if his wife were deaf. “What the hell is up wit these damn frogs? Eatin shit that I wouldn’t use as bait! And what the HELL is a loonie? Sounds like a damn cartoon!”

The end of his sentence echoed down the street a little, and the pea coat couple turned around for a second, recognized the situation, and then continued on shaking their heads.

“Maw, let’s get one of those damn Canadian flags to burn at the pig roast next week! Ain’t never had a pig cooked over a fire without some flag from a stupid-ass country! Whatta ya think?”

“Sure thang, Walter. Les do it!”

They entered a store, where their voices could be heard even once the door was shut.

Jul took Quinn’s hand and he squeezed.

“When we finally get to Paris, we’re going alone,” Julie said.

Oui.”