Shannon, the ice queen
We met the summer after I’d graduated from university. I wasn’t able work legally in Canada, so I picked up under-the-table jobs to get by – walking my drug dealer’s dog, random dish washing shifts, playing guitar for change on Rue Prince Arthur. My favorite gig came to me after I’d found an old Polaroid camera at a flea market. I’d take peoples’ pictures at bars or parties and then try to sell them back to them. Or, at least get them to buy me a drink.
Shannon, though, wasn’t buying it. I snapped this photo of her sitting alone at a house party in NDG, but she wouldn’t even accept it for free.
“That’s a cute party trick,” she said, “But I’m not interested.”
“I’ll hold on to it for you, then,” I said, as I slipped it into my pocket. Almost immediately after that cold interaction, I asked the party’s host about her, assuming she had a boyfriend.
“To my knowledge, she doesn’t get down with anybody. Around the grad student’s lounge, we have a nickname for her – ‘The Ice Queen.’ I wouldn’t waste my time, Knox.”
Intrigued, staring at the photo, I said, “Are you kidding? All I do these days is waste time.”
I chased her down outside, after I spied her leaving the party alone and apologized for snapping her photo. “Listen, Shannon. I know I come off creepy, snapping stranger’s photos and all. But listen, I’m a nice guy to get a bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup with. Do you like Phở?”
She looked at me cockeyed and said, “Actually, yes. I really do. How’d you know that?”
I could just tell. She met me the next weekend at my favorite Phở spot. After paying the check, I slid the Polaroid back to her and said, “I paid for this whole meal taking these pictures. Will you accept it now?”
She put it in her purse and said “I’ll hold onto it for you, but I have a feeling you’re going to want it back someday.” The rest of the summer I courted her, but to no avail. I had initially assumed that she wasn’t as cold as her demeanor suggested – “The Ice Queen” was a front she put up because she was shy. But no, she was actually kind of a bitch. And the more she rebuked my efforts, the more it drove me crazy. We took walks through Parc Lafontaine and had coffees down by Concordia, and she always seemed to enjoy herself, but still wouldn’t give up even a kiss.
“Sure,” she said, smiling. “I just don’t want to.” Later that night, she went home with some gruff looking rocker type who picked her up while I shot pool. When I got home that night, I found the Polaroid in my pocket, with a note on the back.
good luck, knox
the ice queen
Filed under: stories of heartbreak | 3 Comments