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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: December 17, 2019      Views: 215
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Chapter 17 of the book Learning to Swim
Chapter 17
"July 11th, 1953." by Raffaelina Lowcock

In July of 1949, our mother left our family behind and discreetly went with my uncle to Vancouver. It is the anniversary of that event that crowds my mind four years later when I wake up. I realize the date and remember.

Today Mary Kosiak and Don Craig are getting married. I try to get my mother out of my mind by concentrating on making sure my husband Les is totally prepared for his part as one of the ushers at the wedding party. I can see he is sort of quiet this morning. I ask, "Is there something you're concerned about?"

"Just trying to figure out what tie would be appropriate.  Also, Anna, I know the date is disturbing, how are you?"

"Yes, of course it is, but I'm okay" I lied.  "I think a darkish maroon colour would be okay."

What I harbour is like a wound that never heals, with endless pain hidden beneath still waters that intermittently rise, sending that pain once again to the surface, as is happening today.  Why burden someone else with that?

I now focus on what I will be wearing. I choose a dress that is made of white dimity and sprinkled with miniature lilacs. The neckline is filigreed. It is a lovely dress that compliments my looks so that I feel attractive. The hat I wear is a white cloche with purple velvet trim. The shoes and bag are purple to match the trimmings of the hat and the slight velvet belt on the dress. Actu ally, this was my going away outfit, at my wedding, almost two years ago.

Today the weather is beautiful. Sunshine and a clear blue sky promising 'no rain', prevails as we leave for the church in our 98 Oldsmobile. It is a thirty-minute drive.

As we travel, I gaze out the window.  Along the way I am in deep thought about my mother then abruptly I snap out of it and decide on a light conversation about Don and Mary.

"Did Don tell you where they are going on their honeymoon?" I ask.

"Not specifically, but  they will be driving down the Eastern Coast of the U.S. just as far as Cape Cod. Sounds like a trip we should take. What do you think?"

"I would love that."

"Good.  Let's talk to Bill and Peg about the trip and I'll ask Don to keep towns and motel names for us."

"Maybe we should just go by ourselves Les.  Don't you think it might be just the sort of trip that will get us back on track?"

"Yes, but first of all, I'm a new driver.  I really need someone to spell me and someone who knows about cars.  Secondly, the gas is a little more than we can afford if we go alone.  We will be in different rooms wherever we go."

"You're right, of course, that makes sense.  Okay, we'll talk to them."

Les wasn't aware that my state of mind was other than I had indicated earlier and I didn't want him to know how this day was really affecting me, so I carried on in a light-hearted manner for the entire trip and tried staying cheerful throughout the day.

It was a lovely wedding, The church service wasn't too long.  The wedding party, bridesmaids, maid of honor and ushers were all beautifully attired. The reception with it's scrumptious Hungarian Cuisine could take your mind off anything unpleasant. It was held in a cafe called European Delights, with facilities at the back for receptions.

When evening arrived, preparations were made for dancing and Mary's brothers, Johnny and Frank, provided
the music. They were musicians in a small four-man combo.

Mary is Czechoslovakian and one of their wedding customs is having the bride and groom lead the first dance while guests donate money that will give the couple a good start, by dropping it into a box. This started the dancing off.

I was just coming away from dancing with Les, when I noticed a very tall figure in a Houndstooth sports jacket. He was about 6'5" and lanky, about twentyish and very striking! His black hair was combed back and topped black eyebrows above intense brown eyes that seemed to be searching the room. The composite of his face was extremely handsome. He was a head-turning and attractive young man.

Les was headed for one of our friends' wives as I began a conversation with another friend, Bob Pemberton. Bob  looked over my shoulder and when I turned to see--wonder of wonders-- the young man.

He smiled and said, "May I have this dance."  

My stomach lurched but not knowing who he was I hesitated a moment as I got lost in his eyes before returning the smile and consenting. When I touched his shoulder with my left hand and he took my right hand into his, I felt a "Zap" that traveled through me.

I asked, "Which side of the family are you from?"
He said, "Neither. I was in the cafe finishing dinner when I heard the music. I came back here to see what was happening. Do you think it's alright?"

"I don't really know, I suppose it's alright."

He then said, "What will you be doing tonight?"

Wow, that was fast, I thought. "I'm attending this wedding, why?"

"I wondered if you'd like to go somewhere else with me. One of my Frat friends is having a party later."

"I guess you haven't noticed." I took my left hand off his shoulder and displayed my wedding ring.

"Oh, I see," he said with a bit of a flush to his face. "You're married; as usual, my luck!"

I nodded and smiled back saying, "You sound as if this happens to you often."

He said, "No it doesn't but I was hoping."

I looked up at him and said, "I am sorry. That would have been nice. A Frat party; are you attending the University of Toronto?"

"Yes, I am. I just moved here last year and some of my friends are having a party tonight. There are a few of us that haven't gone home for the summer."

"And where is home?" I asked.

"Well, right now, it's Cuba, but I've lived most of my life in Hungary."

"Are your parents living in Cuba?"

"No, I emigrated with their very good friend, my godfather. Since the war ended, we've been traveling; first Paris and then to Cuba where we are temporarily settled."

The music ended and I looked up and as our eyes connected; they held, and I got lost in the meaningful expression I thought I saw. Oh, he was so handsome!  Immediately flustered my heart thumped and I didn't want to leave.  His arm was still around me with his hand on my back.  I reluctantly disengaged from his hold, smiled, and said, "Welcome to Canada and good luck; so sorry about the party."

He said, "Thank you, yes I'm sorry about the party too."  He had been holding my hand very tightly before I took it away.

I turned and headed back to our table.  Les was leaving the dance floor too, and he turned his head and rested scrutinizing eyes on my departing dance partner.

As I too watched him leave the hall, I had the odd feeling that this wasn't the last of him. I couldn't get him out of my mind for the rest of the evening and right on to the next day and the next and the next. I kept seeing his intense brown eyes looking into mine and I still felt the grasp of his hand holding mine, tightly.

This was very unsettling. I knew I was quite vulnerable at this stage of my life, with all that wasn't happening in my marriage, after almost two years. It was not just that he was so handsome it was also the fact that he sought me out among that crowd and I needed that feeling of being needed or wanted. The lurching of my stomach and the " Zap" right through me was telling me that it wasn't a passing fancy. I didn't even know his name, yet he was all I could think about.

The fact that I met him on this date* did not escape me. It was a warning that did not bode well with me. All this was spelling troubled times ahead. I had to deal with this somehow to calm the troubled waters and defuse the yearning I was experiencing. I analyzed it to death. I came up with a solution or so I thought. I would find out who he was and get in touch with him. I didn't want to lose track of him in other words, I wanted him in my life, but it could only be as a friend. Would he believe me? I would soon find out.

I phoned European Delights and described the young man and the person on the phone immediately replied. "Yes, that is Yegenya."

I asked, "Is that his name?"

He said, "No, it means tall tree, I don't know his name."

"Does he eat there often?"

"Yes, he does."

"May I leave a message?"

He said "Sure."

I then left my name and the phone number of my employers Currier & Smith.

Two days later he called me at work. He said, "Have we met?"

"Yes, at the wedding in European Delights, last Saturday.  We danced."

He immediately answered, "And you're married."

To which I answered in a low voice, "Yes, that is me but please don't get the wrong idea. I have been thinking about you and have decided I would like to meet with you to discuss something if you are free for lunch one day this week."

He said,  "Definitely." 

We arranged to meet at a restaurant on Yonge Street, the next day at noon.

To be continued...

Social friends...
John Foster 'Moose' Les's friend and baseball partner
Ted Leach Les's best friend & June Waring
Don Craig & Mary Kosiak
Ewan Whitman & Shirley Newton
Ken Sharpton & Ann Taylor
Bob Pemberton & Jackie Summers
Bill & Peggy Cook
Bob Cook 
Joan & George Hudson
Jay & Shirley Jasper
Jack Philips & Carol Crawford
Shirley Stubbs

The woman added beside a man, eventually married that man.


Share Your Story contest entry


The book continues with The Meeting. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.

Author Notes
Just a portion of Roseanna Emilia's life. A work. of fiction based on true events.
Pays one point and 2 member cents. Artwork by Susan F. M. T. at

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