hesitating to merge

On my way to dinner I merge off of Deerfoot Trail at 100km/hr onto Memorial. The driver in front of me to the left decides to merge into my lane and then she hesitates, slams on her brakes and wiggles about unsure if it’s too late to get back onto the main highway, waiting for an opening. I have to slam on my brakes so hard, there’s nowhere to go, I nearly smash right into her and the guy behind me nearly smashes right into me. Blink! Dead! Gone. My heart thumps in my chest. Why? Why, did I almost die? Because this idiot can’t make up her mind where she’s going?! Hesitation can be deadlier than speed.
Once I catch my breath I yell at the Lexus in front of me, the woman in sunglasses and a movie star scarf: “I’m Nora’s mother! I just met the man of my dreams! I’m an actor and I don’t have an understudy! I don’t have an understudy for any of it! You f’ing moron!”

It takes me twenty more minutes to get to Bina and Andrew’s house and my heart is still pounding when I get there. I am, however, immediately charmed by their turn of the century home and the warm embrace they both give me when the front door opens. My traffic scare evaporates. I have never met Andrew but I’ve heard about him so much and he’s engagingly genuine – I just have to give him a hearty hug. He loves Bina so I love him. No hesitation.

Their home is classy and cozy at the same time with unexpected stashes of sports gear in various corners of every room. They are both training for a Thanksgiving marathon. This is how Bina does 50. Andrew is at peace with the fact he’ll likely get “chicked” (left in the dust of a few female runners). We grin and chat our faces off and then they whisk me away to an excellent Greek restaurant: Kuzina on 17th Ave.Unknown-2

As we sip a sexy earthy Sicilian wine and dive into our saganaki, Bina leans in towards the mood candle, light flickering in her beautiful big brown eyes, a kid at a camp fire, “Tell me a story! I live for stories. I get Andrew to make them up for me all the time.”

“They’re terrible!” He interjects.

Bina assures, “No, no, they’re pretty good!”

I watch their familiar adoring banter, and think to myself, “You two are my story. You are the best story there is.”

If the name Bina sounds familiar to you, my readers, it is because she was one of the magical ten women who came to Italy. I hiked the Cinque Terra with her. She’s a childhood friend of Anita’s. Bina was a “quiet little brown girl” (her words not mine), puzzling over her homework, long solemn braids. Her family life sounds to me like it was on the sunny side of abject hell. She was befriended by the gregarious Anita and a great gaggle of girls that continued to be friends well into their adult years. I don’t know much about her history except her mother died the day before her wedding day and a few other details like that. You think it might gut a girl. But no. Bina is perhaps the most vibrant woman I know. She bursts. She leaps. She strides. She’s like that one day of sun in a Vancouver February. IMG_0831

Something else I love about Bina is her loyalty. Not just to Anita but to Jane Fonda. I think she did her exercise VHS tape for at least one decade: longer than leg warmers lasted, longer than aerobics onesies lasted, long after Jane Fonda stopped wearing pink spandex tights. She was a divorced single Mom for quite a few years, raising a teenaged son on the spectrum: he’s brilliant and beloved but the road hasn’t been easy. After being on her own for a long time, she decided to try online dating. “It’s a numbers game, Lucia.” And she met her “dream man”, as she describes him: Andrew. You could say he’s just a bit of a catch. He’s a tender hearted athletic handsome doctor who specializes in treating children. Yeah. The most ambitious mother in the world couldn’t have dared to order that one out of a catalogue for their daughter. And if anyone deserves to meet someone awesome, it’s Bina.

What particularly moves me about meeting him is: he most obviously loves Bina (who is crazy about him) but he also loves her son. He speaks about him several times with such affection and respect.

“Oh I’ve talked too much!” Protests Bina. “Tell me everything! Tell me everything about your life, Lucia!”

I joke, “You already know everything about my life, you read my blog. But I suppose if I did talk more I wouldn’t drink more than my share of this magnificent Sicilian wine!”

We agree the wine tastes like the kind of dirt that grows a great garden. I have taught Bina how to smile for a photo and she has taught me the importance of good socks. (she gave me a bouquet of socks “instead of flowers” after the show!) Unknown-3

Bina and Andrew. What’s not to love? They’re hip and sports-nerdy and order great wine. They work with children, they love the arts and they throw back their heads when they laugh. I want to stay in their beautiful turn of the century home with its old fashioned wooden parlour, claw foot tub and Quebec bedspread in the guest room. I think I have particular fondness for them because they had the courage to go out and find each other. There were nights I lay myself wearily down in bed and looked over at the still flat bedspread to my right. The unused pillow still holding its breath. And I would dare…just barely dare…to believe…”it’s just a number’s game, Lucia.”

I ask Andrew, after hearing some of his own story, “Did you have any hesitation when you met Bina or were you pretty sure…?” He grins, “Well, the moment I saw her, I thought: wow! She’s absolutely gorgeous! And smart-!” Bina interjects by swatting him, “I’m not that smart- he always says I’m smart” He continues- “And smart and real and warm-” Bina laughs, “I was seeing a couple of guys to tell you the truth, but after meeting Andrew in person I dropped the rest of them like hot potatoes!”

I did start online dating because of Bina. But, as you know, I didn’t expect to ACTUALLY meet anyone. I mean, I’m not a marathon running Bina with a great job and a good pension, now am I? I was thinking I would date thirty people and write a play about all the curiosities and failures. But something deep down in me hoped I would luck out.

And I did. And no, my mother would not have dared to order my Fellow out of a catalogue for me either. I remember on our first date he cupped his huge warm hands over mine and asked to go steady and I did not hesitate to merge.

There are times when I think to myself, “This is going so fast!” But then…my Fellow reminds me, the way is clear and we know where we want to go. We drive straight and calm and sure, right into the heart of love.IMG_1661

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