This is the third chapter of Waterloo Region Tiny Love Stories. To read the introduction and Chapter One, click here and to read Chapter Two, click here.
I fell in love over double baked antijitos and pitchers of Mill Street Organic, under dim lights with the constant hum of conversation filling the room.
I found a family at Ethel’s, that family was making a newspaper, that newspaper was the Community Edition. Can you love a newspaper? I think so. I even think, it may have loved me back.
It filled my belly the first time I had it — Belmont Bistro was my new found love. A salad topped with poached eggs and of course that side of sausages. It was love at first sight. Love that let me stick to my keto diet and helped me fall in love with myself. It’s an every Saturday ritual which has turned into a deeper love with my boyfriend — how can you not connect over food?
We met at a bar in Waterloo in 2000 (where I broke my rule about never dating boys I met in bars), and we haven’t gone a day without talking since. Within months, we were engaged,and then we eloped, getting married underneath the gorgeous vine-covered gazebo in Waterloo Park on a perfect June day, 13.5 years ago.
I was never one for all the bravado (brovado) of the gym. However the downtown Goodlife, before it closed at the end of the year, was a beautiful mix of non-assuming diversity. This place became a cornerstone of my mental health regime — regularly working out with two close friends — and contemplating life in the sauna. I’m blessed with a wonderful circle of genuine, caring friends.
Snow is glistening onto the smooth ice rink at Carl Zehr Square. We find ourselves admiring the busy streets and city lights surrounding us. Our blades hit the ice, hand-in-hand, we share giggles of nervous excitement through a fresh, new activity shared together. “Don’t fall!” He says to me as I look up at him and forget the cold shivers in my legs. Instead I’m full of the warm love he emits into my world and in that moment, I wish I could freeze time.
– Marwah Hammoud
It was a class at Laurier that I was dreading, it ran at night and wasn’t easy to follow. By the second class I knew it was going to be tough, but then he walked in. He didn’t notice me at first but needed to borrow someone’s notes for the class he missed. I was happy to help. On the third class we both showed up early for a chance to chat. It is over 30 years later and I still have those notes, and the guy!
– Sandra Wilson
On the dock, you kissed me, Laurel Conservation Area the backdrop of this first date. There was laughter, and two grins: you and I, becoming us. We almost splintered in another park; I forget the name, as you drove. I remember feeling cold as the streets rolled by. On the rocks, you begged for forgiveness. I provided it. Now, I look back and wonder if I should regret such. For, in Belmont Village, I learned of your misdeeds. Harm you’d provided to others, not love but lust — this city where we were built, in it, now the ashes burn.
I remember when we’d sit in the cherry tree in our backyard on Crosby Drive. I would laugh until my belly hurt when you spat fruit out of your mouth, realizing there had been a worm burrowed in the cherry you were eating. Do you remember the blow-up pool where we tended to a turtle that had been run over, or the sunflowers we planted by the fence? We’re so much older now, but I often think of those magical Kitchener summers with our freckly noses and bare feet.
It was a fine summer’s day, with a cool breeze in the air and sunlight flooding in through the windows as I sat down at DVLB for my first date with some guy I met on Tinder. There was nothing special about my date whatsoever, but the connection I made with the cafe’s Chai Latte is real and everlasting.
– Fairytales are real
Classic server/cook relationship. He was a dishwasher and I was a server at Sole Restaurant & Wine Bar. We were both finishing up our degrees at UW and I remember when he got promoted from dishwasher to garde manger and he turned hisbackwards ball cap to the front with a crooked grin because he was in the “big leagues now.”
That was 12 years ago. One wedding, two careers, two little boys, one Kitchener mortgage, and over a decade of laughter later, he is still the light of my life and even now rocking a backwards ball cap and making me the best damn salads ever.
I watched streets roll by, thinking of the places touched by our presence. Everywhere I looked, I saw the ghost of us: where we’d laughed and kissed. I then saw the driveway in which I’d yelled that I was jealous; I had wanted to know you cared. Grief my new companion, its presence made itself known as I headed to Fairview Mall. It was as if it knew that though I could look, nothing would replace you. Pulling into the parking lot, all I desired was to be back at university, far away from where we’d built, only to crumble.
We read all of the same books, didn’t we? Courtship at the Scholastics book fair, we would swap reviews and longing filled lists of what we hoped to read next. We would check each other’s spelling, share gel pens, and pressed our mittened hands together in secret during our skating field trip. The smell of paste and pencil shavings still lingers when I think of Crestview school, the receptacle of my first encounter with love.
We both worked at the Gateway Chapters (RIP), and she asked me to see a movie. I wanted to hold her hand, but since I was moving away in a couple weeks, I weirdly just pinched her arm instead. While I was away, we texted and Skyped non-stop, and as soon as I came back we started dating. Less than a year later we were married, and now six years and lots of adventures later, we have a beautiful one-year-old daughter,a growing collection of books, and just the start of a lifetime of wonderful memories.