This is the second chapter of Waterloo Region Tiny Love Stories. To read the introduction and Chapter One, click here.
I moved to Kitchener for a guy. A guy who shortly after my move, dumped me to go travel and “find himself” in a foreign country.
I promised myself I wouldn’t be here when he came back — but almost seven months later and I’m still here. I fell out of love with him but found myself falling in love with his city.
Grinning as I met you outside of Settlement, satisfaction warmed my blood as I saw you admire the cafe. Born in Guelph, you rarely ventured to Waterloo. I was glad you wanted to meet up. I was glad to be a reason you had driven here. Ordering coffee, blue cups in our hands, we settled in the back. People came and left, while we stayed there, vines the only eavesdroppers as we coursed through several topics. Light and serious, three hours soon passed. Driving me home, turning at King and University, I remember the fluttering of butterflies. Me: utterly smitten.
When my good friend (former TCE-EIC) Megan Nourse told me that I came up in a conversation with someone she ran into that day I was obviously intrigued.
“A friend of mine said that you two were talking on Tinder and you unmatched her.”
My face went bright red. I typed her name into the search bar on my computer and I realized that she had mistaken me for someone else. I hadn’t been having luck with dating since moving to Waterloo, despite the popularity of apps like Tinder and Bumble in the Region, but I was feeling confident and I decided to send her a message.
A month later we met at Victoria Park. The Joseph Street entrance.
– Kurtis Rideout aka Mr Hella Creatively Silenced by ur wack 100 word count
She was the start of everything beautiful. It was late when her hand reached for mine as we drove down King Street. This town in which I grew up — irrecoverably dull until she came along — slowly, intricately seemed to bloom; making everything a little more lovely. Falling in love with her felt easy, the way seasons change — a pleasant surprise and the most familiar stranger. The way the leaves are green one day and the next, you’re surrounded by clouds of orange — her favourite colour, she tells me, as we speed by the new fixtures of lights lining the street.
Even though we share a bed and fridge and forlorn greetings when I return home from school, I know that he is the one you love now. You have to do what feels right, and I hope you get all the beautiful things you deserve. I am forever grateful for the two years we shared together in Waterloo. And for the moment on the roller coaster that night when we arrived at the high point just before the first drop, when nothing else mattered and you were staring back just as scared as I was. The entire night sky lit up for us that evening.
– James G
Jogging the West Side trail, swirling leaves darted around my ankles, as I kept up my pace. Suddenly the breeze lifted the leaves. A flash caught my eye, revealing a woman’s mitten and a car key. I halted. The key hung precariously from a mitten string. Darkness was descending and the air was getting colder. Grabbing them, I ran back to the parking area.
There she was, her soulful eyes frantically searching left and right.
“Is this your key, I asked?” Her gratitude and smile were immediate. She bought me coffee and we’ve been jogging ever since.
We met outside a bar uptown, talking and laughing in the moonlight. Our first apartment was in midtown. We’ve lived in our house in Central Fred DTK for two years now. Pretty much fallen in love all over RoW.
We laughed, and you shook your head. I haven’t since you grin since then. But, I remember the sessions where you took me to climb. Patient, you belayed me as I headed up the walls at Grand River Rocks. Unlicensed, I couldn’t return the favour. Still, you didn’t mind. I appreciated that; I appreciate you. How we’d circle around the rooms, looking for the next route we would want to try. The encouragement we’d show, support given along with aid when requested. You introduced me to this sport, and now it doesn’t feel right without you. Please come back.
Her smile reminds of the night we met. We visited seemingly every bar uptown. We didn’t want the night to end.
The corner of King and University will always remind me of the night we spontaneously made our first promises to one another.
The drive towards Breslau on Victoria reminds me of the day we spent playing laser tag. We had the place to ourselves and we kept breaking the rules to kiss one another.
Every morning waking next to her, I am reminded of how lucky I am that she loves me.
I had visited Waterloo just prior to moving here and decided to give the abysmal, soul-sucking world of Tinder one last try. (I was bitter, okay?) You know when you’re furiously swiping left, crediting yourself with the ability to judge a person’s character on first impressions? By some miracle I didn’t swipe past her. I did drive past her CLV residence just hours before we matched. We fell in love in texts, audio clips, phone calls, in Waterloo.
Maya Angelou once said: “Have courage to trust Tinder one more time and always one more time.” Or … something like that.
– Rebecca A
We met working at summer camp, I loved everything about him from the very beginning. Through the years we explored ourselves and the boundaries of our friendship — talking endlessly, easy dates for the mutual friend wedding circuit, hazy life celebrations in my Kaufman Loft. Then randomly he met her. He introduced us and her eyes knowingly told me to back away. I wanted him to see me that clearly. I cried through the engagement and C-list wedding invite. Now they have two kids and I have a different version of myself. I don’t bother texting happy birthday anymore.
– Lost him to a woman whose name has one letter difference
Within a week of moving to midtown we were exploring the neighbourhood and found Mount Hope Cemetery. It was love at first sight. It was late October and the trees were dressed in their finest. Like any good civic space, the cemetery serves many residents in many ways. It’s a great green space in the heart of midtown that can be whatever you need it to be. I feel restored after my daily walk with my dogs Max and Scout. And every fall, when the trees are dressed in their finest, it is love at first sight all over again.
To read Chapter Three, click here.