Part 15: Crystal Sculptures on a Frozen Lake

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
Lois Lowry, The Giver

It was a new year and time for a new apartment.

I wanted to look into the possibility of getting a condo, an investment for me and Jordy. However, her parents took us out to dinner and explained why a condo was a bad idea. They would buy a house, we would rent one of the apartments in it for just slightly more rent than we were currently paying, and we’d work as the landlords. They said the place would basically be ours and made it sound as appealing as a large cottage built of gingerbread and cakes with window panes of clear sugar, which you might find in the middle of the woods—in a story by the Brothers Grimm.

I was hesitant. Jordy was not.

Her and her mom went looking for a place. We moved to the High Park Area.

There were three apartments in the building.

I thought it would be best to take the top one since there was more room, and rooms; we could have a guest bedroom for when people came to visit, I could set up an office and Jord could set up her keyboard. It was the most practical, and it would best suit our needs.

Jordy liked the one on the main floor. It was cute.

We moved into the main floor.

I think that was February.

Lavender was getting positive reviews from multiple people. I released the script on-line and got some great feedback on both the story and my writing style.  One person commented that they were so frightened at one point they closed their eyes, and then remembered that they were reading, and not watching, a film. They also said that they were re-reading it to see how I’d done it. That was good to hear. I wondered if I should reread it to see how I’d done it, too.

I was still at the St. Lawrence Centre, and getting more film work, day calls, here and there, and I was going down to the farm once a month, (weather permitting).

Near the end of March we got a phone call. Dad was in the hospital. We had to come down. Mike and his family were going to be coming in from BC. Trish from England. And Dan and his family from Milwaukee.

In the summer, just before, a large contingent of Mom’s cousins had made the trip up to the Frizzell family farm, from Milwaukee. We toured the county in the day, and the Thousand Islands, went for dinner and played darts in the Toucan, in Kingston, and had celebrations every night at the farm in Cressy. We sat around a fire, on lawn chairs and multi-coloured bar stoles that I’d made out of old milk cans. We visited, told stories and jokes, and played Pictionary on a large wipe board.

Dad played, You Are My Sunshine, on the accordion.

That was the summer. This was March. An unpredictable month at best—lions and lambs.

In the hospital, before everyone else arrived, Mom and Dad’s minister, Pat, was there, sitting next to Dad in the waiting room at the end of the hall. Mom, Jordy and I were there as well.

“I always said I wanted my body to go before my mind,” Dad told Pat.

“That ship sailed some time ago, didn’t it, Art?” Reverend Pat said.

Everyone laugh, especially Dad.

“Boys, oh boys, oh boys,” Dad said.

I snuck away. Made some excuse. I went downtown to the jewelry store.

Dad might not be able be around to see me achieve any degree of success at my chosen profession, or even to see me get married, but I knew who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and I knew that Dad loved her, too. I wanted to wait until things were a little more solid career wise, but time wasn’t going to afford me that.

I picked out a ring. However, I didn’t buy the ring that day. Whenever I had bought anything for Jordy, even remotely related to fashion, it always ended up in a drawer somewhere never to be seen again. Except for the Claddagh ring I got her. She always wore it, except when she slept.

The next morning I stole the Claddagh ring off her night stand.

She asked me if I’d seen it.

I said, no.

I asked her to go for a walk with me.

We walked along the driveway, across the road, and down the lane to an ice-covered Lake Ontario. There had been freezing rain earlier in the week and the willows looked like glass sculptures as they reached for the frozen water while clinging to the shore.

I would later joke that I had to walk on water to get her to say yes.

But, yes, she said.

On a frozen lake, under crystal branches, I slipped the Claddagh onto her ring finger, as in Irish tradition, the heart, held by hands, was now protected by a crown: symbols of love, loyalty, and friendship.

We returned to the house told Mom. She was over-joyed.

Jord and I headed into town.  Jordy decided to go with the diamond ring that I’d picked for her the day before. From the jewelry store we went directly to the hospital.

“Thank you, for saying yes,” Dad jokingly said to Jordy.

“Of course,” Jordy said.

Dad didn’t leave us that month. A few weeks later he was in Toronto, in our new apartment, for Easter, which also happened to be the weekend of his 80th Birthday.

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