“I caught my reflection in the glass as I reached to open the door. Even with contact lenses I was still a myopic kid with Coke-bottle glasses. My muffler and gingham overcoat looked exactly as they were: stolen from the Sally Ann, not British New Wave as my friend had promised.
I felt like an imposter. To some degree, I was.
They don’t know you here, a voice reminded me.
It was the same voice that had suggested I drop everything and move to Vancouver sight unseen. It was the voice of a hunch, born from advice delivered as an aside, telling me this was the answer to my prayers. This is why you came here, it said.
In retrospect, I don’t remember if it was momentum or destiny that pulled me through the door of Doll & Penny’s Café, but I do remember that time stood still and the first sound I heard was Petula Clark straining to drown out the orchestra with the lyrics to “Downtown.” The song resuscitated memories of linoleum floors, the smell of Pine-Sol and Sundays in front of the CBC. Outside it was 1988, but here, inside the café, time ceded to a state of perpetual memory, real or imagined.
Next to the “Wait to be seated” sign stood a fake plaster palm tree, a stark contrast to the asthmatic dampness of the late-October air. Halloween was two days away and the café was done up like the Addams Family mansion. Not that it needed decorating. It looked like the inside of a drag queen’s jewellery box — and smelled like a combination of mould and pee…”
Tony’s reading from his book was very special.
I was elated to purchase two copies of the book (one for me, of course; the other for Anna T Fabulous, of course) and have Tony sign them!!!
Then my friend bought two prints for me. Having my artist/colleague/hero Ken Boesem sign them MADE MY DAY!!!!!
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