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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Friday, October 20, 2006

lunch in town

The sun is back, streaming at a 45-degree angle, barring my blue office wall through the venetian blinds.

I had lunch downtown with my sisters--all three of them: Mara, Lisa, Shannon. We seldom get together as a group (the last time was about three years ago, at Lisa's instigation as always, to have a photo taken to give to Dad), but I really enjoy it.

We met at the Steamworks Brewing Company in Gastown, right by Granville Waterfront Station where I get off the SeaBus. It's a busy, popular place with dark wooden tables and bars in a remodeled 19th-century building. The little table was barely large enough to hold our four large plates. Without intending it, the three women all ordered the same salad--some kind of Indian-influenced thing that came with papadum. I had the special chicken and blue cheese on a baguette.

"I'm not ready to be one of the girls yet," I said.

The talk first of all was of Mara's elder daughter Chella, who had just found an apartment downtown after weeks of searching--apparently a real find in a newish building at Howe and Davie, a ninth-floor suite with full utilities, hardwood floors, and granite counters. Not bad for a 22-year-old and her roommate. Interestingly, Mara's younger daughter Clare had also found digs in Vancouver just days before--a suite in a house in Kitsilano, shared with three friends.

Shannon, the youngest, also has two daughters, aged three and one, and I got to talking about one of my favorite subjects, astrology, answering questions about their charts (I have these loaded on my Palm). It was all very animated, with much back and forth--a lot of fun. I'm an Aquarius, Mara and Shannon are both Libras, and Lisa's a Leo. But I was getting into the intricacies of reading the Moon sign and rising sign, and how these reflect our emotional nature and our coping skills respectively. Shannon seemed delighted to hear about how her girls reflect their astrological signs: her moody and emotional eldest, Emily, the Cancer; and her impulsive go-getter one-year-old Chloe, the Aries (right on the cusp of Pisces, so also compassionate and caring, tenderly tucking in her little plush toys).

Lisa had a meeting to get to back at Environment Canada, and Shannon had to return to her mites, whom she'd left with a neighbor and her daughters. Lisa had a busboy take a photo of the four of us, and we headed into the cool sunshine of October.

Lisa and I walked together as far as Waterfront Station, where we were surprised to see a chase: a short, rumpled, long-bearded homunculus of a man sprinted across Cordova Street with first one, then two more, security guards in hot pursuit. The thief (I'm assuming it was a thief) was running as though for his life on his short little legs. The lead guard, a short, stocky man himself, in black, was also running as fast as he could, with adrenaline-charged energy. The thief dashed in front of cars on Seymour Street, right across the flow of traffic. I thought that would give the guards pause, but not so--they dashed right after him. The fleeing man then cut onto Cordova, again plunging right out into traffic, and out there, at the yellow center-line, the little black-clad guy caught him and hauled him down. The other guards ran up to pin him to the pavement while cars crept around them. I admired the lead guard, because the grizzled little thief had done his best to escape. It was a raw physical contest, and he lost fair and square.

Lisa and I embraced, and I went in to catch the SeaBus back to North Van.

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