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by Adam Kelly Morton

The first time I walked into the salon, I was carrying a white and green umbrella — a bank umbrella with Montreal Trust written on it in black. You told me you hated umbrellas because you were so tall, everyone would poke you in the eye with them.

You were tall with long rust-red hair, freckles and a shelf-round ass. Always a smoker and a runner. Fit, like a hare. Your lithe, long, white body excellent. In the salon on Rue Chic, you would cut my hair with Greek scissors that cost $800 and made no sound.

You came to see my play, about a man looking for love in Montreal, and I asked you out. We agreed on Café Cérise. Surrounded by French people, eating French food, we talked about art (you loved to paint) and theatre (I loved to pretend). After, we went across the street to Bar St. Cabot to play pool. You were good. Your ass stuck out as you took your shots. We went back to your place, a white loft on Ste. Lièvre. We were thirty-seven and not old. The sex was strong, adult. We knew what to do for each other. The Parisian guy downstairs complained about our noise.

After a while I moved in. Our friends became friends, and started dating each other. I called you Jump. You called me Dog.

You said you wanted a kid, that your clock was ticking. So I fucked you on your good times.

Then I started noticing that you always went along. Whatever I wanted worked for you. I pushed you to leave hairdressing, because you hated it. Become a painter. Mount a show. Which you did. You even sold a few works, including one of a voracious, yellow hound devouring a rabbit.

You came to all of my performances. You hosted my cast parties. We flew to BC to meet your folks. When it was time to have sex, I didn’t want to. Too on the clock. I hitchhiked away to a town called Kimberley. Found a café and wrote about how I didn’t love you anymore. In the night mountains, I went to hitchhike back to your folks’ house, but nobody on the dark highway trusted me. You came to collect me in your father’s truck. We flew back to Montreal and broke up.

Then we fucked again. You got pregnant. You lost it. I told you I was sorry, but I lied.

The last time we spoke, you told me to get therapy. You took up with the guy who lived downstairs and moved away to Paris. Took a job in another salon, Chez Lapine, in the fourth arrondissement. I got therapy, got married, had four kids.

Every once in a while, I imagine you walking around the streets of Paris with your long strides forward, your soundless scissors, your wet rust hair.

I still have the umbrella, and use it sometimes. My kids do too.

Adam Kelly Morton is a Montreal-based husband, father (four kids, all six-and-under), acting teacher, gamer, filmmaker, and writer. He has been published in The Junction, Anti-Heroin Chic, Fictive Dream, The Fiction Pool, Open Pen, and Talking Soup, among others. He is currently working toward a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Teesside University, UK.