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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 37 page 06


She stares at the curtains, her eyes unfocussed. “They say the script is lacking creatively. The script that everyone loves, they say is bad.” Her fingers tighten around the cell phone. “I want to throw a rock through their fucking Range Rovers!” Abruptly, with a sneering expression, she flings the phone against the wall. It makes a gash in the drywall and clatters to the floor.

“Hannah?” Brendan looks at her, his head to one side. “You okay?”

“Would you stop asking me that?” Her look to him is full of irritation. “That was six years of my life! To come this far only to get dumped?” She falls backwards on the bed and stares at the ceiling. “I can’t believe how — I can’t believe it.”

“Well, think about Errol. He had a finished movie taken—”

I’m not Errol!” Hannah bolts upright, her voice sharp. “I don’t care about Errol! I’m not Errol or Gareth. I’m me. I have to stand up for myself and fight for what I believe in. Fine for Errol, he’s got his name on eight fucking features—”

“Would you stop being so angry, Hannah? Please?”

“If you stop being like my teacher, all right? I don’t care if you want to tell me something, Brendan. Or advise me. Just don’t be a sanctimonious prick about it. You always act like you know the way things are going to go but maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re the guy who says everything’s fine when nothing’s fine.”

“Hannah, you’re behaving—”

“And stop guilting me! I have to tell you something, Brendan. Can I say something? I’m just going to say this because otherwise I’m going to go out of my fucking mind. I mean I know you’ve been patient while I’ve been a bitch on this series but sometimes you have this fiction in your head that I’m this reckless go-getter bitch and I’m getting tired of it. Because every time I get the least bit emotional you try to take the piss out of me and shut me down. And if you keep doing it, I swear, I will drop you from my life. Sometimes I just have to be angry and no amount of rationalizing is going to help.”

“I’m not talking about rationalizing, Hannah. I’m talking about making the right decisions so you can put together a career.”

“But that’s not what happens! The way you say it, everything always makes sense because you figure out some way to be right. Then I think, ‘What’s this guy done lately? Why isn’t he onstage getting the award?’”

“Okay. True. Maybe. But I’m not going to lie to people or fuck them over.” Brendan re-belts his bathrobe. “Because the way I treat people is creating the way I can expect to be treated back. I don’t want to make that many enemies.”

“Maybe a person afraid of making enemies is a person afraid of life. I don’t know. I don’t know if I care if everybody likes me, Brendan. I mean, I know what you’re saying is right, I do, but sometimes you just have to say fuck it and go your own way, you know. Is it fair? No. Is it reality? Yes.”

“I don’t think it’s worth the long-term bad karma.”

“Which is why nine years after your only movie you’re still pissing into your crosswords.” She raises a hand, contrite. “I’m sorry. I’m just reeling, okay?” She reaches for a pillow and holds it to her lap. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know what lesson I’m supposed to learn.” She wipes some wetness from her eyelid. “Maybe I’m not corrupt enough to be successful. I mean, is this what happens? Is this what we do — create these dramas for ourselves? All the shit that’s going on in Darfur or Cape Breton and here we are creating our own little dramas in Toronto? In the amount of time allotted to us? On this place called Earth? Because there’s got to be more to life than the circle of people we fuck and do business with. Small world? Not really. We have small lives but the world out there is big, big.” She bites her lower lip. “And I hate all of it.”

“Let’s get out of this room,” says Brendan. “We’ll blow off the gala. I’ll take you to dinner.” He bends down and kisses the top of her head. But at this touch, Hannah’s hand shoots into the air. “Just don’t fuck with me right now,” she says. “Go have your shower. I’ll be fine. Really.” She makes a quick, mechanical smile at him then gazes at the floor, silently listening as Brendan walks into the bathroom.

When the shower starts, Hannah rises from the bed and shoves the window curtains open. The sky is clear. Her look turns from its blueness to the street below. On a crosswalk, two women hurry across the street, both wearing red pants. Hannah watches them. “No one in this city knows how to dress,” she says. The fallen cell phone begins to ring on the carpet behind her. Hannah retrieves it. “Hello?” she says. “Errol! Didn’t Brendan get back to you? I’m so sorry.” To support herself, she puts her free hand on the dresser. “What am I wearing? Errol, you sure you have the right number?” She arches her back and shifts her weight from one leg to another. “Oh you mean to the gala. What am I wearing tonight?” She listens a moment then bends forward with musical laughter. “Oh, Errol, my virgin ears! Well, you know me.” Her voice slips into a lower, more intimate register. “Love galas. But actually, doll, I’m not sure about tonight. I have some reading to do.” She glances down at the manuscript. “A friend’s book, actually. A memoir. But I don’t think it’s your thing, Errol. It’s too sexy for you.” As the sounds from the shower indicate it is nearing its end, Hannah walks to the bathroom door and closes it. “You like the big wham-o stuff with explosions and superheroes. This is a nice piece. A love story. I don’t think it’s your thing at all. Why?” She listens again, her fingers playing with the hem of her slip. “To be honest, it’s not that good a book but it might make a brilliant movie. Because the story it wants to be?” She turns to look again into the clear blue sky. “I want to make that movie. For sure I’d make that movie. Who wouldn’t?”