Short Stories - non fiction


In the summer of 1983 I dated a guy by the name of Randy. Randy’s family owned a cottage up in the Laurentian Mountains, north of Montreal. It was a rustic place, and very remote. You had to park the car and take a boat across the lake to get there as there were no roads.

Randy’s sister Diane was the quiet type. Clearly very smart, not overly “happy” or outgoing, but very much in love with her boyfriend Gary. They worked together assembling airplanes at Canadair, just outside of Montreal. From time to time Gary, Diane, Randy and I would hang out together, mostly at the cottage in the Laurentians.

From what I knew of Gary, he loved two things. He loved Diane, and he loved cars. He had the cutest “candy apple red” MGB convertible. Gary loved that car, it was a beautiful sparkly red colour. That car was Gary’s baby.

Diane was a huge David Bowie fan. Bowie was performing at the Forum in Montreal in July of 1983, and the tickets sold out fast. Diane was dying to go to the concert, but tickets were very hard to come by. It was the concert where he sang such hits as “China Girl”. Gary managed to get tickets, I am not sure how, but he didn’t tell Diane. Instead, he took her out for dinner downtown Montreal, and after dinner he said “isn’t the Bowie concert tonight? Let’s go see the line up.” Diane went along with it, and didn’t ask questions. Gary acted strange the whole time “let’s just get in line”….he said. Diane thought he had lost it, but eventually he came clean and pulled out the tickets. Diane was over the moon excited. What a thrill!

Later that same summer, Gary and Diane were off work for the “Shut Down” of Canadair. I am going to guess that it was the last week of July, first week of August timeframe. Many of the construction workers take a holiday at the same time in Quebec. Anyway, Diane came up to the cottage with Randy and I. Gary had decided to go out for a drink with the staff after work to celebrate the start of the holiday, he was to drive up to the cottage later than evening.

We waited for Gary all night long. Where could he be? Rand and I were concerned, but Diane was beside herself. She knew that Gary had the bad habit of falling asleep at the wheel. We heard the news that we were dreading at around midnight. The police phoned a telephone number that they found in Gary’s wallet, it was a friend of theirs. The friend called the cottage and informed us that Gary’s candy apple red car had flipped over, he was pinned under the car and killed instantly.

As I look back on that time, I have such mixed emotions. I wish that Gary had never driven that night, if he had waited and come up to the cottage in the morning, he would not have fallen asleep. His actions were likely driven by a desire to be with Diane. I am glad that I had the chance to know Gary. Memories fade over the years, people come and go from your life, but some will never be forgotten.


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