Mona by Crad Kilodney
It’s difficult to write about Mona. I’ve never told anyone this story. There’s a lot I have to leave out.
I could have married Mona in 1994. She was one of the few women in my life who wanted to marry me. She was also one of the most beautiful women I ever loved — slim, with long blonde hair and blue eyes – and she was intelligent and affectionate. I remember the moment when she was sitting on my bed naked, with one leg folded up against her chest, her chin on her knee, and she said, “I know I’d be good for you.”
I believe she would have been, but of course I’ll never know. Our relationship lasted only a few months. We didn’t have an argument or anything. She just became suspicious and frustrated when I was mysteriously unavailable at certain times. I couldn’t tell her why. And I can’t set the truth on paper because it hurts too much. Anyway, she just never came back. She moved, and I didn’t know her new number or address. I remember I had recently sent her a Valentine card. (She had once remarked that she expected men to send her Valentines if they really cared.) I didn’t get one back.
I took Mona’s departure as an act of Fate. It simplified a situation I was in. I couldn’t have simplified it myself. So in a way I was relieved, although I always felt bad that I had hurt her, because I did love her a lot, even if she doubted it.
The interval that followed can’t be written about. It’s another story, recorded in detail in my diaries, which are safely locked away in an archive until my death.
About two years later, I had a dream about Mona. I hadn’t been thinking about her, so I don’t know why I would dream about her, unless it was a sort of divine sign. In the dream I was trying to find Mona at a sort of race track where amateurs drove hot rods around. It was night, but the grounds were brightly lit. There were lots of people going on amusement park rides and milling about. Suddenly I saw Mona in a convertible with a few other people. The car she was in appeared only briefly. I tried to flag it down. She went past, waving at me and smiling, obviously enjoying herself. Then she was gone. I desperately wanted to find her, to tell her I loved her and wanted her back. Then the dream changed, and I was searching for her on a grid of paths like some sort of miniature railroad. I stopped at “information points” and enquired about her, but the people knew nothing or gave information that was old and unreliable. There was some sort of directory, like a phone directory, but she wasn’t listed. I went back and forth, sometimes outdoors, sometimes indoors, stricken by the hopelessness of it all. When I awoke, I was in a state of mind difficult to describe. Call it a mania or funk. I lay in bed for a long time, overcome by emotion and the extraordinary vividness of the dream.
When I finally roused myself out of bed, I went out on a little errand to the Greenwin Square Mall at Bloor and Huntley Streets. Sitting outside the rear entrance was a blonde who bore a striking resemblance to Mona. She was having a smoke. I had never seen her before, although I go to that mall frequently. That woman served as a catalyst. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. When I returned home, I decided that the gods had given me a sign and that I must get in touch with Mona as soon as possible. Yes, I would propose marriage to her without any preamble! I would correct my mistake from years before.
Mona’s old number was useless. I no longer knew where she lived. She had been in Oakville, but she could be anywhere now. I decided to search every phone directory I could think of. Unfortunately, Mona had a common last name. I couldn’t very well call every listing beginning with the initial “M.” Nothing in the Toronto phone book looked promising based on street address, so I went to the reference library and began combing one regional phone book after another. I did this for two days.
I found a listing in Oakville I was sure had to be her. I copied the address and wrote her an effusive letter, telling her I was ready to buy her a wedding ring at once. Three days later, I started getting prank calls from a couple of kids. They must have thought my letter was a perfect opportunity to have some fun. (I put an end to the calls using a secret method, which is not important to explain.)
As a last resort, I did what I should have done in the first place: I called the university where Mona had been working part-time when we were together. After several calls, I reached an office where she was known. Yes, she still worked there but was leaving the country in two days! She’d be gone for a year! No, they couldn’t give out her home phone, as a matter of policy. Yes, they could relay a message. So I told them she was to call me and that it was urgent.
The next evening Mona called. “What’s this all about? What’s so urgent?” Her tone was only slightly annoyed, almost neutral.
“I love you and I want to marry you,” I blurted out.
“I’m married,” she said.
“I…I had no idea….I’m really sorry….I’m so sorry to intrude.”
“It’s okay. We’re leaving tomorrow for India for a year.”
“Oh, India….Yes, you always wanted to go to India.”
“I’ll give you a call when I get back.”
“So take care of yourself, okay?”
“Yes…I will….Have a good trip.”
“Thanks. I have to finish packing, so I have to say goodbye.”
“Okay, goodbye, Mona.”
I didn’t understand how this could have happened. The dream…the woman outside the mall….Why was I given such signs if they weren’t true?
There’s no good ending to this story. I can’t make the truth neater than it is. Mona never did call. She was just being polite to say she would. Well, that’s okay. I don’t fault her for it.
Some people believe in dreams and omens and signs. I guess I do, maybe sometimes. But when you dream of an ex-girlfriend for no evident reason, the minor gods are setting you up, just for their amusement. If they had your best interests at heart, you wouldn’t have lost her in the first place. So just let it go. She’s gone.
by Crad Kilodney
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Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9
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