This is part of a serialized fictional group blog about dating in Vancouver.
“Miss Kitka seeks Batman,” Estelle, at the computer, read out loud as she typed her opening line into the appropriate box on the intimate section of Yummylife. Behind her, Karla and Alice made out on the couch. “Estelle that’s great,” Alice said, her words muffled by a kiss.
Alice thought the best of everyone. Estelle waited for Karla to speak the truth.
“Do better,” Karla said, then kissed Alice again.
"You guys," Estelle said, and shook her head. Why did her gay friends get along so well and always seem to have so much fun, Estelle thought, feeling annoyed by the whole idea that queers might have cornered the happiness market. Estelle sighed and deleted Miss Kitka. She closed her eyes and the images of happy couples advertised on the Yummylife site faded to be replaced by scenes from the marriage she had left in the outskirts of Lytton nine months before: the Toronto businessman turned cowboy husband, determined to forge a life from the bitter dust in the Fraser canyon.
Karla and Alice slid apart.
“What’re you doing up, Little Cutie?” Alice said.
“When’re you coming to bed, Mommy?” Jamie, wrapped in a blanket, held out both arms to Estelle.
“It doesn’t matter when,” not-Miss Kitka said. She got up and gathered Jamie in her arms. He still fit in her arms, a neat, portable package.
“C’mon,” she said and walked the short distance from the living room to the bedroom. She opened the door. Luca and Matteo slept with their arms thrown over each other on a rubber mattress. She edged around their mattress, being careful not to bump it and dropped Jamie down in the double bed. She pulled the covers up to his chin and kissed his freckled nose. “Stay in bed,” she said. Gentle, but firm, she thought.
“No," he said.
Inside, she wavered. Poor Jaime, she thought, stricken with guilt and a pressing need to get back to the computer. Her precious sons were being raised by a single mother. What would become of him? Of them?
"Good night, Mom," he sighed. She struggled around the bed, and the dog yelped. "Sorry, Hermione," she whispered. Hermoine gave her a reproachful look and put her head back down on Matteo's arm.
Karla and Alice opened the folding couch and smoothed the sheets. They had come from Lytton to hang out with the kids and help them through this difficult time. They were the best aunts a kid could have.
“You are angels not women,” Estelle told them for the fiftieth time since they had arrived a month ago. “I’ll just be another minute or two. I just have to get this right.”
She pulled her chair back up to her desk. Outside, the city glimmered and seethed. The Shaw tower and the tent like roof of the convention centre stood where the concrete nearly met the sea. A train clattered down the tracks and sounded an explosion as it connected with another train.
Her divorced friends had told her to expect the first year out of her marriage to be the hardest of her life. They’d also said to expect the first relationship to include incredible sex. They'd been right about the former, but what about the latter?
Alice and Karla slipped into bed. They whispered and laughed while Estelle scrolled through the men in the Yummylife intimate section. A friend told her it all happened here and not to even bother with the "dating" and "relationship" sections of the site. It felt odd and interesting and completely off-kilter to be looking for love inside her computer, but she couldn't go out. She couldn't just leave the kids. Having a single mother was bad enough but having an absent single mother would be unthinkable. Engaging with computer people kept her entertained. And amused, she thought as she came upon the profile a Sir Mountalot.
Outside, from the street a drunken person roared, “Try and make me go to a shelter, bitch.”
She put her headphones on and the sound of Nelly Furtado drowned the street noise out. Estelle read profiles of men holding fish in their arms. Men on motorbikes. Men on motorbikes with fish in their arms. Inappropriate fellas of every shape and ethnic background. And the dreaded flasher shots of parts meant to be private.
She knew when she left her marriage, it would all be over. She knew she would never be loved and she would probably never have sex again. For who would want to date a single mother with three young boys?
“Whatever,” she whispered, using that word that her sons employed to dismiss the world with. “I may be alone. I may be alone forever, but I've got my children and, I’m free.”
The recollection of her freedom made her giddy and strong.
Exhausted, but elated, Estelle typed into the computer:
Demi Moore seeks hot younger lover to take away her post-marriage virginity.
And hit send.