The front door to the large apartment opened, and a mammoth apparition lumbered in and leaned on its beige wooden hockey stick. White plastic skate guards protected the silver blades of its black skates, which were so big that midgets could paddle in them. Hard plastic shin pads covered its massive calves, and warm woolen socks – red as fresh blood – were pulled up to the middle of its thick, sturdy twin-oak trees thighs. The bottom of its vinyl pants, which rode up and around its waist in order to protect the kidneys, were stuck into its socks. The giant’s head was hidden by a hard plastic white helmet; his mouth was covered by the double bars of a protruding chin strap, his chest was encased in a scarlet-hued sweater on which his team’s logo – COTE ST. LUC CRUSADERS – was printed in bold capital letters, and on the back, the numeral 4 was emblazoned as an homage to his idol, Jean Beliveau.
“Well, look who remembered his address!” Avrum hailed from his location on the sofa.
“Nice to see you, mein son!” Too bad we have to wait to the spring to remember what you look like.”
“Uh.” The apparition grunted. Sharon sulked in the armchair. Astonishingly, a voice emerged from under the armour of the hard plastic helmet, “You look upset.”
“Well I am!” Sharon pouted. The apparition leaned on his stick. “What’s the matter?” He asked solicitously.
“Oh Michael!” His sister erupted. “There’s going to be a BBC production of “The Three Sisters” on that new public station from Vermont tonight, and that amazing actor I saw in New York in June is playing Andrei – I saw him on TV in QBVII – he was absolutely stunning – and five days later – not even a week! – When me and Mummy went to New York and I saw that he was playing on Broadway – he came from the National Theatre in London – and Mummy chased him down 45th St. and she got his autograph and I was just dying of mortification and he kissed me! – And now he’s going to be on TV tonight and we don’t get the channel!”
“It’s Anthony Hop Hop Hopkins!”, Avrum re-enforced the significance of the event.
“Daaaaddy!” Sharon’s dark, almond-shaped eyes flashed.
“Oh.” The apparition acknowledged.
“God Michael! Why do I even bother trying to talk to you!” The Phantom stood forlornly in the hallway.
“Nu, Mr. Jean Beliveau the Second,” Avrum chirped, from the sofa. “Hang up your skates. Make yourself at home.”
“Hmm.” The apparition unlaced his skates, and exited into his bedroom. Sharon flung her long, slender torso back into the armchair.
“Sweetheart, would you like to do your homework again? I can help you.”
“Oh, alright.” Sharon was a drama student, though when it came to drama, she didn’t need much training. She retrieved her heavily pencil-marked script from her bedside table, on top of the drawer where she stashed her laxatives, returned to the livingroom, and handed it to her father. “Here.” She pointed to the scene she wanted to review. “I could use a line drill here.”
Sharon’s father adjusted his reading glasses, put aside the spy memoir, held the script with one hand, rested the back of his other hand on his forehead, kicked off the top cushion from the mountain under his knees and, in his Yiddish accent, implores, “Tell me, Toinette, you don’t blame me for feeling as I do about him?”
Sharon (as Toinette, replies): Not at all.
Avrum (as a sweet-young-thing): Is it wrong of me to indulge in these fancies?
Sharon (as Toinette): I’m not saying that it is.
Avrum (as Angelique, demanding): Would you have me be indifferent to his protestations of love?
Sharon (as Toinette): Heaven forbid!
Avrum (reveling in the role of ingenue): You do agree with me, don’t you, that there was something providential, something like destiny, in the unexpected way we made each other’s acquaintance?
S. Nadja Zajdman is a writer and an actress living in Montreal. Her short stories, essays and memoirs have been published in newspapers, magazines and literary journals, as well as being aired on radio. Her theatre roles include the one-woman show, Shirley Valentine, and the title role in Sheindele. In an all-female production of Julius Caesar she played a vicious assassin, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Currently, Nadja is completing a short story collection.
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