One thing you can say about this café owner, Marc thought as he sat sipping his allongé waiting for Sophie to arrive, was that he had eclectic tastes. Today he was playing retro classics from the 1960s. The Quebec 1960s. The Classels were crooning "Ton amour a changé ma vie", and it sounded like a K-Tel ad on TV. Montreal could be so charming.
"Sorry I'm late. Bit of a crisis at home."
"Yes," she said like a woman who was lying and didn’t care enough to hide it. "My girlfriend is going through a rough patch at work and it seems to be making a mess of our domestic bliss.”
"Sorry to hear that. Wanna talk about it?"
Tears welled in her eyes. "I just realized you're the only person I can talk to about that. Isn't that sad?"
"I'll do my best not to take it personally."
It had the intended effect as her tears morphed into a wet snort.
"I try. Tell me what's bothering you."
“It’s not that bad, actually. She’s just complaining that I seem distant to her. She’s insecure, I guess. Maybe she’s worried I’m having sex with someone else.” Marc could have sworn there was a wink in there. “I guess you picked the right orientation; guys are so much simpler to love...” A great big breath. "I like this music even though it's the most kétaine thing ever. Don't you?"
"I was just thinking that, yes. Now I'm hankering for a bit of Willie Lamothe."
"Ew! I'd much rather Diane Dufresne. I could use some oxygène right now..."
“Anything else bothering you?”
“Well,” a pause, “nah. Never mind.”
"No, I won't never mind. Tell me. I owe you at least that."
"You want me to tell you what's bothering me?"
"I want to be here and listen to you the best I can, yes. You tell me anything you like."
"Makes for interesting columns, I suppose."
"Well, actually, I meant to tell you we're wrapping them up."
"Oh. They don't like me anymore?"
"No, it's not that. We got letters and everything. But the editor thinks it has run its course."
"Ah. That's too bad, I was starting to like our little chats."
He surprised himself thinking how much he would miss them too.