Five years ago, six days after landing in St. John’s for work related to offshore oil, Frank Delory joined Moksha Yoga in the hope of meeting a hot chick and did. Jackie was an enthusiast not only for downward dogs and sirisanas but for anything with a sort of Eastern enlightenment vibe.
She introduced Frank to “mindfulness,” a condition of self-awareness that now, the morning after doing rails off the flush box of a toilet in a bar on George Street and demanding extra ice in his Jamesons in an effort to stay hydrated, only made his hangover worse. Frank really didn’t want to be “in the moment” when it was this yeasty and pregnant with regret.
There was too much not to consider about St. John’s. The taxi taking Frank to the airport had stopped for road repairs being made to Portugal Cove Road. A backhoe was punching holes in long-awaited asphalt so recently applied that it was steaming.
The flag person, a grandmother in hard hat and pyjama bottoms, was twirling her sign so that it spun wildly from “Slow” to “Stop.” Contemplating jobs awarded to lowest bidders in whose interest it was to do the worst possible job so as to have more work sooner did not lead to clarity of mind. Frank belched and tasted yesterday’s supper of street meat.
Frank fell hard for Jackie and was so convinced the feeling was mutual that he took advantage of her visiting the rural outpost where she was born, in order to help her family resettle, to get a tattoo, her name written over the Pink, White, and Green tricolour that someone told him was the “real flag of Newfoundland.”
He premiered the tat over dinner at the Adelaide Oyster Bar. Jackie’s scream was mercifully lost in the punishingly loud music they played there to arrest conversation. It was not a shriek of surprise. It was of horror.
Admittedly the tattoo was a bit of a rush job. But Jackie hadn’t reacted to the unfortunate choice of script or ink, but because Frank had gotten it all wrong. Jackie thought they were great friends, special friends even, but nothing more. And what was with the weirdo Irish flag? Her family, she told him, were of English descent.
Next day, with the price of oil plummeting, the project to which he was assigned was put on hold and he was called back to Calgary. Someone said not to worry as the Saudis were going to run out by 2030. A day later he was informed the Calgary office was also being shuttered and his new destination was Houston.
“The crazy Newfies” at the St. John’s office had thrown him the going away party and he’d only had time to rush back to the apartment and grab his bags with the taxi waiting outside. He didn’t have a chance to go online and check to see if the flight was on time and was too out-of-it to be mindful of how foggy it was.
Air Canada told him it could be days before he could get another. Rather than go back downtown Frank checked into the Airport Inn to await the next flight out.