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Yeah, I know. This was a beloved write-up, deleted by request of its author. I hope she restores it one day. But one of the Katies I have known also could have been known formerly as Wolf.

She went, in fact, by Kate, but just go with it.

There's a local book shop, a bricks and mortar place, that deals second-hand and collectible-- and new local. The couple who own it also write. He mostly does the little press poetry thing, going on twenty-five years now. She has taken to writing local history and true crime that receive considerable local coverage. The two of them collaborated on a book of the city's best moments. It became a kind of regional bestseller. But she writes poetry or, at least, her teenage self did. We appeared in the same local literary magazine before we met.

A couple years back he mentioned how, sometimes, young customers, people who weren't even alive in the 1990s will say how amazing it must have been to have participated in the local arts scene back in the day. Neither of us knows when the mid-90s became underground legendary for local artistic events. I think back: at the dawn of the 90s, I belonged to a writers group who did one significant public reading together at a gallery in a slightly rundown section of town. Five years later I was sitting near the tech guy while, nearer the stage, kids in a proto-cuddle-puddle accompanied an alt-folkie when he got to the operatic part in "Bohemian Rhapsody." I recall V1, barely old enough to drive, commenting on the fact that some people had noses dis-jointed because she made lesbian references in her poetry, but it was totally okay for an aging local poet to read jocular pieces about hot teenage girls. V1 was part of my first ever teen writing crew, workshopping an original youth-oriented play. I met Singularity Girl on the same project. She was thirteen then. My former teen sidekick is now very much a Singularity Woman, a mother of two, nearing forty. We remain in touch: much of that story appears here. She inspired a character online in a once popular, now forgotten online comic by a local, and "Chelsea," who turns up in a few things I've written. I would like to spin another tale some day where we are actual former superheroes, living quiet suburban lives, getting together when we can spare a couple hours to catch up and relive the glory days. Our partners in the fictional account, as in life, would look on our friendship not with suspicion, but wonder and bafflement.

By contrast, I've not seen V1 since maybe 2000. Her name is distinctive so I searched her up online. She currently works for the government of Newfoundland.

Five years after that, I read this piece at the same gallery. That event was recorded for local college radio. In between and around those events I attended local readings and student coffeehouses, odd mixes of poets, vocalists, and guys with guitars. A kid playing two clarinets at once. Two young women singing Weezer's "The Sweater Song," scandalously amending the lyrics to, "If you want to explore my sweater" and laughing. An all-female slate of readers that ran from a now-forgotten spoken word artist to the late Colleen Thibaudeau, whose work appears in anthologies of great Canadian poets. Then there was the reading that took place in an internet café. Someone whisper-shouted angrily because a computer suddenly played a video that had been buffering, just as someone began reciting their great work.

The book shop's proprietor, the poet, also ran events.

My recollections make it sound like an event was happening every week, and perhaps one was. But those memories stretch over a decade. Yeah, there was some kind of arts and coffeehouse scene in the 90s. It stopped (though it hasn't entirely stopped), at least in part, because of the Internet.

I asked the proprietor about S, the young poet and zine publisher who was central to so many events. I can find only one definite reference online. It's hard to tell, as a great many people share his name. I recalled that, sometime after he and Katie broke up, he moved away and no one seems to have heard of him again.

"He moved away," said the proprietor. "No one seems to have heard of him again."


A group of university girls entered. They looked like they were on their way to dinner before clubs. They'd been drawn not by books, but by the droopy-eared dog that spends much of his time sleeping in the window and getting petted by customers.

So, Katie. A wavy blonde with blue eyes, a vulnerable tough woman. She wrote poems about life and sharp edges and Catholic girls. About how, believing as a teen that abortion equaled murder, she became a mother more than once before she became an adult. She was raising her family and trying to complete her education when I met her. ToS, a very sweet-natured guy, was dating her and trying to help. They broke up and she started dating S. I've always felt a little bad about that. ToS seemed so very earnest, and I had introduced Katie to S.

I recall the piece of hers about a teenage suicide attempt and escaping the psych ward. She and a bulimic slipped out one night, slid their hospital bands up their sleeves and partied at a university pub. "Sweet sixteen," she writes, "and never been dead."

Work took more of my time. I wasn't doing as much of my own personal writing, and I drifted in and out of the smallish scene, though I suppose excellent events continued to happen. I know that Katie and S. broke up, he moved, and that was about it. I didn't see her again until late in the 1990s. A younger and far healthier version of me was biking back from-- I do not know where, but it had been a considerable journey. I stopped by the Petro Canada Station and Variety Store that used to sit at the corner of Oxford and Adelaide.

I had set my cycle against the wall, taken shelter beneath the eaves, and was either drinking a soft drink or eating ice cream. A biker drove up and parked and went inside, leaving a cool-looking motorcycle in a parking spot. I didn't pay much attention to the rider. Moments later, an elderly woman drove into the parking lot and smashed into the motorcycle. She made a panic-stricken face and bolted out of the lot. I got the license.

The biker ran out of the store, shouted at the fleeing driver, and then checked her bike.


We caught up as we waited for the cops. She seemed to be getting on with her life.

Twenty years happened. While cleaning up some files I found a newspaper clipping from '94, something called the New Arts Festival. The photo features S. reading a poem. I thought of Katie. Like V1, her full name is relatively distinct.

She died in 2018. She and faithful ToS had found their way back together at some point, married, and raised five children. She had by then as many grandchildren. Her obituary gives no cause of death.

The station and variety store closed in this century. The pumps have been removed and the grounds, decontaminated. The building remains empty.

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