Cade lived on his own in a condo in the heart of downtown Toronto. This wasn’t always the case, though. He was married once and had a daughter but one day tragedy struck. While he was out trapping lines, his wife and their eleven month old daughter had just returned from a walk when they were attacked by a bear. Neither survived the attack. He returned home to find the animal still there and when it charged at him, he shot it. He found their lifeless bodies and was overcome with grief. The community reeled from this tragic incident and rallied around him.
He sold the cabin and moved to Toronto. He wanted to be as far away as possible from where the tragedy occurred. He never returned to the Yukon or the cabin again. Too many painful memories and he was bombarded with self-recrimination. It had been his idea for Joan to spend part of her maternity leave at the secluded cabin. They would have been safer at their house in Whitehorse. He blamed himself for what happened. Joan and Chrissy would still be alive if it weren’t for him.
Moving to Ontario was the best decision he had made. He stayed with family until he found a job and was able to afford his own place. He worked for a construction company and became fast friends with the men who worked there. They were always inviting him to something or the other so he didn’t have time to be lonely.
Ten years had passed since he lost Joan and Chrissy but he still thought about them. He no longer blamed himself for what happened, however, he still couldn’t bring himself to return to Whitehorse. There was nothing there for him, anyway. His life was here now. His friends were always setting him up with their female friends and relatives and occasionally he would go out on dates but nothing serious ever developed. He wasn’t ready for a serious relationship, anyway.
He was walking in the park now. It was a cold morning. The snow was like a thick white blanket covering the path. It was quiet. Hardly anyone was around. Not many people would venture out on a cold day like today but he loved it. The air was fresh and crisp. The coat he was wearing was nice and warm. His head was covered and the scarf covered his nose and mouth. He was dressed for this.
After he finished his walk, he decided to go to Tim Horton’s for a hot chocolate. As he pushed open the door to go inside, he heard someone call his name. He turned. It was Roshawna. She smiled. “Hi, there. Didn’t expect to run into you.”
He smiled. “I could say the same about you,” he replied. “I would have thought that you would be indoors on a day like today.”
“Yes, it’s pretty cold but I had errands to run. Before heading home, I thought I’d stop in here and grab a hot chocolate to take the chill off. What’s your excuse?”
“I didn’t want to be cooped up all day so I decided to go for a walk in the park.”
“You’re a Canadian through and through. I’ll never get used to this cold and I’ve been living here for years now.”
“Why would you leave sunny and hot Jamaica to come here, then?”
“Are you in a hurry to get home?”
She shook her head.
“Let’s have our hot chocolates over there by the window.”
“So, how’s life?” he asked when they were sitting at the table, steaming hot chocolates in front of them. He liked Roshawna. She was a live wire. She was the younger sister of one of his friends. They met at her brother’s barbecue last year.
“Life’s been busy. I got a new job at a publishing company. How about you? I haven’t seen you in a while. Been staying out of trouble?”
He laughed. “What kind of trouble could I get into?”
She smiled. “With your looks, you can get into all sorts of trouble. Are you dating anyone?”
“No, not at the moment.”
“Good. I’m not dating anyone either.”
“Are you busy later?”
“How would you like some good home cooked Jamaican food?”
“My mouth’s watering at the thought.”
“Good. My place tonight at seven.”
“I’ll be there.”
That settled, they talked about other things while having their hot chocolates.
This story was inspired by the tragic true story of a mother and her ten month old infant who were recently attacked and killed by a bear just outside of Whitehorse in the Yukon. The father wasn’t there at the time of the attack but when he returned, the bear was still there and attacked him. He managed to shoot and kill it.