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She doesn’t call him for a month, two months. His texts stop after three. She tries to forget the crazy man she met in the museum, tries to forget the soft feel of his lips and forget his ridiculous lie.

But when she heads home, someone is waiting at the airport. It’s October, thanksgiving, and in her rush to find the baggage claim, she walks right past him. He taps her shoulder, places a hand there, quietly asking if she’s alright. Blond and taller than her, with her curl, with her glasses, it’s Matthew. She didn’t realize he had her curl that first time, all wrapped up in the light of Alfred.

"Matthew, right? Alfred’s brother."

Her hands cling to the strap of her purse but her chin is high. He looks amused for a moment, taking in her proud stance. Waiting for him to ask her to take Alfred back or at least call him.

"Actually it’s Canada."

Not again. It’s her first thought, not again, what are the odds? She remembers that he knew her name that one time, that he had caught her eye across the hall before she had even seen Alfred at his side. But he’s crazy, like Alfred, and it must run the family.

"I’m not crazy. He isn’t either. Well not very much," A pause as he takes off his glasses, cleans them, glancing at the clock behind her, "But he’s really America. And he really liked you—god knows he shouldn’t. You’re a child compared to him…"

And she bristles, he would be lucky to have her—and when he laughs, maybe that was the point. She looks away, walks down the corridor a few steps, turns back.

"Are you really?"

He tells her about her life, the time she skinned her knee and swore off skirts for a year, the time she spent her summer in France and cried bitter tears ever night because it wasn’t home and she just wanted poutine and a cup of tea, like her mother made. He tells her about her girlfriend and how scared she had been and that stalling series of moments between looking at girls and boys and realizing she liked them both. And really that’s more disturbing than comforting. The way he tells her life like a story, one he knows intimately. She takes another step away from him.

"You love America …well both of them, the place and the person, but you’ll always be my citizen, even if you never came back. Your heart is here."

She never wants to see him again, never wants to hear words from his lips that say he knows too much and knows too little. He’s a stalker, a god, something more or less than her.

She texts Alfred the next day, wishes him happy thanksgiving, tells him his brother is creepy.

Matthew is there the next time she meets Alfred, and she smiles because she doesn’t know what else to do. She doesn’t quite trust him. He’s too big for her, too much, he knows her in a way she doesn’t want. Maybe that’s why she falls for another country. He only knows what he’s told. He’s bright and beautiful, just like Matthew, but in a way she isn’t afraid of.


Years later she comes to terms with Canada, with Matthew, they talk and she thinks maybe he was trying to scare her away from Alfred, trying to scare her away from that decision. Years and years later, he says he should have told her to go to him and maybe she wouldn’t have, because she was like that, stubborn and willful in a way he’s more used to keeping inside. Years later is years too late, with lines on her face and love firmly planted in her heart. Alfred is still bright and new and gold and she’s starting to tarnish.

They don’t match anymore. If they ever did.