When I was 14, I worked up the nerve to ask to ask Cynthia Randall to go to the movies. When she said yes, I looked for the most romantic movie I could find in theatres in the late summer of 1990. Given a choice between Flatliners, Presumed Innocent, and Ghost, I figured the safest bet was the one with the guy from Dirty Dancing.
Turns out it was the right choice. The movie was an instant classic and, until millennials hijacked the term, 'ghosting' someone meant appearing shirtless behind them and ruining their pottery. I know it doesn't sound like much but you really have to see the movie to appreciate the romance.
The only problem was that Cynthia's annoying little sister wanted to tag along and Cynthia didn't know how to get rid of her. I told little sis that Ghost was one of the Poltergeist movies and she wouldn't be allowed in the theatre.
The only reason I was able to scare off the sister was because Ghosts can take many forms and mean different things to different people. They can be cute and funny like in Casper or Ghostbusters; romantic like in Always or Ghost; or terrifying like in Poltergeist or The Haunting.
I think it's like that with life's figurative ghosts as well. Sometimes we come face to face with choices we made in our past and they either validate us or haunt us. There are friendly ghosts that confirm that we made the right choice way back when, or terrifying apparitions that make us wonder where everything went so wrong. The problem is, when we're making these critical choices, we have no idea which way it will go. Every decision feels like the right one when me make it. And we won't know which way it will go, until one day...we do.
"Casual? Open-toe? Dressy? Semi-dressy? What you do think?"
Ashley's request for advice on the appropriate footwear to pack was fairly straightforward and could have been easily answered in moments. Of course, you would never know that from the blank stares she's currently receiving from Jeff, Niko, and Louie who are gathered at the Cedar Room for a cool refreshing beverage. The silence is broken by Niko who punctuates the moment with his patented Niko candour.
"I don't give a shit, bring whatever you want," he says.
"Not to be the stereotypical female, but packing for a getaway weekend is more involved for me than it is for you. You're guys. You could show up anywhere in overalls and sandals and get away with it. I need to know, am I going to any events while I'm there? Will I be going to a restaurant? Is it a super-classy place or could I get away with semi-dressed-up? Will there be a function where I need to dress garden party chic?"
"I'd say it's more like upscale gentlemen's club chic," Niko says.
"In this little fantasy of yours, am I the stripper or am I getting the lap dance?" Before anyone can answer, "You know what, never mind."
"No, no no," Louie jumps in. "Please go on, spare no detail."
As that moment of awkwardness hangs in the air, Jeff attempts to get the conversation back on track. "Where are you going for your little excursion?"
Now all three stare at Jeff with confused looks.
"You didn't tell him?" Ashley asks Niko directly.
Niko is searching for a way to answer when Louie bails him out. "Niko invited Ashley to the cottage for Canada Day."
"The boys weekend?" Jeff says, oblivious to the implied protest in the question.
There are few things more sacred amongst a group of guys than an annual cottage weekend in the summer. Sometimes the only thing that will get you through another frigid northern winter is the thought of getting drunk and having a speedboat pull you around a lake on an inner tube.
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