A couple's simple goodbye can have a complicated backstory.
The pavement I’m walking on is dry – a delight after months of doing my best to avoid icy patches. After traversing the Little Park, I stroll along a dead-end street on my way to choir practice. It’s 6:18 pm on an early March evening in Toronto, so it’s still daylight, which is a treat.
There’s a row of parked cars on the north side of the street. I notice an enormous, red SUV. Just ahead of it there’s a black sedan which is double-parked. It’s facing west with a couple of people sitting inside.
As I approach, I watch a man get out of the passenger side mere metres ahead of me. He’s tall, smartly dressed, rather good-looking, wearing glasses, and probably in his early forties. After leaning in to quietly say a few things to the woman at the wheel, he closes the door and heads back towards the park.
Then I see the woman in the black sedan pause to check her phone, or something, before very slowly driving ahead to Yonge Street. When the traffic light turns green at the intersection she continues west. About a minute later the red SUV passes me being driven by the man. It cruises to Yonge and turns north.
A Possible Explanation
That’s rather odd. Why had he parked his SUV in such an out-of-way place? What have they been doing together? A theory pops into my head. I surmise that they are lovers having an affair, parting after a steamy tryst. I don’t actually see them kiss or touch, but the way he lingers before shutting the car door demonstrates that they’re prolonging their goodbye. They are definitely not co-workers summing up the results of a sales call.
Perhaps they have spent the afternoon at her house. Conveniently, her husband is away on business and the kids are caught up in school and afterschool sports.
If he’d parked his SUV on her street a few blocks away, her neighbours might notice and become suspicious, which could lead to gossip and discovery. To secretly go into and out of her home together, she picked him up on this dead-end street and drove to her garage. Her garage door remote control conveniently opened the door without anyone needing to leave her car and risk being seen.
The lovers have been enjoying each other since late-morning, I imagine. They sipped prosecco in crystal flutes. My antennae perceive a post-coital glow as he moves from her vehicle to his. Without a doubt, they have made cellphone calls to each other before this rendezvous. They will again.
Cellphone Calls Feel Private
In the 21st century, meeting up for an illicit affair is ridiculously easy thanks to the privacy and mobility provided by cellphones. Wait a minute. In 2002 I watched a psychological thriller called, “The Phone Booth” starring Colin Farrell. He was cheating on his wife and used a pay phone to contact his lover because he knew that cellphone calls are traceable. Not wanting his wife to find out about the affair led to Colin being trapped in the booth by a sharpshooter – for several days! An extremely suspenseful
When ordinary cellphone users make their innumerable daily calls, they likely forget that every single call is documented by the provider. When drug dealers, prostitutes, and criminals communicate about illegal matters while standing on a sidewalk, I wonder if they ever consider how much risk they’re taking.
When I served on a jury at a trial in 2012, the defendant was accused of calling the victim to extort thousands of dollars. On the witness stand, a policewoman read aloud pertinent details specified by the defendant’s cellphone provider. It was powerful, irrefutable evidence. (By the way, we found him guilty on all six counts.)
Back to the couple whose farewell I just witnessed. If I ever observe a similar parting ritual around here, I should leave it in our neighbourhood's shadows and think about something useful. I have an overactive imagination and should mind my own business.