I hate Canada Day. It's this big celebration here, the Festival of Lights. We have these crappy fireworks and these crappy rides and these buskers who do these lame tricks for our pocket money (and, yes, twenty dollar bills count as pocket money). There's usually a cruise ship parked in the harbour, taking up skyline. And then there's the tourists, herds of them, with their fanny packs and their cheap digital cameras and their perfect innocence. It's the way they don't know how to cross our streets, the way they walk so slow while inconspicuously taking up the entire sidewalk. It's the way they drive their cars with their foreign license plates on our streets, get drunk outside our liquor stores at two o'clock in the afternoon. There's too much chaos, too much country music, and carnival food. Too many crowds. Too many people dressed head-to-toe in red and white, as if they have always loved Canada, as if they have always known it was it's own country (when, in reality, they only just discovered where it was located).

I like red, but not that much.

Then there's that guy I'm supposed to be celebrating Canada Day with. You know, the one who's wearing jeans in thirty-five degree weather because he's from fucking Mexico and it's much hotter there. The one with the ear phones glued to the insides of his ears so you have to yell at him when you want to say anything, so it's a good thing you have nothing to say. It's a good thing you don't want to talk. I guess I'm supposed to miss him when he flies back to Mexico in a few months, but the truth is, I've been counting down the days until he leaves. It won't be that much longer until I can go back to normal and he can go back to God know's where to do God know's what.

Aren't I the perfect girlfriend? It's not like I'm even trying, though. Why bother? It's Canada Day, it's too hot out, and I hate crowds. I think I have a fear of them.

I don't like playing the perfect girlfriend role, though. I don't like all of these public displays of affection, when he grabs my hand and thinks that he's going to lure me into making out with him in front of these crowds. Yeah fucking right. I don't want to partake in this, in any of this. I don't want to smile while people ooh and aw over how goddamn cute we are. Because we're not cute. I mean, this it's the guy who had sex with me while I was completely drunk. WE HAD SEX WHILE I WAS COMPLETELY DRUNK. Too much alcohol and the mistaken advice from my mother's new Colombian boyfriend. He told me to enjoy the moment, in that accent of his. So I did, and the moment hurt like Hell and beyond.

It's Canada Day and I'm about to faint from either thinking too much or standing in the sun too much or not drinking enough or something. He's wearing too much cologne, if that's what it's called. And he wants to kiss me in front of all of these people and I just don't want to. I want to go home and crawl into bed and go to sleep and wake up in a different time. A few months ago when he didn't even exist in my solar system and I was able to line things up and take them out one at a time, easy as pie, easy as cake, easy as goddamn something.

He's so fast, when he grabs my hand with the speed of lightening, and I'd have sworn he was using the Force to magnetize our hands together. But that other boy, the one from before, from back when I was working full-time at McDonald's and saving money to treat us all to Domino's pizza, back from when I played Guitar Hero III daily and I didn't make my bed, he was slow. Painstakingly slow. Agonizingly slow. It took him months before he even looked at me without looking away quickly. I had time to think and plan and think and plan. Sloth is not a sin, it's a blessing.

I messed that up, though, so maybe this is my punishment. Some speedy Mexican boy has my virginity all over him and the guy I was saving my heart for hates my guts. This isn't one of those things you can forget about and move on from. This is the rest of the universe splayed before me, dripping futile hope.

My mother's breaking up with her boyfriend, the one living in Japan and teaching English, for this new Colombian artist boyfriend. The one giving her Spanish lessons and sleeping over at our house on Friday nights. The one who told me to enjoy the moment, to enjoy my life. The one who praises drinking and smoking and tattoos and drugs and everything my mother disagrees with. She squeals like a prepubescent girl on ecstasy when she talks on the phone with him.

It's Canada Day and the crappy fireworks are going to be let off soon. I'm going to watch them from the waterfront, snuggled between the crowds of tourists and former classmates, my boyfriend possessively tightening his grip on me. My mother's going to sit beside us and ooh and aw when he kisses me because we're so goddamn cute. Because she wants me to be happy and I'm so good at that fake smile thing now. Because maybe I'll move to Mexico and learn Spanish and forget all about that other stuff.

Who needs video games and true love and ordering sixty dollars of pizza at eleven o'clock at night? Who needs a boy with a scar from a hula hoop above his lips, the ability to make me laugh in the blink of an eye? If I'm happy, maybe Canada Day won't be so bad.

If I'm happy, maybe I'll wear red and white.