Introduction: Sally’s Note

4 min read

(This is the Introduction to Season 1 of Momentum. The content deals with mature subject matter, including sex, drugs, and physical/emotional violence. To get the whole story in your inbox—free—sign up here.)

Before We Begin, A Question for You:

Was there a moment in your life when everything changed suddenly?

June 21, 2010. Vancouver, BC.
Day 0.

The note

you think it’s the kind of thing that only happens in movies. You never think that it’s going to happen to you. But there it was, lying on the kitchen table, placed on top of a roadmap of the Pacific Northwest.

Before he could even pick up his girlfriend’s note, Jordan felt the butterflies.

The note was a page torn out of her journal. Double-sided. Signed with her name, but without a salutation.

No ‘sincerely.’ No ‘with love.’ Just ‘Sally.’

Her message was concise: she was in love with both of them and didn’t know how to choose; because Jordan demanded that she choose, he had left her without any other choice.

He read the note again. He couldn’t help poking holes in her logic.

Still, the empty apartment said everything that the note left out. “No, Sally,” he said out loud. “Not like this.”

His voice echoed on the cool tiled floors. It was the longest day of the year and the most humiliating moment of his life.

The butterflies were flapping like wild.


Jordan took this photograph on the day he met Sally. In case you’re looking for a metaphor.

The crime scene

jordan was the kind of guy who clung to metaphors. Sally did too. Symbols had formed the basis of their relationship. They were both too intelligent to believe in silly things like spirituality, like fate. But they were both too romantic to shut the door on the possibility.

We met at a place called the Café Rendez Vous, after all. And now she left me with a note on the summer solstice. It’s kind of poetic when you think about it.

He tried to assess what he was feeling. He was pretty sure he was feeling nothing.

He skimmed through the note a third time. But there were no symbols hidden between the lines. Sally had been uncharacteristically blunt. There was no way he could misinterpret her intentions, no matter how hard he tried. Their year-and-a-half-long relationship was over.

He sighed. A long, loud, cuckolded sigh.

Time to clean up the mess.

The inside of the apartment felt like a crime scene. They’d been living there for just a few weeks. It was the fifth place they’d lived in the nine months since they’d moved to Vancouver.

Everything felt anonymous. Everything felt dense with meaning.

He peeked under the sofa. There was one of Sally’s hiking shoes. He opened up a drawer. There was Sally’s British passport. He flipped through its pages, noticing the stamps from India. He thought about how happy they’d been there.

He picked up the home phone. The last number listed on the call display was a call from the lobby buzzer. The call came at 8:57, right when Jordan was down on Kitsilano Beach, watching the sun drop behind the forested islands. The call must have been Him. He must have arrived in a taxi, a conquering hero, carrying Sally away.

Jordan felt a surge of rage.

I can’t believe He was in my apartment. I can’t believe He stole her from me. That… That Prick! I should go and… defend my honor! It’s my duty to fight him.

Rage carried him into the bedroom.

It was a disaster. The bed was unmade, the closet was flung open, and her suitcase and backpack—everything she’d had when they came to Vancouver—were both gone. A few spare socks had been left under the bed.

A business card lay on top of the dresser. His name, His phone number, His home address—downtown, in one of the towers overlooking Stanley Park. Jordan held it delicately with his fingertips. He could be downtown in twenty minutes. He wondered if he should take a weapon. He wondered if he’d win.

Who am I kidding? I’m not going to fight him. I’m a lover, not a fighter. No, she left her passport. That’s a sign that she’s not finished. We’re going to see each other again. There’s still another act in our relationship.

Jordan was a child of the Eighties. Raised on romantic comedies—and porn. He still believed in Happily Ever Afters. He still believed that women could be won. He still believed in a bunch of other stupid things too. And he still believed that he could make Sally change her mind.

Then he looked down at the nightstand. What he saw there made him want to vomit.

Every life has a moment when a metamorphosis has begun but the results are still beyond imagination. Every Story has a beginning, just like every Story must reach an end. This was how Jordan’s Story began: in an anonymous apartment, packed full with the absence of his girlfriend. Holding her new lover’s business card. Trying not to imagine them, at that very moment, entwined in bed—and failing miserably.

His future was a vacuum. Suddenly, so was his past. He knew neither where he was headed nor how he’d ended up there in the first place. There were too many questions. It was all too confusing. He needed help.

I should call Paul. Can I call Paul this late?

Paul was his best friend and mentor who lived back home, in Toronto, where it was well past one in the morning.

Jordan reached for his phone. It was a Nokia bar phone. This was 2010. He still thought smartphones were a fad. But he hesitated. He didn’t want to wake Paul unless this was a real emergency.

I’m actually happy. I’m happy that she’s gone. I’m better off without her. Now she’s someone else’s problem.

But then he looked at the nightstand again. Lying there was something that had no business in a bedroom. It was a chef’s knife. It was lying right where he left it last night. And the memory of what he’d said, what he’d done, was what finally triggered the tears.

He was no longer feeling nothing. He was feeling everything as he picked up the phone again and dialed the number. Paul was weary but he wasn’t upset.

“Jordan, this is perfect,” he said, in his deep-as-Leonard-Cohen voice.

Perfect? My girlfriend just left me for another man. My life is in shambles. And I’ve just told everyone I know that we were going to walk from Canada to Mexico. What am I going to do now, Paul? How is this perfect?”

“Because now you get to do it by yourself.”

“But why would I want to…” Jordan’s eyes fell back on the knife.

His whole body went numb. He couldn’t feel anything, except the butterflies.


The first step.

Now, A Question for You:

Was there a moment in your life when everything changed suddenly?