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Why Vancouver? Why You?

Thank you to all entrants. Please visit the semifinalist page to view the top ten essays as determined by our panel and the public voting. Click here to view the top ten


By Stephen Pike

People always ask me why I came to Vancouver all the way from Barrie, Ontario and the reason is simple. Cheryl. Let me begin by saying that I never intended to drop everything and travel over 4000 plus kliometers to meet someone I met on Facebook…I’ve never been the embrace change kind of guy. I had no computer, no cellphone…I’m sure Amish people were pointing their fingers and laughing how technologically backward I was. I was basically a modern day hermit, for lack of a better term.

And then Facebook came into my life.

I saw the ladies at work playing games on Facebook so I asked them for help in starting my own account, which they did. I began the way most newcomers to Facebook begin…by adding celebrities to my friends list, playing things like Farmville and talking online with perfect strangers on political sites. It was a whole new world opening up for me.

It was on one of these sites that I met Cheryl. A self-proclaimed hippy from Metro Vancouver…a tree-hugging, organic-eating, Non-GMO, open-minded technowiz. In other words, the ying to my closed-minded, junk-food eating, stone-aged neanderthal yang. We should have been sworn enemies. But the universe…well it wasn’t gonna cooperate…and Cheryl and I fell in love.

We began talking on Facebook for a couple of weeks and, unbeknownest to me, Cheryl was checking online for information about me. I mean, I didn’t know any better, being completely new to online relationships but Cheryl was understandably cautious about someone she just met.

So it was after work when I was using one of the computers at the local library when she asked me, half-jokingly, “Are you in prison?”
Now to clarify, in her search to find information online about me, she had come up blank. Nothing. Nada. To a technophile like herself, this was height of improbabilty…Moreover, I stopped talking with her each night at almost precisely the same time…about an hour into our conversations…
So when she asked me if I was in prison, I knew where she was coming from….
However, before I could respond,,,the computer shut down, as always, because it was on a timer.
Now, I began to panic.
Here I was, in mid-conversation with a woman I was madly in love with and my only thought now was that her last words to me were “Are you in prison?” and what she must have seen as me shutting off the computer to avoid answering the question.
So I left the library, drove like a mad-man to my workplace and begged to use the computer there in order to tell Cheryl that, I was in fact, not in incarceration but merely a victim of our strict public library computer policy.

A few months later, with a brand new cellphone, provided by my co-workers in Barrie…I arrived in Vancouver to be with Cheryl to stay. Since, I’ve arrived, I realized that perhaps I was in prison after all. A prison of loneliness and isolation with walls built of fear and diffidence. Cheryl has torn down those walls and has allowed to breathe the free air once more.

Why am I in Vancouver? Why travel over 4000 kilometers across Canada? Why drop everything that I’ve ever known?

Because that was where my soul already was.

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