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Algonkian Pre-event Narrative Enhancement Guide - Opening Hook

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Winter, 1992

It was one of those bitterly cold prairie nights in November in downtown Calgary. Under the moonlight and city lamps, the wind looped specs of swirling snow gusts off the Fourth Avenue sidewalk. Women in stockings with frozen toes scrunched into high heels, clopped along the concrete pavement carefully avoiding black ice patches that would surely lead to unfortunate disaster. It was a night etched in Rukmini’s memory. A night she would think about for years to come, if anything, more for how stupid she was at that moment than anything. 


Rukmini and her best friend Soloni had just escaped the blistering wind, ducking into the refuge of Soloni’s 1982 Toyota Corolla. Soloni had reached over to flip on the heat to make sure they warmed up, quickly. Teeth clenched to avoid chattering, Rukmini watched her from the corner of her eye. She felt a sudden warmth of gratitude for her childhood friend. Here she was rushing to make sure Rukmini was comfortable and warmed up. Kind, considerate, and reliable Soloni.


“The trick is, if I can just get my feet to warm up, then the rest of me will warm up!” Soloni sighed as they both huddled to stay warm. So true, Rukmini thought, but her teeth were chattering too hard for her to say anything out loud.


Rukmini was still tipsy. Her head felt like it was propped on top of a wave, bobbing up and down. They had just spent a night out, getting drunk. It had been Soloni’s idea.


“Come over Saturday night! Tell your Mom you’re going to spend the night at my place so you don’t have to drive home. Just the two of us. It will be fun!” Soloni said on the phone after Rukmini spent the last 45 minutes venting about her recent breakup.


Rukmini wasn’t much of a drinker and drunk nights out were certainly not her thing, but that night, she gulped glasses of white wine to numb the ache of a broken heart. Kash, her boyfriend had told her just a few weeks prior that they were better off as friends. She was just starting to fall in love with him, and she thought he was falling in love with her, but she was so sorely and miserably wrong. How did she not see it? Why did she think he was falling for her? Why had spent the entire summer pursuing her, just to decide that this wasn’t what he wanted in the end? And did he do it after she had finally said an enthusiastic “yes!” to him?  Now here she was, seeking refuge in liquid comfort and her loyal best friend.


At first, Rukmini suspected Soloni was just trying to distract her or get her to let off a little steam as 20-year-olds tend to do after a break-up. Go out. Get drunk. Dance the night away. The nightclubs were full of these sad souls - the “just-gotten dumped” theatrically belting out the words to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”. Now looking back, it was probably to ease a guilty conscience.

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