I met Brittany during a nightclub crawl and a daytime brewery tour. We agreed to have some sushi over lunch one day. She’s 30, fit, and has long dark hair. When I arrived, Brittany was already sitting at a table so I joined her there. I couldn’t help but notice the green painting on the wall by our table. It was the same painting that Josh (a guy I had meet the week prior) had waited for two weeks to have added to his snowboard and ended up living in Whistler.
Brittany told me about the separation from her husband. They had been together for eight years and married for about three of those years. They had been separated for a while but hadn’t gotten around to filing. In Canada, you have to be legally separated for 12 months before you can file for divorce.
Brittany realized they were more friends than romantic partners. She is still friends with her ex and even invited him and his new girlfriend over for dinner. She said one of the reasons it ended was because he was so into rock climbing that it became an obsession. I understand the feeling of drifting apart and feeling like you’re just friends.
While enjoying some sake and sushi, Brittany and I talked about how neither of us wanted to have kids if our marriage wasn’t strong and in a good place. I told her about the lies that my ex-husband told me over the years, and she listened intently, saying, “It’s like a Dr. Phil episode!” It was nice having a friend to hang out with. Brittany had to go to work, so we parted ways.
A few days later, I saw there was a trivia night at a local pub, and I asked Saya if she wanted to go with me. Saya is from Japan, is in her early 30s, snowboards, and was in Whistler for a one-year working visa. I had met her at game night at the library. I was able to snag a table right by the stage. The place was packed with teams.
Saya brought her friend, Boram, who was also from Japan. We had a great time attempting to answer the trivia questions and drinking some beer. There were a few categories, and we struggled the most on the music category. We didn’t do very well with our answers, but I used the excuse that it was because none of us were from Canada.
The next night, a local bar was hosting Bingo. I met Saya and her friend Serena there. It was packed, and we waited in line in the cold for 30 minutes before we could get inside. We were able to snag a tall table that had a couple of guys getting ready to leave. We missed the first round, but we were able to join in the second round.
A few of Saya’s friends joined us, like Misato. I had met her at game night at the library as well. She’s in her late 20s, from Japan, and was also there for a one-year work visa. I talked with her about dating apps because we had both tried Tinder. We agreed it was fun but often frustrating. We drank wine and had a great time, hoping we’d win something. The girls even made some amazing origami out of old scorecards!
There was another game night a week later at the library, so I went there again. This would be the third and final game night I’d be able to attend before leaving Whistler. This time, I played with Saya, Misato, Kristina, and a new girl, Lucy.
At 6’5”, Lucy was very tall, had blonde hair, and was in her early 30s. She had visited Canada 10 years prior and loved it. This time, she had a two-year work visa. However, she said she was missing her boyfriend in France and didn’t want to stay for two years. Kristina was not happy about this and said, “It’s not fair. We can only get one-year visas and you get a two a year visa and don’t even use it.”
The five of us played a train game called Ticket to Ride. We were all learning, so it was slow going at first. I thought I was doing pretty well, but once it ended and we calculated points, I was not even close to winning.
On another night, I wanted to go to Bingo night at Tapley’s bar. It would be the last one I could attend because I would be leaving in a few days. Saya and Misato met me at the entrance, and we only had to wait a few minutes before we got inside. However, once we got inside, it was packed! We looked around for a table or any spot where we could share a table.
As we searched around, a guy said we could use his table. He had offered it to two other guys as well, and they scooted over to make room for us. The tall, rectangular table had a few bar stools, and there was a ledge where two people could sit on one side of the table. Misato and Saya sat there, and I stood at the corner.
The guy, Trevor, who originally offered the table to us, was on the opposite side of the table and called me over. He was very tall, had an average build, had brown hair, and was 37. I was not physically attracted to him. He asked me my name and then gestured towards Misato and Saya, saying, “Are you their tour guide?” Offended, I said, “Excuse me? They’re my friends.” I already didn’t like this arrogant guy who thought he owned the place, but I needed the table.
We got scorecards and talked with the two other guys. They were from Vancouver but were in Whistler for work. They were friendly to talk with and were respectful. Trevor on the other hand was a jerk. He kept putting his arm on my back and then would slowly run it across my butt. He gave me one of the other guy’s barstool and made that guy stand. I figured maybe the touching would be better if I was sitting down.
I was wrong – he started to rub my leg, going up my thigh. I pushed his hand away multiple times, made a face, and started turning my body against him. I could only turn so far, and he continued to touch me on my back and leg. At one point, after I moved his hand off of my leg, he asked, “Is it ok that I’m touching your leg?” I replied, “No,” but it didn’t stop him.
Over the next hour and a half, Trevor told me that he’s from Whistler and works in drywall for multimillion-dollar homes. One of the guys at our table won a game and got a free pitcher of beer for our table. The place was loud and busy, and our table was close to a register with a service station. Trevor knew all of the servers and kept calling them over for different things. He was making it clear he was an important, well-connected person. Then Trevor casually mentioned that he couldn’t leave Canada. I asked why, and he quickly said, “I was sent to prison after tying some people up in their home.”
Trevor called a waitress over and ordered some drinks as if nothing had happened. Once the server left, I said, “I’m sorry, what did you say? You tied people up?” He told the story, “Well, I was 19-years old, and me and my buddy were breaking into houses in Whistler to steal stuff. When we got into one house, we saw there was a husband and a wife and we didn’t know they were home. So we tied them up. You know, what else are you going to do? Well, it turns out that they had set off their alarm and the cops caught us. I spent four years in prison and now I’m not allowed to leave Canada.”
I stared at Trevor in disbelief and disgust at his casual telling of the story. I said, “You broke into their home and tied them up?” He responded, “Yeah, whatever, I was only 19. I’m very successful now.” He went on to describe how his mother is wealthy and owns a lot of hotels in the area, but he assured me he doesn’t take her money and earns his own.
Trevor won bingo and got a ski hat that said “Whis Life” on it. He immediately gave it to me and I like hats, so I put it on. He said, “Wow, you were pretty before, but you’re even prettier with that hat on.” I cringed. Misato and Saya couldn’t hear a lot of what Trevor was saying and they were talking with the other two guys. But they could tell by my body language that I was not enjoying him. At one point when Trevor left the table, I leaned over to Saya and told her he was a creep. She agreed.
For 20 minutes, Trevor kept saying he was going to leave and go to some exclusive place. He wanted me to go with him, and I kept telling him no, I was staying with my friends. He made me put his phone number in my phone and send him a text message. He said I’d have to text him to get inside; otherwise, the line would be too long. To get rid of him, I kept telling him I’d meet up with him after bingo. He kept pressing me to leave right then, and then he said he thought we should just have sex. I declined his offer and kept trying to focus on Bingo.
I kept pushing him away from me and wondered why he wasn’t picking up on my very obvious body language that I was not interested. I also wondered why I was putting up with it and not just telling him off. It’s strange. Even in the moment, I thought, “Why don’t I walk away from this guy?” But I needed his table because there was nowhere else to go. He also knew all of the servers there. He was tall, domineering, and aggressive. It’s astonishing how much power a man can hold over a woman, treat her poorly, and get away with it. But no matter what I did or said, he wouldn’t stop touching me.
Finally, Trevor left. Shortly after, the other two guys left. After the last game, Misato went home because her throat was hurting. Saya and I decided to walk to Brickworks so we could actually hear each other talk.
We talked about relationships, and she told me about her ex-boyfriend, who she hiked with in New Zealand. He was Australian, and they looked like a really cute couple. But they fought a lot, and it didn’t work out. I could tell that the breakup still hurt her, and I completely understood. She’s a snowboarder and an active, adventurous person. It’s hard to find someone who sets your heart on fire and who has similar interests.
Saya and I had more drinks and had an enjoyable time. Then I walked through the village with her until I had to take a different path to the bus stop, and we hugged goodbye. The friends I had made in Whistler were genuine, adventurous, friendly, and open. I think Whistler attracts a certain type, and I felt like “my people” were there. They had left their home country or home city to explore the world on their own. I have a lot of respect for them and felt profoundly grateful for their friendship.
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