"Mom, how come you're from Holland and Dad is from England?"
"Because Beth Cruikshank thinks Canadians born of Canadians aren't exotic enough. Now, eat your peas."
Hubert Caine was a young, eager graduate of the London School of Economics when he relocated to Milborough, Ontario, Canada to pursue a business opportunity with a former classmate, Glenn Able, who was a Milborough native. Hubert and Glenn worked long hours to establish their business and, after the first couple of years, they began to turn a profit. One beautiful Saturday in the spring of 1978, Hubert wandered into a farmer's market at the Milborough Park. Almost immediately, his eyes locked upon a beautiful young woman working at the tulip stand. As he was soon to learn, her name was Sofie Van Damme, and she'd migrated with her parents to Canada from the Hague when she was a toddler. Her parents, Lene and Rutger Van Damme, operated the largest tulip farm in outer Milborough.
One story that Sofie loved to share about their first meeting was that Hubert had asked her, "Do you miss the windmills?" She'd said, "Holland doesn't have many windmills left, dummy!" Despite that rough beginning, they were soon in love and inseparable. A year later, they were married.
Anthony Caine was born in May of either 1980 or 1981, depending on which timeline you adhere to. He had a fairly uneventful early childhood, growing from a relatively cute baby into an average toddler and grade schooler. There is not much of interest to share from that part of his life, so let's skip to the part where he meets Liz Patterson.
[ . . . ]
Although he had been the one to suggest calling it quits, Anthony felt hurt that Liz had not protested. Secretly, he'd hoped that she would argue with him. With even the slightest bit of encouragement, he would have loved to give their relationship another go. Once he was back at school, he threw himself into his coursework, spending just about all of his "off" time studying or working on assignments. The only real exception was when he and Glenn would take Mrs. Dingle out for drinks on Thursday evenings. This was a tradition she'd had with Mike and Weed, and she just assumed her new tenants would pick up where the others left off. Anthony didn't mind, as Agnes Dingle always had colourful stories to share, and she was always up for a game of darts.
Winter break came and went without any contact whatsoever with Liz Patterson. The closest to that was when he dropped by Gordon's Garage one afternoon and discovered Tracey and Gordon whispering something about Michael and Deanna. When he asked what was so mysterious, Tracey apologized and told him that there was something they were not at liberty to share.
On the very first Thursday after winter break had concluded, Mrs. Dingle mentioned, between games of darts, that she'd received a newsy letter from Mike. "Apparently, his Sis is in loooooooove!" Agnes shared. Anthony gulped and asked, "Which sis?" Agnes rolled her eyes. "Liz, of course! The other girl's not even ten yet! Give her another year or so!" She took a slug of stout and continued, "Yeah, Liz. Mike says she's been seeing a fella named Eric. She told Mike and Dee that it's all 'meant to be,' like someone 'up there' said, 'Let's put these two people together!' She told them that she thought she'd been in love before, but that this time, it's REAL. This is the first time she's ever actually been in love!"
Anthony felt something inside himself break just then. Liz Patterson had never really loved him? What had their relationship been? A lie? Anthony drank far too much that night, and the first thing he did the next morning was to vomit. Then, on his way to accounting class, he spotted a flyer: "Ballroom Dancing Club." The first meeting of the semester was to be that night, in the Thompson Recreation and Athletic Centre. Back in grade school, his mother had forced him to take ballroom-dancing lessons, and he had seldom slow-danced since then, but he felt sure it would all come back to him. And this could be just the thing to take his mind off of his broken heart.