I'm famous in Eatonia, Sask. Okay, so the town occupies the same amount of land as does my entire University, with a fraction of the number of people. But, my fiancé is very popular there, and it was a very curious thing to the people of Eatonia that they had never met the woman he is marrying. I hadn't been out there since late September, and the last time I was there I only met a couple of people.
And so the (half-joking) rumour spread that I didn't exist. When I was too late to come to the school to meet everyone on Friday, one of the teachers nicknamed me "Snuffelupagus." There were also jokes that Chris was going to hire someone to pretend to be me, or maybe I was a man and that's why Chris hadn't brought his fiancé(e) to the small town where he lives.
My arrival made quite a stir. The first person I met was one of Chris's grade 12 students, who happened to work in the store where you go to check into the town motel, and who also happened to start the "Mr. Reed's fiancée doesn't exist" rumour. As he was searching the bookings for my name, I mentioned that Mr. Reed was supposed to book a room for me. He stopped, slowly looked up, and said with amazment, "You're Maryanne! You exist!"
That exclamation, "You exist!" characterised my meeting with every other Eatonian that weekend. I even got the rock star treatment from a group of grades 7 to 9 girls, who came running down Main Street, screaming and taking my picture with their digital cameras. I felt like the Beatles.
Much as I loved my local fame, it was nice to go in to the tea shop across the street from Chris's house, and to discover that Donna (the owner) remembered me. She even asked how the thesis was going. As she served me Rooibos tea and peach cheesecake, I felt like I was home again.