Sabrina + Billy

This story reminds me of the excitement you feel when you’re crushing on someone. When you come up with a catchy nickname and tell all your friends. When all you can do is wait for the next moment you catch a glimpse of your crush. Maybe you exchange a few words. Maybe you don’t. But later, you definitely obsess over every glance, word … and, of course, email, text, fb message, Instagram tag, etc.

Mississauga, Ontario – May 2007. Sabrina is working as a merchandising assistant at Wal-Mart. The buyer she is assisting requests that she sign out a laptop for their upcoming line review. These were the days of desktops only. So she marches on upstairs to the IT department and discovers a new guy has joined the team. His name is Billy. They barely exchange any words. She shyly accepts the new laptop from him and quickly returns to her desk. Upon her return, her buyer and she discover the loaner laptop is missing some key programs that they had requested. So up she goes again to get a new laptop. Unfortunately, new laptop but same problems. Her buyer flips out and reams Billy out. Sabrina feels terrible for the new kid in IT and hopes he doesn’t take it personally.

A few days later, she discreetly asks her friend in the mailroom who the New Kid is. She thinks he’s super cute and inquires if he’s single. Shortly after, her friend dutifully shares that he isn’t single and, in fact, is living with his girlfriend. “Oh well,” thinks Sabrina and moves on to put him out of her thoughts.

November 2007. Like all mornings, Sabrina logs onto her computer; however, this morning, she discovers an email from Billy. The note reads, “I heard you were on a getaway. Hope you had a great trip!” Sabrina is shocked. “How did he know about her family holiday to California?” she asks herself. She politely responds and here begins a beautiful friendship. They chat daily about big and small things; however, it isn’t until they start talking about music that something magical happens. You see, Billy is a music aficionado and his band du jour was a small punk band called Against Me. One day, Sabrina consults Billy on what CD she should buy on her lunch break and he suggests she check out the band Against Me. “Too late,” replies Sabrina, “I’m listening to them as we speak.”

For Billy, this sealed the deal. The Girl in the Red Coat was the girl of his dreams. One month later, Billy will email Sabrina asking her to go on a coffee date. Six months later, Billy will email Sabrina expressing his feelings. She’ll reply that she feels the same.


Dancing in the Street. Above: Havana, Cuba, 2015. Below: Toronto, Canada, 2015.


Montreal, Canada, 2015.


Billy and Sabrina’s First Dance in Muskoka, Canada, 2015.


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