Travel Diary Day One: May 15th, Montreal

I have just returned from a trip to Montreal for Dee & Freida's ish-wedding, (they eloped last year), and Madison for Karen & Pär 's ish-wedding, (they eloped 20 years ago), and WisCon, a feminist sci-fi writer's convention. I tried to keep a journal of the trip, an attempt to work towards fixing my awful stillness, sadness, and silence.

I feel like I should be taking more pictures, the signs are all French, there are blue and white flags flapping from storefronts, but it has been a very long day, stretched longer by my restless, nearly sleepless night and the dilation effect of crossing two time-zones. The plane ride was choppy, but comfortable all the same. Not enough passengers to fill every seat, so there was room to stretch, room enough to feel like we weren't crammed in a can. How flat this country is, how bleak, I thought, looking over the plains, but then the lakes began to appear. The lakes that freckle the country are still frozen stiff, even in May, small, tidy sheets of white that gleamed like I used to imagine diamonds are supposed to, blazing with the sunshine even as our shadow touched them.

My friends walk arm in arm, a married couple, beautifully affectionate, sweet and pretty. I adore them both, they make me ache to know the language better, so that I could be as quick and fluent with them as they are with each other. I remember their wedding, the sharp joy they gave out, like flares from lighthouses. They live together now by the Olympic Stadium in an apartment I had never been to before, shared with four cats, each with a distinctive personality, a greenhouse worth of plants, and books deeply piled on every flat surface. We are coming back from dinner, I’m to sleep in the front room, on a currant coloured velvet couch surrounded by novels, paintings, plants, and more art. It’s glorious. The building is old in a way that no buildings in the west are old, with painted over wallpaper raised in a repeating pattern of griffons and urns and dark wooden doors inset with stained glass. They are on the top floor, the stairs narrow, circular, and set with stone. It makes me think of castles and timeworn foreign movies. Someone shoots a gun, there are footsteps, someone running, but all you see is a hand on the rail. I love everything about it. I love everything about them. And underneath it all, a constant, the welcoming perfumed scent of sweet-smelling incense.

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