I’m moving. And it’s moving me, a lot more than I had expected - I had forgotten that moving is like shedding a skin of bricks.
I’ve sold the only home I ever bought myself, in the only neighborhood I’ve ever lived in here in Montreal. This place was my beginning after an end, the highly mortgaged light at the end of a long post-divorce tunnel.
I bought it 5 years ago, feeling pushed shoved forced into my new life as a single woman, a single parent. But the alone-ness proved to be worthwhile: for the first time, I alone decided who and what came in that front door, and who and what went out: thoughtless boyfriends, misbehaving relatives, bad furniture. Here I was reminded that I’m good at making friends and including people, and here I learned that it’s equally important to shed bad friendships and unkind people.
Now I’m surrounded by 78 boxes, ready to start another version of Montreal and of our lives. It’s not far, but I’m so sad, much like my daughter last night, “Mama, this is our home, and now we won’t ever be allowed to come inside again. What if the new lady doesn’t take good care of it?”. We both had a cry. Because she’s right, you buy a house, but you grow a home, just like you grow a plant.
We grew this home together, we infused it with the sounds of our lives: hysterical giggling as I chased Ailsa down the hall tickling her; plain old hysterical as I shouted at her for misbehaving; the clomping of little girls playing dress-up in my high heels; friends eating and laughing at so many dinners and drinking at so many parties; boy friends cooking or just filling the house with well-needed male energy; my family filling the house on holidays.
And sometimes too, the sad sounds that happiness requires to make you miss it. You need both to grow attached to a place.
I will miss Westmount, the Lulu Lemon clad women, the double parking, the overdressed dogs and overpriced coffee, the fountains at Westmount park and views from the top of Murray Hill park, the beautiful homes, the homeless guy outside the Metro who calls everyone “friend”. I might even miss the whining of my Plateau friends when they get tickets for parking on my street.
I already miss the age Ailsa was while we lived here.
More than anything I will miss bumping into my friends, Jen, Christine, Anny…the women who were my first friends after I moved back to Montreal following a 10 year absence, and who will always be my family. I hope they’ll trek over the mountain to see us, because those unexpected meetings were one of the loveliest pleasures of life in Westmount. And worth the ridiculous taxes.
Every one of you who walked through our door has helped grow this house into a home.
This place was my shelter in every sense of the word, and I will grieve our departure the same way I grieve saying goodbye to someone I loved, who loved me back well.
Don’t you know that if you break up with me, you’ll end up dating inferior women from now on?
A friend tells me what she was really thinking during an argument with her now ex.