Ha, now I’m a bunch of days behind. It’s… been a crazy week.
I’m… in the little dormitory room I rented out on Loyola Campus, out in N.D.G. It makes laugh out loud, the irony of it: this is where I started out in Montreal, and this ends up being the last neighborhood I lived in there. My blue University of Saskatchewan backpack is on the bed, looking beat up now—where am I? Showering in the communal bathroom or something? I reach into the backpack and pull out my journal—of course it’s there—and begin to write:
Tonight, you’re going to visit my past—and your future.
Take the Metro to Sherbrooke. Wander the neighborhood. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but this place will be really important for you, someday. Walk around and imagine that, understand that there are places you’ve never been that matter to you more than anyplace you’ve ever been before. This place is… your heart will get so broken here. You’ll reassemble it here, too. You will read great books here, eat incredible food during life-changing conversations. The people you’ll meet, here… and such wonderful music.
Memories—do they ripple through me? It’s hard to tell: I don’t recall going there, but then I walked through so many neighborhoods… wait. I did. I… oh, wow. I even went to that little bookstore, the cruddy dollar bookstore. Didn’t find much special there, didn’t see why I’d written about that neighborhood instead of some other. I came to understand, in time, but… I think I liked the vibe of the place?
I’m not sure. All the memories from later are richer, more potent. Maybe I’m just imagining it. Maybe I never found the note till after I got back home? It’s weird that I wouldn’t remember. Still, I worry that it might be because the notebook is still in my hand. But there’s one more thing I need to do.
I fish around in the backpack, and find a couple of copies of the little Montreal subway map tucked into a pocket, so I stick one in between the pages:
Then I just manage to slip it back into the bag when, once again, I come loose in time… and as I tumble off, I realize I did go to Sherbrooke… and somehow, I felt less timid about the place, less hesitant to go into the shops. I realize nobody on this street was from here: everyone had come from someplace else, for some reason they’d forgotten. Well, maybe not everyone, but a lot of people. I understood the secret of cities: they are filled with places where you might eventually belong, if you want to.
Well, some cities, I think, tumbling off into the tangled skeins of my past…