To Toronto, with love, from Paris

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I have a visitor from the Motherland this week. Ms. Mac-G is in town and I have to say I was extremely happy to see her. I love my friends, and it’s nice to see them, especially when they’re happy and beautiful, as I remember them to be. (Ok Mac-G was sometimes a grumpy-puss, but we’ve known better times as well). Catch-up was quick, because eventually had to run to work, but it was nevertheless nice. The best part was eating a falafel in the Marais park, just like we had done on my first trip to the city of lights.

All matter of things were hashed, all sorts of good gossip was passed, and all my hazy memories of Toronto were suddenly thrown in harsh and bright relief. It’s been a long time since I’ve been back in my hometown… but wait… can I still call Toronto my hometown?

This is the problem, and the source of a growing trepidation. I have been on the move since running away from that town, living in another culture, getting used to speaking a new language, coming to grips with getting older, growing up. I’m not the same girl I was three years ago, and a lot of things have changed, both in my life, and in the lives of my Toronto compadres. I am both looking forward to seeing everyone, and enjoying my time back there, but also cautiously acknowledging that all my former best friends have gotten used to a schedule that does not include me. I fear being isolated, and being a tourist in a place I used to call home.

Why did I run away from Toronto? I’ve been trying to answer that question for ages. I’m not sure… I think it had to do with drastic solutions for cowardly indecision. I was dating a boy, a wonderful boy, for 6 years, living with him, and couldn’t bring it in myself to terminate the relationship. The next best thing was leaving the country for graduate studies. A couple of months into the new school I cheated on him.

But was it just that? Not really. I love Toronto. I grew up there, and I spent the better part of my later teens and twenties partying in the central core. I knew most of the kids in the scene, I played in a band, I dated one of the most enigmatic and beloved boys in the city, I knew every nook and cranny, every new and old bar. It was old hat, and yet I still didn’t know anything else.

Yes… I think we’re getting warmer now. The truth of the matter is, as the later twenties beckoned, I realised I was deeply unsatisfied. Some call it the urge of the poet…I have no name for a ghost that haunts without face. The jabbing throb of the unexpected, the flight into the dark miasma, it screamed, and I responded in part. I have been a dark angel of the night, seeking adventure and improbable love. A mottled glance from an avenging angel is inside of me, and it eats my heart whole. I run away from problems, I run into myself.

There’s no running away when you’re alone. There’s no running away when fucking different boys leaves you unfulfilled. There’s cold comfort in the embrace of strangers. And still it beguiles… I am finding myself in Paris. A headlong jet engine where I have one finger on a wing, while my dress flaps madly in the violent air. I can’t confess to being wise, but I confess to being more in tune with who I wish to be. I have learned from mistakes, and still it is not enough. How much is enough? My heart is weak with the depth of this question…. And yet, I live!

My heart is in Paris. My heart is at home. Je vous aime.


Dedicated to old and new friends, both here, and abroad, without whom…. it is unanswerable.