Last Supper... First Impressions

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The night before I left Paris, I was treated to a fabulous dinner, a historic event in my gastronomic career, and one that left me swooning and fishy smelling. It was at the Brasserie du Nord, just opposite the Gare du Nord. Someone wonderful, taking advantage of my pathetic state, invited me for a seafood platter. Coupled with a velvety almost syrupy Bordeaux, I hesitate to give the full details for fear of "girlfriend" retribution, dinner was fantabulous. A night to remember. A night to cherish before the cold harshness of a the morning after. Who else but the best splurge the cashola for oysters, clams, lobster, crabs, periwinkles and langoustines the night before a life-changing trip. Mercy Buckets.

Actually, the evening after would be more precise. Because, despite my best attempts, and in fact because of my best attempts, most of my packing was done in that syrupy state of disaffection. I know I left my perfume behind, but let's hope that's all.

This day started at 7:30, Paris time. Woke up. Stared blankly and coldly around, smelled coffee, moved body three inches to the right, and groaned. Waited another sullen 10 minutes in bed and turned another three inches to the right. Now within viewing distance of cellphone. Horror. Shower... crying, packed, elevator, taxi, airport, argument, crying, idiocy, lunatic fringe, melancholic dry heaves, glazed eye over the stricken dry air of the airport. Smell of cold cigarette smoke makes me nauseous. Eventually, good bye.

Rest of time hazy in terror, and blunt tiredness. Impossible to eat food. Too nasty. Watch highlights of past Wimbledon champions 3 times. Made me understand the glory of Pete Sampras in a brighter light. Also watched vague snippets of The Ring 2 and Million Dollar Baby. Only film I managed to watch in entirety was Batman, the original Tim Burton version with Michael Keaton. Now that, dear readers, is a great film.

Hijacked by lonely scottish canadian woman from Scarborough. She goes on and on, in sweetness, in utter boredom. I realize little by little the flatness of the accent. Like a glass of Perrier left out in the sun. After listening for a bit, scared more by her anxious habit to finish saying everything within the second, and crazy leather coat, decide to pass small hint by affixing headphones to ears.

Finally, we're flying over Canada. The sky clears. I can see it. And it looks the way I remember it. Bumpy and greenish. The clouds are like giant dinosaurs you wish you could skateboard on. I am becoming a little more acclimatised to the idea that this is something I know. But it's a lie. The person who knews this has been on strike for such a long time god knows if she's still alive.

Airport. Toronto. It's now 6pm, Toronto time, 12am, Paris time. I get off the plane, go through customs, and call my mother with a quarter I borrow from some woman. I go outside to wait for her arrival. A woman falls down next to me. She is in a largish summery beige dress. One of her knees rests bent. The rest of her is utterly prone. I don't see her face because security comes rushing in. For the next 30 minutes she doesn't move and is surrounded by emergency staff. I imagine she has a concussion. I imagine she is bleeding out of her ears, or that one of the skull plates has imploded. Horrible things. Totally delirious by this point.

Bad car fumes through all of this, and to be honest, I was more irritated with the tardiness of my parents than I was interested with this fallen woman. I don't know her... I just want to get out of the airport.

Keys to new apartment, checkover space. It's in the old neighbourhood. My old west end stomping grounds.

And that's when it hits me. This is why I've come back. I lived here for 6 years with the man I loved. I broke up with him and left. Just like that. Now, coming back, I realize that I love this place... that I own it in my mind, and it is not a shame to remember and to love even the things that exist not anymore. Of course, it's just a beginning. It's a first glance around a neighbourhood that's changed. In two days I'll concoct something completely different. You'll never believe it. Because I barely do.


Part two: Tomorrow I will recount my sister's new life, and meeting the Sheltonius, which is previewed for tomorrow.

G'night sweetheart well it's time to go.