It had all the elements of that quintessential bad flight—crying baby across the aisle to my left, woman with tiny bladder getting up every twenty minutes on the right, and crazy man behind me kicking my seat and deciding my armrest was actually his footrest—but it went surprisingly well. In fact the only thing that really annoyed me is that I still didn’t get to see the end of my second movie. If only I hadn’t watched that episode of Corner Gas I had already seen at the beginning of the flight… oh, the ups and downs of the personal entertainment unit.
Waking up in Montreal today I felt a bit like a mother coming home from just dropping off her youngest at the university dorm. In many ways this is an empty city for me now, all my best friends having flown off to something new. Even my apartment feels distant, full of someone else’s stuff from the summer. The soulful flugelhorn singing across the road in the music building isn’t particularly uplifting in this train of thought.
Despite the great times I had in Vancouver—I have, for example, a small teddy bear from our first place finish at the regatta in June sitting on my television set, and a t-shirt in my closet that makes me smile every time I think of it and the memories it represents—by the time I was on the plane it already felt like it never happened. The same way, I guess, that Nagasaki faded away when I landed in North America four years ago, or the way Montreal didn’t exist while I was in Vancouver.
Yet somehow, though these places ceast to exist when I leave, home is always where I’m not. When I’m in New Brunswick for Christmas, when I say “home” I mean Montreal. When in Vancouver, home was New Brunswick. And now, for a while at least, home means Vancouver.
I went for a walk today and the streets of Montreal felt nothing but grey and urban. Not my best colours, but ones I must live with for another eight months. I can deal with that. Just a blip in time until the next plane, until I’m off to whatever city accepts me, and Montreal might be called home again.