Nonfiction: A Study in Montreal (pt.1)
A city taller than the saints towering on church ledges itself, it was November. There’s something enchanting about being alone and cold and young and stupid. The cars, the tiny roads, the trickling sound of music echoing down the street lined with Greek columns. I married the city to the sound of a Christmas song with a glorified pine tree for minister.
The frigid, busy streets seemed to lean in on me, pressing in with their immense, concrete beauty. They wanted me to suffocate so they could sweep my limp corpse into a forgotten crevice. I couldn’t stop staring in the drunk, blue evening gloom. And still, the city was yet to come alive.
I left a piece of myself in that place. It crawled into the rusted, cracking breaks in the highway concrete. I thought the streets would collapse on us; I fancied the thought. But then there’s so much more. I had street names memorized, I had names for every face I met, though no words would fit the people right. They still don’t.
“Mr. Amber Eyes, I can’t understand a damn word you’re saying but if you keep looking me dead in the eyes like that, I might just run away with you.”
The people you meet on the streets in the cold of winter are different. You’re not supposed to look their dogs in the eyes, you shouldn’t touch them. Sometimes they’re bitter, like Leopard. Sometimes they make you feel gut-wrenchingly helpless watching people avert their eyes and walk away. It filled my stomach with black-purple fog, like a negative miasma. And here I was, on the pretense of faith. A liar and a vagrant. If I have any confessions to make, it’s that I felt at home with the lost ones and had nothing in common with the fortunate.