The entirety of my trip was in the company of Andrew and Alex, who hosted me for the weekend. Pictures tell the story.
Drinks at the Madison
On Friday night, we went to The Madison to catch up with their old dragonboat teammates. The Madison is a massive pub, made from two or three amalgamated houses in the downtown district. A very popular spot, which was apparent from the amount of people in it as the night went on.
I hadn’t been out drinking in…two years? Something like that.
Food was a highlight of the weekend. After drinking on Friday night, we went for some greasy wings. Saturday night was filet mignon wrapped in bacon at Peter’s Fine Dining Steak & Seafood. Sunday was a Chinese Thanksgiving dinner. Monday was dim sum. Even on the way home, Annie and I got talking about Chinese food, so we stopped off at a Chinese restaurant when we arrived in the city, and I took the leftovers home.
I tried to put my foot down on being treated to only one meal, but in typical Chinese fashion, Andrew and Alex refused.
It’s been less than a year since Brian passed away, and it was his birthday that weekend. I didn’t know Brian very well. We were part of the same clique, but other than that, we never spoke much. I only have a single memory of him: when all the guys were at my house and we were watching Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life Part VII: Death.
A bunch of his friends decided to visit him on Saturday morning, but Andrew and Alex went themselves for a little more privacy.
Even though I never felt a connection with him, or even believe in such rituals, it was achingly poignant to see the twins touch his stone and talk to him so casually.
I’d been following his progress since last Christmas, when we were told that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and his friends had such nice things to say about him. It made me wonder. What will my friends write of me when I’m gone?
A trip “home” is a chance to see the old stomping grounds. Places I grew up, hung out. Next time, I’ll visit the path I took to Ashley’s house. Ah, memories of childhood girlfriends.
Chinese stores are also a somewhat necessary visit. This time I was looking for a ceramic teapot, so I can build up some flavour in the stone, as opposed to making tea one glass at a time. No dice, I’ll wait until I go to Hong Kong next year to find one.
Markville Mall has changed tremendously. It was the closest mall to us by far, so the one in which we spent the most time. I remember seeing my old classmates working there all the time. It’s filled with Chinese people now.
The Annie who drove me was someone I knew through Andrew and Alex back in grade three and four. I remember her sister, now about 20, running around in diapers back then. Andrew, Alex, and I would go to her house, and I would steal rock sugar from the cabinets.
I also met-up with Dave, whom I hadn’t seen in about eight years. “You haven’t changed at all”, he said. As kids, we lived a block away from each other. We used to walk to elementary school, until I switched to a different one in grade five. Then I switched to his school in OAC, and all grown up, he would drive me. The whole time, we were always in the same clique.
I also saw Joe (or Uncle Joe, as I used to call him), who’s the father of Rockson and Cason, and also used to be one of my scout leaders. We both recognized each other at the front door, but couldn’t remember each other’s names.
Who knows when I’ll see these people again.
Since the temperature is falling and the flowers are dying, I tried to capture the theme of decay. Leaves on the ground were mostly red, but there were a few green ones, filled with life, sticking out. Most of my shots were in the morning, when the dew was still on the ground, and the sun was just peering over the horizon.
I had hoped to get pictures of our old campgrounds, but it was just too much to fit into one weekend. One day I’ll get a chance, but it must be during the summer and in the morning, as I remember it.
At home at home
The weekend was somewhat non-stop, sticking with Andrew and Alex’s social calendars. It wasn’t overstimulating, but exhausting. It was only this weekend that I felt caught-up with sleep. Before leaving, Nora gave me some mango green tea and white tea in pyramid bags, which Annie once gave her.
It was a strange couple of days, maybe because I was riding off my momentum. I never felt so at-home in the world, and it was a peculiar feeling indeed.
But this is where I belong.
- I’ve decided that from now on, the quoted “home” will refer to Toronto, and the unquoted home will refer to Ottawa [↩]