I remember arriving at a lonely door on Fairmont road with my friend Sebastien in January holding a case of beer and waiting for directions. We entered into the telephone booth waiting room and called my friend who was supposed to bring us up to the apartment. In the meantime we went upstairs and exchanged laughs with our new friends about how he always promises to be there - in a minute. He came some two hours later and we took over the DJing as we usually do.
Somewhere between the thin living room dancefloor and the essential kitchen party, I met Nina. I got to know about her and the cat in heat she pulls out for a great story. In front of an old faulty door, she'd reassure them that we were standing guard just in case the latch caught but we stood by and watched all the people lock themselves in the bathroom. In desperation, somebody wanted to escape through the window. That was our cue to push over to the kitchen party. Beside the fridge, a pantry door led to a staircase that spiraled up to the rooftop. We spent the entire night under that moon as the cross on Mont-Royal shined onto the snow. If I never saw her again, we'd always have her cigarette on the rooftop.
A month later, before returning home from a family funeral, my apartment building was burning. On our shoulders my sister and I carried my guitars, keyboards and digital cables into hotel room put up by the Red Cross. I would string together sounds on one bed and sleep on the other. There I sent the lyrics I wrote down for Nina on the rooftop. She gave warm thanks but it felt like the end.
The early spring was opened by a visit from my best friends Davy, Dani and Ally. They came into town with another group while Ally extended her work visit and stayed with me in my new apartment which I moved into a week after the fire, during the heaviest snow fall that I think I will ever see.
Saturday night we all went out and tore it up like we always do. I thought my coat ticket was soaked on the club's floor when I went to the check desk to find out it was already traded in for my wool jacket and ipod within its pockets. It rained coldly as we found a cab. By the end of the night, a taped out hop-scotch board took over my kitchen floor and Dani was under the sink, deep inside my cupboards and pulling out strainers and pots.
Ally and I have known each other since our first year of University but have been falling steadily into a deeper friendship through big nights in Toronto and fashion show visits to Montreal. This Sunday, she tried to play the piano and asked me to write a song for us to sing. With the windows open and the vines touched by church bells on the wind, she slept on the couch, and I let Sandro Perri sing us through this "City of Museums" filled with drag queens and go-go dancers on pedestals.
On the edge of summer in May, I received a call from my friend who told me that the guy who lived on Fairmont was leaving for Australia and one final party was going on that night. Four months to the day, I was walking down towards the rooftop unsure whether I would see her there but I ran into some of her friends who asked me surprisingly, "You are the one who wrote that song for Nina?". At 2am, she finally arrived and after a few slow beginnings we found ourselves on the rooftop again. We joked about making friends with the landlord to let us in or having to knocking down the door and lock whoever lived there, to spiral up the stairs.
That Sunday evening, I walked to Parc Jeanne Mance and sat in the grass facing the cross on the mountain and wrote the old and the new lyrics for Nina on the Rooftop into a card. "Tiny Mirrors" played as the people passing with dogs, djembes and "The Drums" soaked in the final hours of the weekend. Straight through the summer, we held on tight to the warm Sunday nights as long as we could, until we did it all again in seven days.