Nico was a good friend of mine who showed me around the city when I first arrived in Montreal. He introduced me to his French friends, their parties and their lives while trying to make jokes in two languages against a backdrop of a single red painted wall per apartment in the Plateau.
A Sunday morning in the summer, we had a breakfast of crepes and shared a window pane with a backyard terrace whose stones were darkened by the rain. I hesitated everytime the waitress stood by with her pen and pad listening for my order of french pastries. In the car ride home, I watched the glued rain drops on the window pane and said a brunch goodbye to Nico, his Mom who was visiting from La Reunion and Laurent and Caro.
I swung open my door and grabbed my umbrella without a second thought and turned around towards the direction pointing to where I had just been. It immediately started to rain as I walked the stone streets which were forced upwards and delicately torn apart over the years under the falling water. Alongside Parc Jeanne Mance on the asphalt path with giant trees standing as fence posts, the rain turned and confronted me head on to keep me out. After falling miles, the sheets of rain pushed me under a tennis court overhang. Afternoon rivers formed and they walked down the concrete stairway and it's falls spilled into the sidewalk. My pant legs were soaked and I waited in the crisp air with delayed rain drops crashing and finding eachother all around me. I closed my eyes and I could hear their wide texture.
It's intensity slowed and I jumped over these new landscapes and walked up towards Laurier. I found myself at the cafe, looking in through it's window to her and her workmates in the brunch closing hour. Standing beneath the neighbour's overhang, I planned my move inside and I delayed it. She emerged and walked the other way with her black umbrella open. I ran after her across the abandoned main street and down a house filled road.
In my broken french I tried explaining that I was at her cafe earlier and that I didn't have the courage to linger around her smile and that if we could over a coffee. I told her my name and Alexandria told me hers in an auburn french accent. She told me she was sorry and that she was taken, in the rain, she was late in meeting him. She gave me thanks and I was convinced she embraced the warm gesture. My urgency left with the empty wet streets. The sparse and floating keys of "The Balloonist" carried me back down towards my home but never once broke my smile of tasting what a morning after summer brunch could have been and the reasons why this was the last day I wasn't going to tell you that I've gone ahead and fallen for you.
Midway into the summer and in between parting ways with Nico after a party to take a walk with my headphones down my brick lined street and phoning me up that Sunday morning, he learnt that this was the week he was going to quit his job in the city, leave for the islands and pursue his dream of being a pilot. Then he casually invited me to brunch. It was the same weekend in June, when I first moved to Montreal, that he left after seeing me through the year.
Sitting with friends, chatting over brunch, to try and capture the last night and day, May your heart be the map.