It seemed like clockwork that my Swedish car would develop fall into a broken bone and her walk taunted me like a vicious lover's cycle. On her good days, whatever gentle pressure was needed for the road to followed her wheels was never felt in my in lungs or in my hands that held it steady. Her mood shifted in the clutch and we enjoyed and I hated the times we made up before we fell into it all again. One week before my April birthday, I drove the 401 route to Toronto for the last time with the SAAB. The catch was that I had to extend my drive to Brampton to visit my long winded cousin that can evaporate hours and your breath. He told me to meet me at a bar called "Tracks" which was behind the banks and in the lot beside the train track overpass. We shared a few beers and enjoyed our conversations. We stayed later than intended as he brushed off our need to return to Kel's place at a decent time. None of this was a surprise. One o'clock brought us to Kel's and she greeted us at the door half asleep and we exchanged updating conversations until she was too tired to stay up.
My cousin was to take my car and prepare it for sale and at the same time rid me of the social requirement to have a car and collect a 10% commission. The nostalgic orange sky drive from earlier that evening didn't resurface and I felt no longing saying goodbye to that car. When I walked back into her to house, Kel immediately woke up and put ideas on the table that included late night drinks as she pulled a party favour from behind her ear. She offered me a Bud Light Lime and I could taste the freshness in my tongue during her description. Some time ago, her and Cath visited me in Montreal and got me hooked on So Nice, a soy based milk beverage, but conveniently omitted the fact that it had been linked to impotence. In the same sentence as the Lime beer she offered me a So Nice slushie and we added vodka - I was destroyed with laughter.
The next day, Cath, Kel and I headed towards Greektown for lunch at my aunt's and our favorite restaurants, Mezes. We drove past Cath's soon to be father-in-law Mr. Donahue on the corner of Danforth and a side street. The car slowed and I rolled down the passenger windown and said "good afternoon Sir". He laughed and was surprised, but before we could say another word Cath hit the gas to take the corner and we drove onwards to find a parking spot at the side of the road with the past due bananas in the backseat for Kel to make her bread.
That night Dani and David took me out for an early birthday dinner at a sushi restaurant close to our old haunts. Most of my vision of the night is blurred but I remember Dani gave me an amazing card with flying saucer with a little boy inside shaded in brown with a crayon. The cover brought a laugh but her words were of the most special and still sits on my bedside table.
Reverend Niles has been around their families for years and gave the service when my aunt celebrated her musical life and when she moved on from it. Cath naturally visited him in that familiar Markham church to ask him to be at the center of Cath's wedding atop the Manulife center surrounded by a panorama of the city that breathed life into their childhoods, their own lives and my shaping in the shadows of the buildings in University years. Her satisfied drive home demanded a nostalgic soundtrack and she searched that old beat up green Corolla but found nothing except for an ancient tape deck with a working spool inside. Without a though the play button was pressed and rising a falling scales sung by her mother and her vocal coach crackled and strained the speakers. The loop of this tape played for her mother to hear the depths of her tone for the many choir shows they and I attended.
Cath asked me to write some notes for her wedding and urged me to use this tape filled with the Former Ghosts that will carry us from the August Sunday afternoon light to the neon flicker of the nightly city. Riding the elevator, we'll use these moments to tell our Mother the new moments we've shared and our excitement for the ones to come.
Ry told me his first listen to Former Ghosts involved walking the rainy Thanksgiving streets of his hometown in a neighbourhood, somewhat foreign, where his parents had moved. He later read that "Fleurs" was so reverb laden that if you strung out all of its spools, it would drift on for years.