On a Train to Somewhere (journal entry, part iii)

March 28, 2009

This has been my day so far, up to mid-afternoon on the 19th.

After my morning shower, I boiled some water in the left-behind electric kettle to reconstitute the spoonful of instant coffee I’d placed in the glass “mason jar” mug before giving away the rest of the coffee to the neighbours. On the two remaining pages of a punched-hole notepad, I wrote a note to Gwen and attached the apartment and mailbox keys by their ring through the top hole. The note mentioned such things as the four houseplants and the basketful of partially-used cleaning products.

At a quarter to nine, three bags of garbage lay waiting by the front door: the two dollar-store pillows, the grungey old shower curtain and ragged old towel, and the scrap-heap set of clothing I had reserved for this final week. Harnessing, collaring, and leashing Fergus and Cai, I locked the front door for the final time. Upstairs I went, dogs, garbage, and all.

Leaving the garbage momentarily by the elevator, I took the boys down the hallway and knocked on Gwen’s door. Three times. I knew she was in because her screen door was locked. when she and little Chilton finally answered,  Chilton yapped perfunctorily at his canine visitors while Gwen and I exchanged encouraging words and hugs. She gave me a grocery bag for the overflow from my bursting bookbag. I handed her the note and the keys.

As the dogs and I headed back to the elevator, I saw Jock coming along the corridor on his way to speak to Gwen, a puzzled frown on his face, a rolled envelope in his hands.

“G’morning, Jock! Did you get a message in a bottle?”

“Yes!” he exclaimed in relief. “Thank you! Thank you very much!” and he patted my shoulder.

09 00. The garbage had found its spot in the dumpster, and Cai and Fergus and I were away for a leisurely 90-minute walk before train time. I stopped to withdraw some cash at the automatic teller on the corner of Church and Wellesley, the hub of the gaybourhood, the place where E.g. and I had first come to feel safe and welcome nearly ten years ago. We had done a lot of growing here.

At the train station, I popped the boys into their crates, filled their water bottles, and wandered off to get a raspberry muffin for breakfast. Half an hour later, I boarded the Toronto-Montreal train, where I sit writing these words longhand. The car is nearly full; I am in a four-seat “reserved” space (i.e. one pair of seats faces the other) with two quiet, geeky guys engaged with either Google or Gogol. Across the aisle in the other four-seat set are three teenage girls discussing last night’s Britney Spears concert.

It’s 15 00. Just under two hours ago, I awoke in my seat, remembering that I no longer live in Toronto. Just over two hours from now, I’ll be meeting my son in Montreal where we’ll give the dogs a half-hour break before climbing aboard the Ocean train. Sonny Boy and I have booked a space on a sleeper car, and are looking forward to this new adventure.

Now it remains to be seen whether Turtle will post pics of the sleeper car before or after you’ve read the entirety of this long, long entry.

Note: Sonny Boy and I did take a few photos with his camera, but forgot to download them before he left for home again. As you may have inferred, it’s been a scrambled week computer-wise.