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the cosmos

September 11, 2008

In its most general sense, a cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system.

In a world that feels chaotic most of the time, I find it interesting that the very definition of cosmos is antithetical to chaos.  Interesting, yes.  Surprising?  Not one bit.  I am, in fact, reminded regularly that the cosmos totally has its shit together even when I’m pandemonium personified.

Case in point…

I promised that I would tell you about how I got here, in this apartment, on Parc Avenue, in the Mile End of Montreal.   Though the story comes late, it seems like the perfect time to tell it now that I’m all settled in and the turbulence of the past few months has subsided.  The captain of this cosmos turns the seat belt light off, a drink is poured, muscles relax, I fly into the clouds with a sense of survival and look back at it all in awe, at a sky that is clementine and cotton candy colored with streaks of black and blue.

The story begins on the last Saturday of July, a day when I was supposed to be miles away from Montreal and instead I found myself in the Mile End with my friend Sylvia, who had recently found an apartment of her own in the area and claimed it was the best quartier in the city.  I had placed a rather pleading call to her that morning, realizing that it was the dawn of August, which was the dawn of September and I had yet to begin searching for a place of my own.  My cousin Amy had taken me in for the Spring and Summer (rent free – oh! the generosity will never be forgotten) and although I could live with the woman forever, so wonderful is she, it was time for me to flap my fledgling wings, jump from the nest that had helped heal me and fly into singlehood proper.

And so it was that I found myself on the corner of Parc Avenue and Fairmount on that particular day, at that specific time, beginning my search for my very own place.  I remember saying, as I got out of the car, listen, Universe, if you want to help me find the perfect apartment today… geez, that sure would be great (yes, that is how I talk to the Universe), to which Syl replied something about how good it is to be positive but searching for an apartment can be a process (a long and painful process).  It had taken her a month to find a spot that wasn’t either totally crotté (disgusting) or overpriced and closet-sized.  She didn’t want me to get my hopes up but she promised we would find something by the end of August.

5 minutes later, I was opening a brown gate that led to a court yard with a big patch of bright yellow flowers beneath a sumac tree, which fronted a building that I was drawn to, for no particular reason other than it had an energy that attracted me, like a moth to a flame.  I looked in every window, in the hopes of glimpsing an à louer (for rent) sign.  No such luck.  But as I turned to walk away, a woman opened her door and asked it I was looking for a place to rent.  YES!  Yes, I am!

She (Fabie) was going up North to teach in Natashquan, and was looking for someone to sublet her gorgeous place for a year.  Everything was staying (furniture, appliances) and everything was included (heat, water, electricity, phone, internet, cable).  Regrettably, the price was way beyond my means and so I left with a heavy heart and her email address in my pocket and while I looked at a couple other crotté places, I became découragée.  I had expected, somewhat naively, to just snap my fingers or rub a genie out of a bottle and find a pad on the spot.

Sylvia had to get to work so I decided to keep looking on my own but a storm soon loomed over the city and it rained hard and I found myself walking home in the rain, barefoot on the pavement because my flip flops were too slippery and I nearly cracked my skull open while crossing the street, a skull that was filled with thoughts of crotté apartments and a long list of worries (quite a sight for those stopped at the red light, I tell ya, and it was actually so acrobatic that I managed to crack my own self up).

I got back at Amy’s and took a pity nap then took matters into my own hands.  I did a budget, then I emailed the lovely lady with the lovely apartment and told her my situation and asked if it was at all possible to knock $100 off the rent.  She said she would have to think about it and in the meantime, I asked to see the place again with my cousin.

The next morning, Amy and I visited the apartment.  It was just as perfect as I remembered and became even better once I saw the phenomenal rooftop terrace, at which point  the conversation went something like this…

Me: Wow!  It’s beautiful, but I have to think about it.

Amy: Jeanine, seriously, what is there to think about? This place is unbelievable.

Fabie: Écoutes… if you tell me that I don’t have to worry about cleaning the apartment before leaving, I’ll knock $100 off your rent because I like you and I trust you and some things in this life are worth a hell of a lot more than money.

And that’s about when the angels started singing and Bono chimed in with it’s a Beautiful Day (oh my God… I just listened to the first few verses of this song and it couldn’t be more appropriate) and we all jumped up and down and hugged.

Those quick connections in this world can be so powerful – call it serendipity, happenstance, coincidence… Fabie calls it les atomes crochus bringing us together – the pull of energies, everything lining up just for that moment.  Me being in the city when I should have been in the mountains for the weekend, Sylvia getting lost on her way to picking me up, the parking spot we found… everything led up to me being at that exact spot at the exact moment when she happened to peer out her window.  Only later, as I signed the lease and drank a beer with her, did I find out that Fabie shares the same birthday as my best friend, Kat.  Also, she fully understood my pain as her partner had broken up with her in March.  Les atomes crochus.  So it came that we christened this place the little healing boat.

And so it is that I live in this awesome pad on Parc Avenue and that I can type this post from this caffe right across the street, where the baristas make the best soy lattes I’ve ever had the pleasure of sipping.  Or I can sit on the rooftop with a glass of wine and watch the sun set behind magnificent mosques and church steeples and tall buildings, or the moon rise over Mount Royal.  I have jogging trails in the mountain 5 minutes away, streets lined with fruiteries and boulangeries, terraces filled with happy people sharing a drink during 5 à 7 (happy hour), the YMCA and library a few blocks away and a little healing boat to help me sail through this next chapter of my life…

It turns out the cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system, wouldn’t you say?

Welcome to my (single) hood, friends.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2008 5:32 pm

    i love this story of yours, the amazing coincidences of life’s journey and the soft landing in beauty. i am so happy for you ~ to have found yourself in this life, to have a heart open enough to take chances … yay you : )

  2. September 11, 2008 6:00 pm

    WOW!

    RJ

  3. September 11, 2008 8:10 pm

    That was simply lovely. What a great set of circumstances leading you to that much-needed place.

  4. September 11, 2008 8:31 pm

    what an absolutely wonderful tale to read while eating my lunch…a warm congratulations!! enjoy your little slice of heaven.

  5. September 11, 2008 9:32 pm

    I’ve been thinking of you, and hoping all’s well. I see I needn’t have worried at all. Congratulations on listening to yourself.

  6. September 11, 2008 9:40 pm

    A beautiful reminder that we are all right where we need to be. Thank you for brightening my day a bit and I’m so glad you are blogging again!

  7. Frannie permalink
    September 12, 2008 11:00 am

    Yaaaay, babe! You make me want to come back to visit so I can see your awesome new home. Gotta go find a hammer to break open the piggy bank!

  8. September 12, 2008 5:32 pm

    This makes me ridiculously happy for you. I had a wonderful little apartment on l’Esplande one year when I was in University. Bliss.

  9. Christina permalink
    September 13, 2008 3:40 pm

    How very poetic and beautiful. The stars were all aligned for you! I`m so happy for you!

  10. Alison permalink
    September 13, 2008 11:30 pm

    You deserve this. I too love reading the story even though I’ve heard it before. I’m so glad you shared it with everyone.

  11. September 18, 2008 11:06 am

    How wonderful…all for you 🙂

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