One Friday before reading week had started, I spontaneously decided to go in the opposite direction of home and visit Montreal before heading back to where my parents were staying for the winter. They mentioned that their rich friend had generously lent them her mansion but I decided that I wanted to visit a couple of buddies who I hadn’t seen since the summer prior. It was cold and rainy, like a lot of Canadian Februaries, but Montreal had it particularly bad this year. I had also only worn converse sneakers and a flimsy jacket because I needed to pack light with all the buses and trains I was taking for this last-minute mini vacation. I was tired from all the school and looking forward to shutting my brain off.
My plans were pretty haphazard. My one friend, Gene, was leaving for Mexico or someplace hot the next day with the rest of her classmates but I hadn’t seen her in ages and this was the only time I ended up visiting her at school in Montreal. She suggested I go out with her and her friends and sleep at her place and then leave early in the morning the next day before she had to leave to catch her flight. I don’t remember many details of this night but I for sure puked in her bathroom and probably offended one or two of her lovely roommates. We crashed in her bed for what seemed like minutes before we were unceremoniously woken up by her alarm. She had packed her bags and labelled her toiletries like the anal type A mom that she is and I grabbed a cab to my middle school friend, Darren’s house. Like Gene, I hadn’t seen Darren in ages, but unlike Gene, our relationship was kinda weird. We were part of similar friend groups in middle school and kept in touch throughout the years but mainly only peripherally. When I thought of the people I knew in Montreal, I texted him and he offered to let me crash in his bed so I thought I would be set for the remainder of the weekend and maybe a couple of extra days if he’d have me.
What Darren didn’t tell me was that he lived with his girlfriend and three other roommates, two of whom were there when I arrived. His girlfriend was not as Darren had recently cheated on her and she found out about it. His story was that he went to a bar alone and a strange and pretty girl approached him and asked him for his number and if he wanted to have sex. He agreed and that was it. He had also decided that he wanted to continue to see this girl while continuing to date his long-term live-in girlfriend. She, surprisingly did not like this idea and left the apartment for a much needed break at her parents’ place. Our schools shared the same reading week so the timing could not have been better for her to leave.
Darren’s roommates knew about this new girl and hated him, for obvious reasons. I felt this awkwardness as soon as I entered their apartment but still had no idea. He took me to his bedroom immediately to drop off my stuff, which I now feel like probably looked very suspicious, and told me everything I just mentioned. I told him he was dumb, he agreed and we changed the subject. Before heading back into the common spaces of his apartment, he asked that I not mention the new girl’s name, his girlfriend and to please play along when he said he was leaving to his uncle’s house for the next couple of nights. “Wait, what?” I said. “You’re leaving?” “Ya, I figured you’d appreciate the bed to yourself.” I mean, I DID appreciate the bed to myself but I didn’t want to be staying in his huge apartment alone without him. I brushed it off and moved on to meet his roommates. After making sure I was comfortably settled, Darren immediately took off.
I was left with his weird roommate, Caroline, who suggested we smoke pot on the balcony. It was freezing out but I thought it would help alleviate the weirdness of being alone with a strange new friend. It didn’t. She suggested we take the subway to a market where we could get crepes. I agreed and we spent an almost completely silent subway ride just looking at each other on a packed subway cart. We get to the marketplace, which is actually really cool and huge and we line up for crepes. I get confused when waiting for my order of a nutella and strawberry crepe and the guy convinces me I ordered an apple one. I’m pretty sure I didn’t but Caroline can’t corroborate my nutella story so I just take the apple crepe because I don’t want any more conflict. We eat in virtual silence and then take the subway home. I tell Caroline that I’m heading out for a walk and to potentially meet some nonexistent friends. I was convinced that I could either make a new friend or go through my phone and eventually find someone I knew living in Montreal. I did neither of these things. Instead I was outside for an hour before I got cold because my converse shoes were soaked through from stepping in too many slushy puddles so I had to retrace my steps.
I came back to Darren’s place and avoided Caroline, who was now occupied with talking to another roommate loudly about how much of an asshole Darren was. Lol, tell me about it. I went to his room, took out my computer and thanked god that he answered my text asking for the wifi password before he left. I texted my best friend, Julie, who knows Darren, and complained about how weird of a situation we were both currently in. She sympathized and I decided to buy my return ticket home, early the following day. Trains were usually 8 or so hours so I packed up my stuff that night and went to bed before 10. I woke up early, cabbed to the train station and got breakfast there to avoid any more interacting with his roommates and got on the train. I felt immediate relief. The train was calm and quiet and I texted my parents about getting picked up so they could drive me to their new, temporary spot. They agreed because they’re lovely and my dad picked me up from downtown and drove me to their fancy neighbourhood where they had been staying at their friend’s house temporarily.
The place was huge and isolated with a giant ravine in the backyard, which I noticed the following morning. I was on the second of three floors and essentially had a wing of the place to myself. I was a bit stunned when I first got there and spent a solid hour doing a tour. That’s how you know a place is huge. It had a wine cellar and an en suite bathroom attached to every bedroom. The place was decorated with pictures of my mom’s friend, her husband and their kids. It was extremely beautiful and looked like it was designed and decorated in the 80s. I loved it. I had a quick snack with my parents and told them about my weekend before retiring to my quarters for the week. I set up my computer in the bathroom and opened itunes. I have a playlist specifically made for taking baths and clicked on it. I ran the enormous tub and grabbed some bubble bath that was hanging out under the sink. It took less than five minutes to fill up because the water pressure was so strong.
I dipped my foot into the scalding water and kept going until I was fully submerged. The coldness in my feet and ankles from the weekend spent running through slush puddles couldn’t be hot enough and I slowly relaxed into a knees bent, sitting position. My songs were playing, I closed my eyes and went over the weekend’s vivid memories in my brain. I started crying. The tears came quickly and felt cleansing. They were so strong that I started to sob. I have never felt more relaxed in a bath. I stayed longer than usual but didn’t shave my legs or actually clean myself. I submerged my head multiple times and finally, after a solid 45 minutes and a lot but not all of the bubbles having dissolved, I got out of the bath. Besides getting into one, this is one of my favourite parts of baths. I took one of the many big person sized towels and wrapped it around myself. I brushed my teeth and got into clean pyjamas, closed my computer and slept the sleep of a very tired but renewed person.