Immediately after my grandfather’s funeral I was delivered into the company of friends new and old in the neighbourhood of Saint-Henri. I haven’t the slightest idea what possessed us all to lay back on the green grass and extend our feet into the warm September sky, but that’s exactly what happened—and so I decided to capture the moment for all time.
I often wonder what my life might have been like had my parents remained in Montreal, the city of my birth, rather than hightailing it to Toronto in the late 1980s. There is no way to go back, not now, though it doesn’t stop me from wondering. Another branch of the family remained behind—and several of my male cousins on that side have now done time in prison. Would I have been among them? Or would I have escaped that particular turn of the wheel of fate?
When my maternal grandfather passed away in 2011 my immediate family and I pilgrimaged to our hometown for the funeral. Along the way it seemed fitting to exit the highway in the West Island and make a brief pitstop at my childhood home, picture here. It looks much smaller than I remember it being, not that that should come as any great surprise. All our memories are filtered through a smoky glass, childhood memories especially. But there it is: a modest bungalow in the Anglophone suburbs, an artifact of a lost personal history, the location of a branch point leading off to some unknowable future in these many worlds of ours.