the sky over the gatineau hills.

the sky over the gatineau hills.
graham law.

the sky over the hills.

the sky over the hills.
graham law.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

file this away.

when i returned to canada, in 1998, i first stayed with my parents in their small toronto apartment. it was not optimum, but i really had no choice. i had nowhere else to go and little money. i hadn't spent more than a few hours or a day with my folks in more than thirty years and it was not a situation in which i was comfortable. still, they were nice enough to let me use their den as a bedroom for a while.

upon carting my one suitcase into the room my dad, who followed me, insisted i never look in his filing cabinet. he was very definite about that. he told me exactly where to put my clothes and showed me where a blanket was which i could use when sleeping on the sofa. in the kitchen, i absently reached into a jar to take a cookie and my mom slapped my hand so hard i jumped off the ground. she barked: "NOT BEFORE DINNER!" when i reminded her that i was a forty-eight year old gentleman, she simply said: "doesn't matter to me, buster!" the den smelled badly of stale cigarette smoke, so i opened the balcony screen door. unfortunately, even tragically, a fly flew flagrantly in.

i didn't really take much notice but, by the time the fly made its way to the kitchen, all hell broke loose. my old mom began yelling and running around the place waving a large spoon. she was completely freaked out. my dad began hollering for me to "shut the damned door! shut the damned door!" i'm sure you understand that, in india, one fly flying flagrantly into a room would not raise an eyebrow. in that apartment it was as if we had been descended upon by an apocalyptic plague of locusts. mom kept trying to swat the thing and hitting appliances loudly instead. dad kept repeating that it was a huge problem, a huge problem. that was when i made my second mistake. i stupidly remarked: "dad, leprosy is a huge problem. bride-burning is a huge problem. one fly is really more of a nuisance." needless to say, my remark was not appreciated. the situation was finally resolved, however, at the expense of the life of the fly and with a heart-felt promise by me to never ever open the screen door again.

after dinner, which for me consisted of some totally over-cooked broccoli and mashed potatoes, all smothered in thick cheese, my parents shuffled down the hall to their friends' place to play 'bridge.' so i lay down in my bedroom, the den. as i lay there, i kept looking at my dad's filing cabinet. i kept looking at it and wondering why it was so important that i not ever go into it. of course, eventually i couldn't resist. i opened the top drawer. there was just a bunch of folders there, all sorts of my dad's business documents. so then i opened the next drawer. i was surprised what was in there. hesitantly, i opened the last drawer. then i stepped back.

both of those drawers were packed full of every letter i had ever written to my folks, filed neatly in folders, each labelled 'nathan' with the month and year.  

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