In July 2006 I moved to Centretown, where I lived in a two-bedroom apartment on O’Connor Street with a girl named Holly until August 2007.
We called it the Party Flat. An homage to an English visitor, and to an apartment where dirt went down.
I covered much of what I wanted to say about that period in my previous post about Mod night. I’ve tried to write about my days at the Party Flat extensively, but always have trouble putting it into perspective. A lot of love, pain, heartbreak, frenzy, joy, and fear went down in that place. Two threats of eviction. A broken door. A smoke detector without a battery. The constant sense that if the living room didn’t have people in it, it soon would. That’s the hardest part to explain. It didn’t feel like Holly and I shared the place. It felt like we shared it with our friends.
It wasn’t big, but it was central. That was what I wanted. I hadn’t yet made enough foolish mistakes and was entirely willing to. But I knew we’d only be there a year, that my life was on track as long as I ultimately followed my ambitions to pick up and go to grad school and do other things. All in good time.
I fell in love while I lived there.
I wrote a lot at the Elgin Street Diner. I had a usual, and knew the names of most of the staff. I’d always wanted a place like it. A place to hang out, pick at food, talk about life. Retreat. Feel the comfort of a booth. Do a crossword. I’ve had some of the most significant conversations of my life in that diner. It can get loud and violent after the bars let out, but it’s practically a ghost town on weekday afternoons after the lunch crowds have gone back to work. Poutine, please. Keep the water coming.