It has been more than two decades when we first saw the blueprint, liked what we saw and purchased what would be our first home here in Canada. Blueprints are too logical for me, I am a touch and feel person but you did not exist at that time so I had to be satisfied with lines, scales, measurements on paper and salesperson’s talk. Our meeting took place in a mobile home of the developer proudly displaying pictures of single, detached and townhomes. We chose you.
We travelled every weekend from Scarborough where we were living then to watch the progress of your creation – from a mere skeleton into this house that you would be in a six-month period.
I still have the first video footage of posts, columns, gas and electrical lines.
Then came the day of the move on an exceptionally freezing January day. Including a fierce blizzard. We watched with growing concern the swirling snow that reduced visibility; a raging wind swept against our eleventh-floor apartment window and the temperature dropped steadily.
During that nightmarish move most of my plants perished although they had been carefully wrapped in newspaper. Our kids were young and we, as new homeowners, had no idea how things worked in a house. Growing up in India, we always had things done for us.
It was cold. No, let me rephrase. It was FREEZING. How were we to know all new houses are cold to begin with? Thank goodness for wall-to-wall carpeting.
I remember dozing off at the top of the stairs where I was keeping watch over our young son as he slept in his own room. His dad and sister were bringing the last load of our belongings. Bone tired, all we wanted was to sleep. But there were things yet to be done.
2 a.m. My fingers are freezing and I can’t feel my toes. You seem to waken beneath my frozen toes, a sudden whoosh and you are quiet no more. The furnace has come on. In the apartment it was always hot during winter so we dressed in T-shirts and shorts.
The wind howls around your brick covering with the obvious intent to invade this space you have provided us. I shiver and wrap my arms around me to capture some warmth from my own skin while my mind wanders over the years to a house in a small town in India where I grew up. There, during winter nights, hyenas regularly visited our garden setting up a terrible howling and laughing to scare the living daylights out of us. My reflection breaks at the sound of a car door shutting. I run down the stairs, hold the door open, and welcome my family.
You will be here even when we are gone for you are eternal and will carry the essence of our being within you. Just like the original people who had their dwelling here. I feel their spirit in the breeze, in the quiet of dawn, on the sun speckled fence.
As with most people during the global pandemic, we have managed very little travel or entertaining. Instead, we have grown to love each and every corner of you, treasure and cherish the comfort and safety you provide.
It’s often said a house reflects the personality of the homeowner. I like to think, in our case, the opposite is probably true.
Stay safe. Keep smiling.
Purabi Sinha Das
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