1. You get the keys late in the afternoon, go to the house and walk around, and it looks exactly the same as it did the last time you were there, just a few days ago. But now it’s yours and you can do whatever you want with it. The previous owner has left a letter that says, My kids said they “left happy thoughts around for you to find”, so maybe you will. You decide to stay for dinner, but forgot to bring plates or cutlery, so you go to a nearby cheese store and they give you a wooden plank for the cheese you pick out. It’s just an unfinished piece of wood, but it’s good enough. You stop at a Dollarama, get some knives and two champagne flutes, and then buy a bottle of sparkling wine too.
2. The location for the Uhaul pick-up gets changed at the last minute. You end up driving to an area of the city you’ve never been to before and as you approach the intersection there are police directing traffic. You find out that there has been a power outage on the length of street where you’re supposed to get the truck. Eventually you pull into a parking lot and double check the address because it doesn’t look like a Uhaul location. It looks like a store that sells… saris? There are hundreds of them, shiny and brightly coloured. You go inside and find out that they also rent Uhauls on the side. Because of the power outage, the computers are down and the lights aren’t working, and the store is dark. You go to the back to pick up the furniture pads and use your iPhone to light the darkened closet.
3. You load the truck that night with the help of your friends. When you’re done, exhausted from the day, you sit around and watch the Olympics. After that, every time you grab a box or run up and down stairs you imagine yourself competing as an athlete in London. This is ridiculous because a) you’re not an athlete and b) you aren’t even carrying that many boxes.
4. There is a heat alert issued for moving day, but you get to the house early and you have friends with you, and with everyone’s help the truck is emptied out quickly. You sit out in the backyard, eat popsicles and drink water, and your fridge is bursting with beer, but it’s barely 11 am, and maybe a little early for it? You send your friends home with bottles because a fridge stocked with that much beer is bound to be dangerous.
5. After everyone has left and the moving truck is returned, you start unpacking. One of you is grasping a glass desktop, carefully carrying it up the stairs so that it can be put in place, while the other person holds the door open. The edge of the desktop catches on the wall. It happens so quickly that you don’t remember it shattering. It’s as if it simply dissolved into thin air, poof, except now the two of you are surrounded in beads of tempered glass and covered in glass dust and, oh, blood? Blood. There is blood springing from tiny cuts on your arms and feet. You go to the bathroom to rinse it off. The new white bath rug is now blood stained. Nap time, you declare. It’s been a long day.
I don’t know much about houses
I know they have their own nature, nothing else.
New at first, like babies
who play in gardens with the tassels of the sun,
they embroider coloured shutters and shining doors
over the day.
When the architect’s finished, they change,
they frown or smile or even grow resentful
with those who stayed behind, with those who went away
with others who’d come back if they could
or others who disappeared, now that the world’s become
an endless hotel.
Your house seems happy to see you, and like the previous owner said, there are happy thoughts for you to find.
7. A few days later furniture is assembled, some boxes are unpacked, including the books, which don’t fit into the bookcases. There are too many of them. It’s a beautiful day and you don’t feel like unpacking and figuring out the book problem, so your best friend comes over and the two of you walk to the beach, spread out a blanket and lay in the sun, wade in the water, read. The beach is only 15 minutes away now, which kind of blows your mind because it was never part of the Toronto you used to know. You like this new version of Toronto: a messy, sunny house, a new neighbourhood, a beach. You can get used to this.