My brother calls me with news. “I’m marrying over Labor Day. The wedding will take place in Montreal.”
“That’s wonderful,” I tell him, excited for him because he loves her. Their tale is one that will have a happy ending. I go to Montreal ahead of the family so I can explore the city on my own while lodging in my future sister-in-laws guest room.
The bride’s mother greets me at the door. She is the adoptive mother, not the biological mother, but the resemblance is uncanny.
She is originally from Hamburg. A tall woman, she can instantly see through anyone playing games in life, and will call him or her on it when something is out of line. Fearless in stating her opinion, she is witty, and a precisionist in style. While she makes us coffee, I peruse the bookshelves.
“You’re a reader?”
“It’s my escape, being in my head.”
“Ach so. What are you currently reading?”
“A biography of Frida Kahlo.”http://www.biography.com/articles/Frida-Kahlo-9359496)
She lights up, since she too is a visual artist. “A painter. A lot of physical misery, she had.
“Yes, but it attached her to her interior and imagination,” I add.
“Interesting, my daughter told me you share astrological signs, yet she never speaks about the interior.”
“My interior is what I live for.”
“Have you ever painted, dear?”
“Yes. I like oils because I can play with color and texture.”
She smiles and hands me a paper map. “A map of the city. We haven’t been here since we left. That was 18 years ago. I think you’ll find it surprisingly clean, safe and peaceful,” she says.
What she forgets to mention is Montreal http://www.tourisme-montreal.org is also eclectic. As I roam, I find the city is a hub for ethnic theater, television and film, which stimulates my thinking.
In the process of my experimentation, what I want is to make art for mass appeal. I don’t want to design for another home-builder. It’s more sales than creative. Innately attracted to the theater, I think that my design talent will lend itself to this arena. I establish a new plan; to offer my services gratis on my days off at a theater.
By Friday afternoon, my mother, other brother, his wife, and my youngest niece have flown in. They, too, will be staying here. The bride’s father, has also arrived. Both he and my father bear the same name, an unusual name that is not generational. My father having died the year before, I sense is all around me and most likely my brother. I feel this matrimonial union is a good omen–a soulmate marriage guided by him and sanctioned by the divine hand of God.
To ease any crowding, the bride and her parents stay at the home of her closest friend.
In the kitchen, my mother grills fresh salmon, roast potatoes, and makes a vegetable quiche for my vegetarian benefit. I’m dicing tomatoes for a garden salad while my oldest brother sits at the kitchen table with a map, planning day trips. “On Sunday, we can go to Quebec City. It’s a two-hour drive, and it’s historical,” he says.
That evening we hit the Latin Quarter. My niece being a teen thinks I’m cool because I expose her to the nightlife of the city.
The following morning is the wedding. The bride has left us directions on how to get to the church, by foot. I like that Canadians walk. Not only do I find it healthful, but the area is quaint, and walking gives me a chance to explore more of the neighborhood.
During the long traditional French Catholic service, where parents join the bride and groom by mostly standing around like confused deer, I fantasize two years back in time, I would have bet my last dollar I’d be up there—but instead…