On the way to work a thousand-and-one unworked novels realise themselves. I’m energised by the mild temperatures, the brown brick, the neighbourhoods and landmarks I pass as I go.
Our new home is not the Beaches, which is a ghetto drowning in designer dogs, white professionals, and entitled children. It is not Elm and Bay, which felt as removed and lifeless as Sauroman’s tower. It is a place of life, fertile and yielding, and it spills into the streets like the grapevines that populate it in late summer.
It’s a return in many ways. My father has roots here, as do my grandparents and the Ukrainian community. The orthodox church is visible across the park from the community centre, tapered domes peeking over distant brownstone tempered by trees. I spent the first three years of my childhood here, and this will be Lisa’s third apartment in the area. Her sister lives ten minutes away; her old apartment, roommate, and congregation are closer.
This morning the gas fireplace buzzes softly as I get up to feed the cats. The apartment is dim and calming despite the chaos of moving boxes, homeless artifacts, and packing material. We sip coffee in front of the fireplace on two unfolded chairs, and the cats stretch out before us, purring and slowly opening and closing their eyes.
We’ve said it, I’m sure, but the thought has roots that are almost implicit, a hum that neither of us has to consciously acknowledge: we could live here for years.