Monday, November 9, 2015

The market and a star spangled sky.

Pasha arrived here mid-October.  
No, it didn't matter that her twins had to cancel the surprise party planned for her birthday.  She was not going to allow me to hear the doctor confirm the bad news without listening in.  

Two days after her arrival was her Big-'O' Day. Instead of me asking her how she would like to celebrate, it was she who asked if I wanted to do something different on that day. Would I like to visit Jean-Talon market in Montreal where she, her dad and I chose, 55 years ago, our weekly supply of fruit and veggies at the stalls of Hungarian, German and Polish farmers and where we offered the one and only rabbit, grown on our rear balcony, to an Italian farmer.  I vaguely remember that the three of us convinced each other that the rabbit would now have a better life on a farm.

We arranged to meet Besito de Luz, my younger daughter, at the market and made sure to align the timing in such a way that Pasha and I would have 2 hours during which to visit the areas where we used to live when she grew up.  Pasha wanted to take photos of the buildings.  We moved a lot prior to acquiring our own place.  Leases used to expire April 30 and May 1st was Moving Day for thousands of people in Québec.  The tradition is still alive but the leases expire on June 30th now.

1957  De L'Epee- 2nd floor
1958-1959  Birnam semi-basement

1959-1963 Outremont -3rrd floor

1963-1970   Birnam - 2nd floor

We had no time to visit  the years of 1956   De Bullion 
                                                       1970-1972 Nuns Island
                                                  1972-1974 Duquette
but it settles the years of Pasha's 'growing up'. The years that included much more than timing my contractions when Moselito was born and being the trustworthy, build-in baby sitter of Besito de Luz and Moselito, when help needed.

Pasha always has the taking of photos on her mind.

During her stay with me she stepped out on the patio to smoke and came back inside complaining as to why the neighbour leaves his patio light on during the night.  I was surprised to hear that she questioned the neighbours doing until she explained that she wants to take pictures of the stars and that it needs to be pitch dark in the area.  
One morning she returned from her 7km walk/run and was pleased to announce "I found the dark area! The cemetery!" 
And what happened in the evening?   She did something completely out of character.  I had fallen asleep on the couch.  She pinched my toe and woke me.
"Noooo, why did you do that?"
"I just want to tell you that I am going now - did not want you to wake up wondering where I was."
"Oh yah?  I get the message, ok I'll go with you."
The Schnucker was not at ease to go alone and is not one to ask for anything, ever.  It was almost midnight.
I threw my coat over my Pj's, wrapped a thick scarf around my neck and off we went.
It was minus 5 out there and since I had already caught a cold at the market and was on cough syrup there was no way I would get out of the car.  Nothing to do with cemetery ghosts or any such thing.  Pasha was happy.  She found the perfect spot for the tripod, set the camera up and waited and waited and waited.  Exposure, she said, takes a long time.  It seemed like an eternity to me.  I was cold sitting in the Jeep without the heat turned on.  No heat meant no disturbing lights on, you see.

Here are the results of bravery.  Untouched as yet and also a bit of disappointment because the lights of a neighboring village should not be showing but all in all she was happy with her first try.
The bit of milky way that appears I could not see with the naked eye and the stars were not visible in such great number.  The camera saw more than we did.

The sky brings evenings to my mind when I was 10,11,12 years old.  Sitting in the dark at the window, on my grandmother's short lap searching for constellations.                

Sorry about this messy post.  All looks fine as I type but when I preview things come up different.  My third try at fixing it, giving up.  


Rouchswalwe said...

Messy is good. It's life. It's memory. Messy is better than all organized and tidied. Messy is Gemütlichkeit. And smiles. And future happiness.

"Here are the results of bravery."

Ja! L'Chaim!

Sabine said...

I love mess, all live is chaos and I am thinking of you. Tomorrow. Your comment about pain - I am thinking about it and will write more. Thank you. Take care, accept and no fear.

Ellena said...

Rouchswalwe! Yes, today is orderly but yesterday enjoyably tangled up already.

The only fear I have is of making decision(s) that I don't regret.

Roderick Robinson said...

As always with you there are two things: the story and the way you tell it. This time there are three: add in your state of mind.

The story is the fitting together of a family and the way this works; how Pasha's actions benefit you and all the family, and how you must briefly be cold to help it happen. The give and take of being related by blood to someone; of why families hold together.

And this is how you tell it: the way you make legitimate drama out of small things: in this instance by breaking up what you say into short powerful sentences:

And what happened in the evening? She did something completely out of character. I had fallen asleep on the couch. She pinched my toe and woke me.

The fancy-schamnzy way of summarising this is calling it writing style. But the style is you, it's your voice, and your voice is gifted. I'd said it before, over and over.

Your state of mind? Absolutely nothing. We know what you know because you've told us (albeit indirectly) and we - the readers - are left to infer the thoughts passing through your mind. In the foreground the action: tiny events which turn out to be big, framing you and forcing us to fill in details of you, the narrator. Your restraint is a very great gift; it shows a faith in nouns as opposed to adjectives, a lesson it takes ages to learn.

I'm left with poignancy (but which I have to create myself) and recurring wonder. Admiration mixing with something stronger and more intimate but which I refuse to articulate. It's the English way and the best I can do.

Messy? Your little joke.

Ellena said...

RR, Robbie if I may, today your words feel like a powerful soothing drug. Thank you.

Lucy said...

It does sound like a strangely, complex magical time you had together, rather wonderful to read, for all the reasons Robbie says much better than I can.

Ellena said...


Thank you. Not saying more not to talk nonsense such as my words to Sabine.