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Emptiness

June 4, 2010

My first time living in Montreal I stayed in this wonderful three bedroom apartment for the summer. It was, and probably still is, the largest apt. I’ve ever lived in. The tenants were all away for the summer and so I shared the apt with two other sub-letters from France. The largest room had been occupied by one of these girls but she had had to provide her own furniture for this particular room. Their stay was about two weeks shorter than mine and so at the end of the summer I found myself alone in a giant apt. But that didn’t bother me at all. In fact I was delighted by this. Mostly though I was fascinated with the large barren room at the back. I would occasionally wander in telling myself that I should check the window to make sure it was secure or to sweep the floors.

But one night after returning home from a few drinks with friends I found the courage to do what it was I really wanted to do. An act so odd that I cannot explain my desire to do so, though it had been lingering there for a while.

I walked into the room, ignoring the light switch and I shut the door behind me. The darkness took over, but as my eyes adjusted I noticed the moonlight streaming through the window. I strolled around the room, running the tips of my fingers along the walls. I felt the contrast of the slick latex paint with the slight texture of the material that made up the wall. Small bumps barely noticeable to the eye.

After reaching the deepest corner of this chamber, I turned around placing my back to the wall and slowly slid down into a sitting position. I put my legs straight out in front of me and took a deep breath. I exhaled slowly and then focused solely on the satisfying emptiness around me.

I surveyed the darkness and absorbed the silence. I took in the smell of a room completely stripped of it’s human elements. I did not imagine filling it with things. I did not picture what it could be. I simply enjoyed its current state, its utter vacancy- its pure emptiness.
I must have sat there for ten minutes doing little else than shallow breathing and looking around. My mind was remarkably clear. The almost overwhelming feeling of pure indulgence is what I remember most. The same as one might feel when ordering an ice cream cone.

That trip to Montreal was the first trip that I took with no pretense of another motive other than because I wanted to. All other vacations or travel of any kind up to that point had held a purpose other than just enjoying a place. I had to visit people, I had to perform, I had a competition, or a wedding. The reasons are endless. And occasionally the reasons were contrived in order to justify the travel. I think we usually travel in this manner, to be honest. But not this trip. For three full months I had lived in Montreal with no job, no agenda, no one to meet- and had made friends, gone to French school when I got bored and drove around Quebec when I felt like it. The whole trip was indulgence, really. I think this trip and especially that odd moment of vacuous nothingness was the start of a realization of who I really am. There is freedom in that kind of emptiness for me. These moments, when the world and everyone in it ceases to exist and I can simply feel nothing, do nothing, be nothing are like food to my soul at times. Eventually I want to pick myself up off the empty floor and launch once more into the storm, but it’s the quiet moment that recharges me.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2010 10:34 pm

    Lovely, simply lovely. I totally get it.You should add this to the vignette/memoir book. The title should have some sort of reference to journey/traveling/road. Don't you love how I've planned this out for you? =)

  2. June 7, 2010 11:30 am

    I do, actually.

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