There’s thick black smoke rising past the airfield, behind one of the airport hotels, I think the Sheraton. I saw it from the freeway in the cab on the way here but the plume is bigger now, wider, thick set and lazy in the way it’s going up. A house fire? Something on the edge of the canal? The highway? Another black cloud has started coming up beside the first, they hang, they won’t merge. Planes go and go, roaring out of here, I’m drinking a peach juice and thinking of walking down the middle of my old street with you last night and the day old full moon hanging low in front of us, overripe and gold. Our bodies angle back as the street slants sharply down for blocks and we duck our heads under the moon and the weight of it’s promise laid out in front of us. We both understand the thing happening here, the easy learnt lope of coming back. You kiss me in a stairwell falling apart, all the walls shaking, then we kick down a door, though the one we’ve just reopened was more of stepping through an empty frame into a room with the windows open. A crow lands on the runway, skips around the tarmac and in the distance the smoke still rises, thinning up into what’s near the only cloud punching into the pale blue of this slow afternoon.
The last time I was at this airport we ended up drinking with about twenty Quebecois paratroopers while we waited for our 11am flight and like most flights out of here I’d almost missed it. We couldn’t tell if they were coming or going to work, you didn’t get the sense any sign would’ve come from the way they were drinking, in fact that was probably one of the only things that wouldn’t have changed.
Montreal in the spring is always the same, the franticness in the air is kinetic. There’s a cowboy on a rental bike ripping up across Laurier and the air seems gold and hazy and you can pretty much see the Mountain from everywhere. It’s still just brown with bare trees but it’s stopped pressing down on everything the way it does through winter and instead starts to go up. I’ve been back here the same time every year since after I left by sheer weird circumstance and for some reason it feels the perfect place to take stock of whatever year just went by.
It’s 5am and crust punks are flying through the air or just at each other across the long table going down the room, but it’s hard to tell the directions, who started from where. I am trying to tell somebody about Mississippi and they start to tell me about the years their Dad spent as a Thai sex tourist, fine. Somewhere downstairs a guy is selling beer and somebody’s dog, he doesn’t know whose, named Bastard, falls down dead if you point a finger gun at it and go “Pow.” You tell me you love me, a leg flails by my right eye and bodies just keep hitting the floor.
We take off and for some reason the window seats on both side of the plane beside the propellers are clouded over with condensation so I can’t see where the smoke is coming from. The drops don’t clear out when we hit cruising altitude or when the weather into Ontario shifts to overcast, adding to the mute grey haze. We start descending, everything is the same steel-blue. It’s only when we get closer and white caps burst in my peripheral, gone by the time I can train on them that I realize it’s the lake we’re almost skidding across.
“What happened to April?” I ask her as I pack my stuff up from around her bathroom, she’s naked from the knees up and pulling a shirt down over her head, “April didn’t even exist,” she says. The months that absorb into themselves, that flow by, those are the ones you take for your own.