March 4, 2008 § Leave a comment
Today, I noticed that three of the neighbourhood’s shops, which sit side-by-side on Parc Avenue, have all closed at once: the children’s clothing store, the barbershop, and the tobacconist. From this, I have surmised that the economic transformation of Mile End has reached a tipping point; change no longer occurs in small increments, but in fell swoops.
As I made my way through a hive of afternoon shoppers and oversized baby strollers, it occurred to me that I will probably never set foot in many of the spaces that have replaced the old. The gleaming white café on Parc; the yoga boutique on Bernard; the glut of restaurants whose prices are geared to budgets and tastes that are conspicuously more refined than my own. Even the Café feels strange to me, with its vernissages and university-sponsored events, strange enough that I didn’t take S. there when he came.
And so, I write from a 3½ room apartment in a neighbourhood from which I have finally become estranged. My rent is still cheap enough that I will stay, and Arit will still walk the block between our two streets to come for dinner, but I recognize that the meaning of those streets has irrevocably changed. I accept this now, quietly, knowing that I am free to move on.