Friends move away to Montreal

I hate saying goodbye to close friends. Early this morning, Therese and Stuart boarded their WestJet flight with a trunkful of luggage and two cats. They’re moving to Montreal. By about this time, they’re over Ontario, about an hour from landing in Ottawa.

For the last three and a half years, I’ve had the luxury of living in a city with three of my closest friends. Chris lived with me for two of those years. But Chris moved to Japan, and while we do keep regular communication through email and ICQ, it’s just not the same as having him here. I didn’t see Stuart and Therese nearly as much as I would have liked, but having them in the same city was just somehow comforting.

Now I feel almost alone. I have friends here, yes, but none like them. None with whom I have a great history. None where even just a simple hug can convey more words than a 100-page treatise on friendship. They’re more family than friend. I’ll see them again, of that there is no doubt, but it won’t be for at least a couple of weeks. (Both need to come back over the next two months, Stuart to get their belongings moved, and Therese for her dissertation.) After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

On Saturday, I went to a small get-together for Stuart and Therese at Stephanie’s home. (Stephanie is Therese’s classmate and friend.) There were only about 10 people in attendance. I know them all, but hadn’t seen some in well over a year. We talked, ate, and played with Pepper, Stephanie and Ian’s Westhighland Terrier. Yet despite all the laughter and good humour, there was an underlying tension. Two people were leaving.

I spent most of Sunday cleaning up around the house. I haven’t cleaned much this summer, owing to a busy schedule. Things are almost back to normal. It was a way for me to kill time until Therese and Stuart called. I had offered to take them out to dinner, but as with every major move I’ve ever seen, packing was still going on right until they called me at about 18:30, to help clean out Therese’s office.

I felt strangely in the way as I helped move boxes of papers and books into the Jetta and the Mini. (If you think a Mini is small, just see what you can pack in one!) It took a couple of hours, but we made off with everything inside. Stuart and I would return later, having accidentally forgotten a poster in the computer lab (which led to a fairly tense time trying to remember the door code) and needing to drop off a guitar and a glass vase.

Dropping Stuart off, I drove off into the night, with a single thought in my mind:

Movement is life. Be it physical or existential, it is nonetheless important and necessary. It doesn’t matter if you are moving from one city to the next, or from one state of mind to the next, just so long as you move. You will only feel true pain if you stop moving.

Good luck, and best hopes and wishes, my friends! Never stop moving.

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