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Ex-Strangers

August 9, 2013
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September 2012

 

I found this treasured necklace when I was rummaging through my box of keepsakes a couple of days ago. It was wrapped in pink tissue paper, and even when I was unravelling it, I didn’t know what was lying inside. Oh, what a pleasant surprise! I had totally forgotten about it.

I miss B. She is such a dear; seriously. She gave me two pairs of socks once, and also, she knitted me a cute little purse. I met B at a local café almost two years ago–my, has it been almost two years?

I used to frequent this one particular café near my apartment when I was at school. There was one lady in her fifties who I secretly nicknamed, “The Knitting Lady” because she was always knitting. She also always sat at the exact same time at the exact same time everyday. After a couple of weeks, I managed to grab a seat at the table beside her. She noticed that I was reading a Margaret Atwood book, and we started talking about it. Ever since then, B and I have been sweet friends. We always met at that café to talk. Actually, it was mostly she who was doing the talking, but I didn’t mind. I loved to hear her stories. When I told her that I was going back home for the year, she was sad but she was very understanding. And when I returned to the city a couple of months ago, she hugged me, gave me plenty of bises, and told me how much she had missed me. Over this past year, she has sent me many letters (a package too), all en français and attached with little snippets of newspaper with information of art gallery showings here in Toronto (she’s an artist). One snippet was of a picture of a mother duck with her ducklings who had taken over a pond in northern Québec. She is like my own French grandma.

Sometimes, it’s nice to talk to strangers. Because if you’re lucky, you’ll get your own French grandma too (unless you already have a French grandma, of course. In that case, you’ll have two… or three if you already have two French grandmas. That’s a lot of French grandmasbut that’s okay. You’ll get double/triple the amount of socks for your birthday, tea cozies for Christmas, and letters in authentic cursive, en français, when you’re abroad. Who can say  no to that?).

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