New Friends in Old Montreal

Am I really here? Because the lack of sleep and the temporary jolt from the caffeine this morning have left me wondering if I conjured all this up in my head. It’s possible. But my doubts fade fast, and everything becomes real as soon as the cobblestones touch the soles of my shoes, and we walk past narrow streets surrounded by historical buildings, and I hear Chad’s voice.

“This is it. This is Old Montreal,” he announces, spreading his arms. “This square is ‘Place Jacques-Cartier.’”

I inhale slowly, soaking it all in. I step forward and backward, my neck twisting and turning, memorizing every corner. I feel an instant connection to this place. Something about being here grabs me and infatuates me. I begin taking mental pictures of the narrow alleys decorated with rows of artists and vendors. I start imagining myself dining at the sidewalk cafes, sitting there with Chad during the summer, spring, winter, and fall. I get this strong desire to take off my shoes and walk barefooted on the cobblestones as if I have found my new home. But I leave my thoughts and emotions to myself. Instead, I look at Chad, who is watching me with a smile that melts me away.

How did I get here?

—HIGH by Corey M. P. (Chapter 4, New Friends in Old Montreal)

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