Today I met for lunch one of my old neighbors, Ivan. When I came to Montreal twenty four years ago, my wife and I rented a small apartment on Rachel Street. The owner of the building was an old Indian with funny accent. I don’t think I have ever seen seem without his yellow turban. He was nice guy, hardworking and friendly.
On our second year, he did not increase our rent, as he should have. I guess he took pity on us being young and poor. He used to tell me that my wife was too pretty for my rough bandit face. The building we used to live in had four apartments. We were on the first floor, the landlord on the second, his daughter on the third. Only the basement apartment was vacant for a while. Then a young Russian moved in. We chatted a few times and slowly we became friends. Ivan was a very helpful man, very skilled and strong as a bull.
I remember the day we moved from the Rachel’s apartment to our house in Laval; he loaded the moving truck all by himself. He picked up, carried and arranged all of our boxes and belongings inside the truck in less than two hours. It took me four hours to take all the stuff out. My wife used to call him Hercules.
Once we moved, we did not see him as often as before. How could we? We were expecting a baby and we lived in Laval. We talked on the phone once or twice, but we did not meet again for a few years.
Yesterday I ran into him while I was shopping in Canadian Tire. I went to buy a jigsaw and I literally bumped into him at the cashier. Since we both were in a hurry, we made plans for the following day. Thus today, we met at Trois Brasseurs McGill and had a good time.
I learnt he was married, with two kids and he was working on a Sail awning terrace longueuil. He had moved from the basement one year later somewhere in Saint-Laurent.
He also informed me that our old landlord, the Indian whose name I could never pronounce correctly, had passed away. We had a glass in his honor and remembered his funny accent.
When I got home, I told my wife about my lunch with our neighbour. When I mentioned that the landlord had died, she felt a bit sad. She liked him as much as we did.