Sitting on my porch earlier this evening, waiting for the sheets of rain that have only now just started to fall, I watched the ever-expanding gang of backyard cats chase fireflies, the bats swoop down and then disappear into the darkness. Off in the distance a train hollered, the dog lay snoring at the top of the stairs, my neighbour popped her head out to exchange pleasantries about the break in the heat.

I entertained an avowed Plateau-er earlier this week. At one point he took a long drag on his cigarette, shifted so my legs rested more comfortably across his, and in a tone typically reserved for cottage country remarked on this peacefulness. I’ve worked this theme before, trying to articulate the intangible reasons why St. Henri feels more like home than most of my (many) other apartments. It’s how the quiet is barely broken by the quick pop of someone down the street opening a third beer, or the way the light from my window pools around the nape of your neck as you prop your legs up on the banister. Laundry lines snake between tall old trees, and when the moon is full its reflection captivates the surface of the canal. Hot July afternoons smell like cut grass, sunscreen, and barbeque. I will admit that the Plateau-er’s air-conditioning is a powerful aphrodisiac, but that’s not what makes the 3am, $17 cab ride worth it – it’s spending those final few moments of replay and relish on a bona-fide porch with the humid summer night resting wetly on my skin. A hangover, perhaps, from growing up in cottage country, but home is where both the beer and I are sweating in equal measure.

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