It started with a man who was eight years older than his new wife. They drank a few beers for courage, and met naked in bed in the month of May of 1970. He put his clothes back on, took his car, and drove around Canada until she was nine months pregnant. When her water was about to break, the neighbour called the motel where he was lodging, and suggested it was time to come back home, and greet his first child. The woman borrowed the neighbour’s car, and drove herself to the hospital—it was the first time she found herself behind the steering wheel. On the Québec bridge, she stopped the car. The blizzard was blinding, and the pain in her belly was unbearable. A car stopped, and a man smoking a cigarette walked towards her: “I’ll take you to the hospital”. She pushed for twelve consecutive hours by herself, and at 9:54 a.m. on January 27, the baby boy cried for the first time. Eventually, the man arrived and appeased the baby. Two years later, they moved back to Montreal.
In grade two, the boy showed his penis to a girl in a classroom. The girl cried and told the teacher. The teacher was appalled, and told his parents. His parents were ashamed, and told the priest. The boy met the priest, confessed his sin, and cried. In grade five, the boy showed his penis to the boy next door. No one cried—he would show the boy his penis again. In grade six, the boy developed an obsession for The Beatles. One night, he stood with his sister on his bed, and they pretended to be flowers over A Day in the Life. They went to the movies together, and watched A Hard Days Night, and The Empire Strikes Back, 24 times he recalls.
In high school, the teenager met a girl, met some friends, discovered Simple Minds through The Breakfast Club, and the word “fuck you” through John Bender. In grade twelve, the boy’s father insisted he only reads French and Catholic books. The teenager told him to go John Bender himself, and became a man. The same year, a Danish girl moved in the same building he was living in. He didn’t mind the hair of her armpits, and they lost their virginity to one another in his parents’ waterbed. On the last day of high school, he took the city bus home, while David Bowie‘s Heroes played in his Sony Sports Walkman Cassette player. The young man was happy and cried. He would make a habit of crying.
In college, the young man read a great deal, and enjoyed being loud about the fact that he read a great deal. He was handsome, he was popular, he was head of the student newspaper, he had his radio show, and he had lots and lots of girlfriends. Like his old man, he believed that Québec should split up from the rest of Canada. He was bilingual, most of his friends were English-native speakers, and he ended up dating a young woman from Ontario. The Quebecker separatist formed his own exclusive country with an English Canadian. Sovereignty lost its flavour, and the young man lost the respect of his father when he defined himself as a French Canadian. But the old man’s anger was a fleeting phase, as he would soon take his own life, and the young French Canadian man would cry for sixteen long years.
The French Canadian adman wasted away, between beer bottles and long work hours. He was successful and drunk and stoned and getting laid all of the time. He was handsome, he was popular, he was head of his own decline, and he had lots and lots of nights he would never be able to remember again. He married a woman who was pregnant with his child. They lived apart in the same house and in silence for five long years, until the divorce. When the French Canadian man moved into his new place, surrounded by brand new boxed IKEA furniture and a set of Allen keys, he cried a huge sigh of a relief.
She appeared in his life when he was 37—she was 6 years younger than him. The French Canadian man fell head over heels for a WASP from Ontario. She moved in, and they formed their own universe. In the month of May of 2009, they drank a few beers for courage, and met naked in bed. The most perfect Canadian girl took a staggering 38 years to make. And her father has been crying with happiness ever since.
Of course, the most perfect Canadian girl needed an English Canadian mother to be whole, but that is another story…