How happy are you allowed to be after a death in the family? Sure, I wasn’t related to Mina the cat, but it nevertheless felt like the loss of a presence very close to me. The other night, after too many beers, I became very disconsolate indeed, and boo-hooed by my lonely self, and wished she were alive again, so that we could hang out while I attempt to embark on a freelance career. We would keep each other company during these long days at home.

As much as being blue is difficult, it does also feel necessary. To simply be full of laughter and optimism in the wake of what happened… well, it feels wrong sometimes. It seems to dishonour her.

But today, there’s no doubt, I’m full of gladness again. Monika and I wandered out this morning in search of croissants. At the nearby patisserie — which has never let us down — we found exactly what we wanted, moreover, the delightful old woman behind the counter gave us two free slices of raspberry cake. Later in the day, we walked to Parc Jarry and then the Jean Talon Market, and everybody was enjoying the gentle Autumn warmth, and good spirits presided everywhere. We passed by Rona on the way home, and the small gentleman who knows everything about everything handy gave us great advice and mixed up the paint with aplomb and cheeriness. Then we stopped by a depanneur, and the proprietor looked at the pail of paint in Monika’s hands and said, “Oh no, that’s trouble. That’s dangerous.”  And I said, “Why is it dangerous?” He replied, “That’s work,” and laughed merrily. I said, “Oh, it’s her that’s doing the work. Me, I’m going to drink beer.” Thereupon I bought myself a six-pack of Griffon Extra Blonde. The proprietor seemed highly amused. Of course, I hadn’t explained that I’m not actually sitting around watching Monika painting the place and drinking beer. Monika’s painting her own place while I’m back at my own place, drinking the beer. Misleading wisecracks aside, what a wonderful neighbourhood stroll.

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