Why is this little water closet so enshrined in my memory? Well, it largely has to do with its location, which I shall attempt to illustrate with some simple ASCII art:
,,,,, __ [->
Those three lines are three doors. Following the arrows from left to right, you would go OUT from the the bathroom into the hallway, up and IN through the door to the kitchen, and the THROUGH to the living room via the door on the right. Make sense? Capital. That little bathroom was therefore at the almost intersection of the two most important rooms in the house. And that little rest room was quite pivotal. The always lovely smell of the soap (my grandmother never bought anything less then the nicest of soaps) would mix with the smell of roasted French chicken as you would stop to wash your hands before sitting down to dine. The agony of having to leave a fascinating conversation or witty story behind in the leaving room as you darted to the washroom because you urgently needed to pee. It was also a temperature affair. With the fireplace on, the living-room would get quite hot, and when dinner was under construction, the kitchen would be equally warm. That green sea of sweet smelling soap was then a place of refuge from the heat, a moment of cooling the senses before returning into the social fray. I would often dart out to that little loo and then stay in the relative coolness of the hallway; thinking back on it now I would venture to say that this may have been an incipient symptom of what I have decided to euphemistically call my “Screaming Child Early Warning System”. Those gathering could get quite noisy, and spending time in the cool and quiet bathroom and hallway was a way to disengage from all that noise.
I miss the house. I grieve for it, to be blunt, and miss it with a longing that fills me with such sorrow. I don't feel this way for many people. For me, what that house represented was serenity, a refuge from the chaos that was the world. It was in the economically troubled and oft-times emotionally turbulent house in Creemore, and in my less cash-strapped home in Guelph, that I spent most of my growing up, but my grandparent's home was the bulwark against turbulent change and uncertainty. With my grandparents death, and the loss of that house, I have at times felt anchoress. With no Grey Havens to find my way too, my feelings of being adrift seem only to have intensified.
When I was younger and in some ways dumber then I am now, one of my recurring fantasies was that was the home I wanted to settle down with my partner, perhaps renting from my grandmother, and start a family after attending some no-doubt prestigious Toronto university.
In various ways, all those elements are now long gone, and mostly to my detriment, although I note with a touch of deep humility that I am astonished to find myself in a relationship far more healthy, stable, loving and noteworthy then those that preceded it. I must then ask myself a question, and that is this. If such dream-elements can become true again, then may it might not be a sign that I am finally coming out of the sea of uncertainty that I have found myself lost in over the past few years? If this postulate is true, then one can only wish that I will find another serene harbour for a second home.
I can only hope it has nice bathrooms.