I like to think of myself as a pro at changing addresses. In four years I’ve moved five times. In fact, as I write this, I am mid-move.
In 2007 I moved from my childhood home in an Ontario suburb to a shared house in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood. It was an older house, built in the 1920s, with a huge deck and a lush garden, plagued by antique plumbing and rodent squatters. There I had just a room to myself, sharing common areas with five 20-something co-eds. We shared laughs, meals, stories, and friends and quickly became as tightly knit as four strangers can be when living in the same 1500 sqft.
In 2008 I moved in with my boyfriend – a first. After a nearly relationship-ending month and half of searching, we settled on a gigantic two-bedroom in a low-rise 1960s-era apartment at Main & 7th. We called the building Melrose Place thanks to it being populated with young, pretty people; whether you needed to move a couch or empty a bottle of wine, there was always someone around.
I only lasted a year there before splitting with my boyfriend and losing the apartment, but I managed to snag a studio just two blocks away. I have never lived in so little space, but I loved my little treehouse. Trees had grown up around the building and even on my fourth floor balcony they scented the air and filled it with birdsongs.
Finally, moving in with another boyfriend I upgraded my digs to a west end apartment. I lived right at Sunset Beach in Vancouver’s west end, a stone’s throw from the ocean and an easy walk to Stanley Park (as well as everything else downtown!) We moved in just at the start of the rainy season and spent hours looking out at heather-grey skies, cuddled up on the couch with books and our Macs and endless cups of locally-roasted coffee brewed in my french press.
I’ve just moved back to Ontario and find myself carefully sifting through new apartment choices. This next address of ours is going to home for a while. Without even seeing the inside of this apartment yet, I am thinking hopefully about get-togethers with friends, movie nights, holidays, and maybe even a dog. Who knows?
Reading Cynthia Flood’s Addresses I was transported back to my succession of lovely apartments all coloured by an array of memories and feelings. I was struck by Flood’s Vancouver setting, especially Kitsilano and the West End, but anyone who has experienced the stress and heart-wrenching of packing up your belongings to make a new life elsewhere will relate.
New wife and mother Julie is a woman struggling to find her place. Her dilemmas, while modest, feel harsh, and reflect the ways in which women were once denied control over their own bodies. Her first steps toward independence bring great pain—and not only to herself.
With sparing, incisive prose, Cynthia Flood unravels what it meant to be a married woman in post-war era Vancouver, creating an evocative and even unsettling experience for the reader.
Addresses is available now from Found Press for $0.99 on its own, or as part of the Winter 2011 Collection for $3.75