Saying goodbye to an unforgettable life experience.
In June of this pandemic summer, I’d been living with the same roommate for a year and a half: a stand up comedian my junior who I’d met through an ex-boyfriend. I didn’t have a particularly healthy friendship with this roommate, as exemplified by the two months that we quarantined separately with our families and barely spoke—which is only to say that the ground work was laid for a relocation. When I returned to the city post lockdown and found out that another ex-boyfriend of mine was renting out his $550 bedroom in a shared house, I jumped at the opportunity to move.
This was mid pandemic of course, but something in me recognized this prospective home as a much needed change. Needless to say, I scrambled to land a sub letter for my $890 tiny basement bedroom with the roommate that didn’t talk to me and got the hell out.
In less than a week, I was moving my small furniture collection into the fifth bedroom of an old house in Roncevalles. Roncy as the locals call it. This was the fourth neighbourhood that I’d be residing in since I moved to Toronto for my undergrad in 2016, and it was by far my favourite. It had everything I wanted from my Toronto lifestyle: residential charm, local boutiques, a park within walking distance, narrow stairs that you have to haul your city bike up (romantic), and an old house with character.
Admittedly Roncevalles is a boogey Toronto suburb, and I doubt that I’ll ever be able to afford to live here again. Spoiler: I’m moving out next week. But considering that this six month living situation was arguably the happiest that I’ve been thus far, it feels paramount that I explain why.
I’ve been living with four other women (that makes five of us in a legal 3 bedroom) but hey, the house is massive. The roommate situation looks like this—
From the far left of the house: Constance. Her room is the smallest, but arguably the most beautiful. It’s a heated sunroom with windows on all sides. The girl who inhabits it, Constance, is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met (kind of like an encyclopedia) and is our resident plant expert. Her background is Polish and she went to school with two of the other girls, Lucy and Sophie; all of whom are photography grads.
Next is Liza. Her background is Russian, which sounds like a made up language with angry lyrical tones. Her room is beautiful as well, but entirely to her own credit. She’s a nature enthusiast with an immaculate eye for design, which has her room perfectly lined with vintage finds and flourishing plants. She is one of the kindest, most authentic and welcoming people I have ever met, and I know for a fact that I’d be in love with her if she were a boy. Lucky for me, she’s pretty much the female version of my boyfriend anyway.
Beside Liza is Lucy, who is essentially the reason that I moved into this home. Lucy is Australian but moved to Canada as a pre-teen. She is the long term ex-girlfriend of a boy that I dated very briefly in my first year of university and have maintained a friendship with since. (I took over his room). Lucy is intellectual, self-assured, and stoic, not to mention intimidatingly attractive. She has the face of a Victorian portrait lady and the body of a Baywatch lifeguard.
Beside Lucy is Sophie, who is American. She is without a doubt the politest, most agreeable person I have ever encountered. I can’t help but enjoy talking to her because she laughs at everything I say. She has the biggest room in the house, which just so happens to have a working fire place.
And then there’s me, on the far right. My bedroom is a small space adjacent to the front sun-room.
Living with so many women was such a novelty for me when I moved in six months ago that I was constantly elated by it. I had a home with five girl-friends built in, when previous to this experience, I’d struggled to hold even one close female friendship at a time.
The first week of living here, Lucy, Liza and I did magic mushrooms and went on a long walk through high park talking about art, and relationships, and general life endeavours. The intimacy was immediate and I couldn’t stop telling them how grateful I was. We cooked meals together for special occasions and had drunk nights in the living room where the furniture was relocated to make a dance floor. We went on household camping trips (another novelty experience for me).
We had movie nights together, walked around in various states of undress, and felt comfortable enough to pop into the singular shared bathroom to pee if someone else was in the shower (with the courtesy of announcing a flush, which inevitably changes the shower water temperature).
This house has been the closest thing to a sense of home, that I’ve felt in a very long time. I’ve had living experiences that emulated a home for short periods of time, but they always ended and none of the relationships I developed were long-standing.
Of course, this living experience is about to end as well— but I can’t help but feel that something has changed in my life. In fact, I just asked Liza if she’ll be my maid of honour one day, and she said yes. In essence, I don’t see these women being absent from my life anytime soon. I’m moving to my next apartment with Constance and Sophie in the Junction, while Liza and Lucy are moving to a two bedroom more central. I’m excited to see how this will reframe our friendships going forward, but regardless I know that each of them has changed me for the better.
Coming out of this brief albeit incredible period of my life, I’m reminded of what I want in a home. I feel more comfortable with myself, and more assured of my creative goals. The past six months have been a testament to how quickly new life chapters unfold, particularly when I’m not anticipating them, but also of how enriching strangers can be.
New places, and new people;
with their unlimited potential to alter life as I’ve known it.