The snow was big at that time of the year; fell in chunks and swallowed up the cars in hours. My apartment was on the top floor, and when the hail came it sounded like somebody hammering on an old typewriter by the window.
The room was small, with painted white wooden floors. I had a chair and a desk by the only window, looking eastwards out over Downtown, and a small single bed in the corner, over which the ceiling sloped down towards my feet.
I didn't have many things with me. Some blank books and a few clothes, melting out of a green canvas holdall in the middle of the room. I'd left in a hurry.
Often i'd go and take a walk in the mornings through the crisp air you can feel filling your lungs and chilling your insides. And the snow is lying all around and the sun reflects off it and everything is brighter. I'd weave up St Laurent past the coats stuffed with people, past the inevitable line-up outside Schwartz's, and turn right onto Duluth or Roy and spend hours getting almost lost (because how lost can you get in a gridded city?) around the Plateau. The multi-coloured apartments and balconies i'll probably never own and the Portugese chickens turning in the windows and maybe stopping for a coffee and then home when the cold starts to seep through the mittens. I used to look for bicyles buried under mountains of snow, maybe just a handlebar or pedal sticking out from an icy whiteness, and wonder if anyone would come back for them before they were eventually released, aged and bended, in the Spring thaw.
The winter wore on. Tapped at my window. I stayed at home most days, drinking tea and trying to write. Occasionally i'd watch a matinee at the cinema down the road. There was a particular point, at the top of the stairs, where all the various smells of the foyer congealed in the air; warm popcorn and cleaning fluids. Sour milk and sugar. It had contours, that smell. Sometimes i swear I could feel it brush my face as I walked by. Even later i'd catch it around the apartment, spilling out of coat pockets or sweating from ten dollar notes.