The Best Thing About A White Night
It’s been an exciting week since last I wrote here. Of all the great things that happen during Toronto’s very short summer (although it’s technically autumn now, I still see it as a summer event), one of the best is Nuit Blanche, which took place this past weekend.
Now, for those that don’t live here in Toronto, Nuit Blanche is basically a night where the whole city becomes an art gallery. Entire building facades and city squares are turned into art installations, a lot of stores and restaurants are open, public transportations runs all night, and the streets get totally swamped with people.
The weather was extremely nice for an October night and that, along with a healthy dose of mist, made the city look and feel fantastic. I won’t get into the details about the event or the installations here if you’re interested you can look at this very impressive slideshow from BlogTO to get an idea of what happens.
Since then, a few people have asked me about the best thing I saw during Nuit Blanche. I’ve been answering like probably many others who were there, that I was utterly impressed by The Dead of the Sun installation from Director X which was set up at Nathan Phillips Square and that was not only massive but gorgeous. A beautiful and fitting tribute to the star that provides the energy that keeps our planet, and us, alive every day.
Well, I must say that I’ve lied to all those people. Because I can distinctly remember the best thing I saw that night, and as striking as the installations were, none of them were it.
It was late, even by Nuit Blanche standards. Close to 5 AM. My dear friend Fridha and I were people watching while sitting and talking on a bench in Queen Street West. We spent over an hour there enjoying the night. At some point, while we were there, a bunch of kids walked by messing around, one of them was pushing another of the group who was sitting in an office chair around (where did they get the chair, God only knows…). You know the game, we’ve all played it. Your friend sprints, propels the chair with you on it and lets it go. 50% chances you end up on the floor with a scrap. They got tired or bored after a few minutes, abandoned the chair and walked on.
There it stood, untouched for around 40 minutes. Then, suddenly comes this couple. Hand in hand, laughing with each other. Hugging. It’s 5:30 AM and the look fresh, as if they are taking a walk in the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon. They walk by, playing with each other, he’s telling her something to her ear and she laughs, she gently takes him to the chair, sits him down, sits on his legs, his hand is on her cheek and hers are on his back. They kiss. She tells him something, I’m too far to hear what, but they start laughing again. She gets up first, extends her arm to him motioning to follow, he watches her for a couple of seconds with a smile on his face and then goes to her. Hand in hand again, smiling, laughing, they keep walking, and I lose sight of them.
The whole thing must have lasted three minutes, tops. Like a scene from a movie but real, right in front of me. They just radiated love. I don’t know anything about them, for all I know they have fights where they throw plates at each other. But in that tiny slice of time, they seemed completely and utterly content. Beautiful. And, more importantly to me, they made me feel hope. Not only that real romance exists (although where the fuck, I do not know) but for humanity and life itself. Something that I need at this point in my life.
Unfortunately, unlike the Instagram post above, moments like this are something that can’t be photographed and posted or even fairly described (hey, I did my best!). There are moments like this every day, everywhere, but we’re just not looking. Why was I paying attention this time? I don’t know, maybe the universe was showing me something I needed to see, or maybe I’m just a creep who spies on happy couples. Either way, I’m sure glad I was looking.
Finally, there it is, the truth. That was, without contest, the best thing that I saw that night.
Tags: events, life, love, nbTO16, nuit blanche, nuitblanche2016, toronto