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Aisling Chin-Yee remembers Jean-Marc Vallée

Aisling Chin-Yee Remembers Jean-Marc Vallée: It is Saturday, January 8, 2022. The soft piano tones of Alexandra Stréliski’s song, Le Départ, flow across me and into the space of my home as I stare into the emptiness.  I have been stranded on this island for the past two weeks since you died. Each morning I wake up, wondering if you are done with death yet, ready to come back and tell me about your experience, what you saw and learned. You always have stories. You always come home to Montreal. But, you haven’t come back, and I am stranded on our island in the St. Lawrence River. Montreal has an unreal quality without you. Like it exists only in my mind, a rock being hit by waves of despair. “Tides, just like the ocean. Listen.” I can hear your voice clearly, just as we stood only a few weeks ago, on the banks of the fleuve St. Laurent. Cold dark water flowing, our breath in the air, and the ice crushing under our feet. The melody of a Quebecois winter. My mind slips again, sliding around memories. Each thought dislodged like a stone in a current. I find myself staring at the pack of matches that I placed next to a burning candle. They are from the restaurant Ivy on the Shore. My mind cuts to a dinner in Santa Monica. A box of your favourite chocolate chip cookies. A walk on the beach at sunset. The way you gravitated towards moving water like a seabird…”

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