in this tiny space was everything


Years ago I lived in a tiny furnished apartment on the second floor of an old Toronto house — and in this tiny space was everything I needed.


A single closet the size of a phone booth in which I managed to hang all my clothes and all my coats, as well as store my shoes and winter boots.


A bathroom in the hall, shared with the woman in the apartment next door.
I heard her come and go but we never once, in all the time I lived there, met face to face.


At the end of the street, a fruit and veggie monger. In winter I would sometimes buy expensive tomatoes from some faraway place where tomatoes were grown to be luscious. I ate them with basil and listened to Joan Armatrading and Van Morrison and had a white cat and a bedroom made almost entirely of windows.


I once called a friend to come and eat tomatoes and basil with me and she came, expecting, I think, a whole lunch but it was just those perfect tomatoes.



Oil and salt.


Joan Armatrading, and Van.


And it was enough.



10 thoughts on “in this tiny space was everything

  1. Love this post, and the photos, and the intriguing fact that the photos don’t obviously match the post, but are luminous in their own right, as is the post. Also, incredulous that you never met the woman you shared the bathroom with!

    1. Thank you! And, yes, isn’t it wild that we never actually met or even laid eyes on each other? I’m not even sure how that was possible, except that it was. We both used the washer and dryer in the basement… and even there, never crossed paths. Obviously there wasn’t any great interest on either end to do so. I’d like to say it might have been something to do with guarding one’s privacy. In close quarters like that things can become overly chummy and if you don’t click, there’s the potential for major awkwardness. I shared a bathroom in a similar situation once before this and not only did we ‘meet’, my dear neighbour would have dinner waiting for me when I got home at night. He was lovely, but it did get awkward…

  2. Sounds like my wished-for life– I’m clearing cupboards and weeding books, too much stuff everywhere! Thanks– a lovely story and beautiful photos– I found myself thinking the tiny space was in the trunk of one of those trees …

  3. Huge fan of Joan … Van too, but Joan first and foremost. Still have all her vinyl carefully stored away. Everything transferred to iPod. All who love me know ‘Willow’ to be my ashes song.

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