I’ve had a terrible case of what I can only assume is writer’s block for the last month. I think it’s all the things that I want to say to, or about Gord that are preventing anything else from coming out. Words, I mean.
For those who are not actually Gord, or those folks who don’t know him, he’s my pal. And he’s moving away. Really far away. This is for him.
I’ve started these prose about a hundred times in my head. And all I can think is that there is absolutely nothing that I can truly say that could ever impart to Gord or anyone else exactly how I feel, but I’m going to try. Addie and Kris, his sisters, might get it. His mom, Laurie, might have some idea. Maybe even Golnaz might see where I’m coming from , but she gets to keep him. Really anyone who has ever had the pleasure of meeting Gord probably has some idea of just how incredibly awesome he is as a human. As Delay said to me the other night while hugging my tear stained face: “We all love him. But he’s your best friend.” Everyone loves Gord–I love Gord, you love Gord, EVERYBODY LOVES GORD! And now, like many nights over the last 6 weeks, I am crying my eyes out because that awesome will be so, so….So far away from me. That someone great will be gone.
7 years ago, I moved in with an almost total stranger and had no idea what I was in for. I knew he played music, that he had a great sense of humour and that he might be a little, well, quirky. I pictured him hanging around the apartment in a burgundy velvet blazer all the time, keeping the apartment entirely too tidy and being incredibly uptight. My expectations were way off mark.
Sure it was awkward at first. We were strangers, sharing an apartment, and Gord had just come off the craziest roommate ride of his life. Here he was, left to the clutches of another possibly crazy lass in her mid twenties. I’m not sure how he managed to hold himself together, yet he somehow did.
I was young and afraid and sad to have left the “love” of my then-life behind. I didn’t know much about Toronto or the people in it or really what to expect from the new life I had happened upon. When my home-town friends visited, Gord welcomed their wandering and drunken asses, just as warmly as he welcomed mine. I got to see that he wasn’t uptight nor was he too tidy. He began to relax, I began to relax and we started to uncover ridiculous amounts of common ground.
Gord was there in the break up times, the stressful times, the munchies times, the boozy times, the Jackson 5 times. He taught me to eat popcorn with a spoon so my fingers didn’t get all buttery, and he tried to teach me about jazz chord progressions—which was a futile effort. Our home became a love hub in Parkdale. Where I made pies and dips, and we served copious amounts of snacks in the kitchen nook. Where countless friends and visitors felt welcomed and loved. Where they laughed and cried and ate and hugged. Where we drank a lot. Where we smoked a lot. 104 Spencer was teeming with good vibes and positive energy–I was heartbroken when we had to leave. We were both devastated when our landlord informed us that he wanted to take over our little apartment of splendor. But the universe, as we all know, has its way of moving things along.
What Gord might not know is how tough it was for me to give up the life that I had with him to move in with Martin. I don’t regret the decision at all obviously. What I’ve gained is immeasurable by comparison, but the hurt I felt when Gord and I parted ways is a sorrow not much unlike what I feel today. I cried for a month straight after moving out of Spencer. Poor Martin, I’m sure, was confused by this as it should’ve been one of the happiest times in our lives. But Martin persevered, my immediate sadness waned, and life carried on in the awesome way to which I had become accustomed.
I do realize that, much like our move back in 2009, this isn’t the end of Gord and Peattie, and that the internet exists and that there are cellular phones and email and text messages which will aid us in keeping in touch. There won’t be the parties or the gigs, though. And I’m pretty sad about that.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and say this–believe it if you want, ignore it if you don’t: I am Gord Light’s biggest fan. I love his music. I don’t just love it because he was my roommate and he’s my friend. I love it because it is awesome. He is, hands down, the most musically talented person I have ever met and will ever meet in all of the days of my life. Before moving in with Gord, I thought I was pretty good at music. Next to him, I look like “Introduction to the Recorder” from Grade 4 music class: Hot Cross Buns style. He is a god damned musical genius. The voice of a groovy and soulful giant comes out of his neck, and his nimble fingers are quick to learn any instrument they touch.
His songs are interesting, his lyrics are thoughtful and witty, his hooks are catchy and the chords are always complicated. He would write melodies and harmonies on the bus to Mississauga in his fucking head for christ’s sake…without an instrument in sight. He can do all the things I ever dreamed of doing with music with nary a second thought. His soul was called to music, there is no doubt about that.
I remember that first gig at the Cameron…that one he spoke about on stage the other night. That first gig where he played virtually all his own tunes. I was shocked at the time that it was somewhat of a first for him and his burgeoning band. Fast forward 7 years later, and I found myself sitting in shock at his EP release last Wednesday. There I sat, with tears streaming down my face listening to “Left Turn at Albuquerque” thinking about the drunken wreck I’ll be without him, and how he’ll be dancing out in Golden, not Toronto OR Bermuda for that matter.
I watched on Wednesday as he played “You’ll Never Know” on his uke, and remembered how, about a year ago, I was driving through Parkdale thinking that it was finally safe to stop worrying about things changing one day. I thought then that if things had lasted this way so far, there was a good chance that we would all go on living within a 5 mile radius of each other for the rest of our lives. That there was a good chance that I could always count on a HKM happening every Monday, somewhere. I realized while listening to him sing about the moment being gone that I had been so very wrong–those moments are fading away now. Things are changing. But in the sadness of my heart of hearts I am still grateful. I am still grateful because I know that we never took those moments for granted and we never will. Those special times will forever live on in our souls and they are something we will share for the rest of this life and on into our next.
We almost always did what we could to make the best of our lives–Gord and I and our little crew. We were always thankful for the things we had: the good times, the friends, the hugs, the snacks, and oh god–the laughter! We have thoroughly enjoyed everything the universe presented us with, and if ever one of us was down, the other was always there to find the silver lining. I can only hope that we will carry on as such on opposite ends of the country.
The positive, look at the bright side, hugs-a-lot Peattie was not who I was before I met Gord–I was sad and depressed and barely enjoyed living. I can’t contribute the entirety of my positive mental shift to my old roommate and chum, I can, however, say this:
Knowing Gord Light has changed my life.
And I’m sure if you know him, he’s changed yours too.