Incredible things are happening with technology as we speak. The internet is growing exponentially. I find it almost impossible to stay up to date. And sure enough, once in a while, I find out that I have indeed fallen behind.
It was the case this evening. Having looked up the French town of Anjou on Google Maps while Skyping with Marie earlier, I was left with an open browser and beautiful France smiling at me. I began to zoom in and traveled south. A little orange icon looking like a person attracted my attention on the interface. It looked like the "Street View" icon, a very cool new feature in Google Maps that shows you street level images of a location. But I thought I remembered Street View only being available in select US cities. I checked further, zooming in on Marseilles.
Surprise. Street level views were everywhere. My heart started beating faster. What if? I scrolled, scrolled and scrolled, disoriented at first. I missed la Bonne Mère, found le vieux port, climbed back up the hill and spotted the name I was looking for. I dragged the little icon and held my breath.
And this, is what I got.
I was blown away – that ruelle, boldly labeled an "avenue", is the smallest street one could ever imagine; the hairpin turns below and to the left (once in street view, click and drag to turn around) are so tight and narrow that most small French cars miss and have to back-up once. And yet, there it was, on my screen and out of a decade of dust collecting, duly photographed and archived by others onto the internet. 69 Avenue David Dellepiane. Google sent me tumbling down the memory lane.
How many times had I written that address on an envelope? The squeaky metal gate would open into a small empty terrace, and then the door, to the right, lead via a long corridor inside one of the smallest (and darkest) apartments I had seen before arriving in Vancouver.
There, lived my father. He spent the end of his tumultuous life smoking and drinking himself to oblivion, and he stayed at 69 D. Dellepiane until the end. The sight of this house is an amazingly sad one, filled with the heavy burden of guilt and regrets. But at the same time, I catch myself smiling at the memory of such a colorful man. I chose, long ago, to remember all the extraordinary moments he filled my youth with, rather than the sadness of an unavoidable end.
Isa, if you ever read this, my love to you and everyone around you. :-)
As it was said somewhere else:
– Instead, I will tell you how he lived.