At the age of 4 I was enjoying my childhood more than ever. I was reading picture books in both English and French, and starting to learn the Hebrew alef-bet. I was excelling in school (except for art, and I had poor concentration), and as usual I was still the center of the universe.
What I looked forward to more than anything else in my life was Saturday mornings. My Zeyda would drive over, pick me up, and take me out for breakfast. We always went somewhere fun like Picasso where they had Barney and Baby Bop dancing around. As I would always say to my Mom "Zeyda brings fun!" and I loved being doted on by him. He would tell me these weird made up stories about a brother and sister named Tip and Top, I pretty much lived for these stories, and I was convinced that my Zeyda was the most amazing man in the world.
One Saturday morning I woke up and waited by the window for my Zeyda like I always did. I waited, and waited and he didn't show up. My Mom tried phoning him, and there was no answer. I could see that my Mom was scared although she tried to hide it from me.
Eventually the phone rang, and I heard my Mom shouting quite a bit. My Mom then sat beside me on the couch where I was still waiting faithfully by the window.
"So honey I have something to tell you," she said and her voice sounded funny.
"Where's Zeyda?" I asked her, I already could figure out that she knew something.
"Well Zeyda had to go away to live in Toronto," said my Mom.
I knew Toronto, we had to go there twice a year to see my great aunt and uncle.
"Why?" I asked her.
"Well he did something stupid and now he's in trouble," she told me honestly.
"What did he do?" I asked innocently, not being able to wrap my head around the fact that my Zeyda may not be as perfect as I thought.
"Well he makes a lot of stupid choices, and he is so used to making stupid choices that he can't stop. Then he gets himself in trouble and has to go away so that the police don't find him," my Mom explained.
"So he isn't coming back?" I asked her.
"No I don't think so. You know when I was a little girl I barely ever saw him. I used to wonder where he was all the time," said my Mom and I just looked at her.
"You didn't know where he was?" I asked bewildered.
"No hardly ever."
"Wow Mommy you weren't very smart then were you," I said and much to my surprise my Mom started laughing hysterically.
Over the next few days I truly began to experience heartache and disappointment for the first time in my four years of life. I missed my Zeyda a lot, and tried to look for the affection I received from him in my Father, but to no avail. He would phone me everyday, and I would always ask when he was going to come back to Montreal. He never gave me a straight up answer so I knew that meant never.
Little did I know that soon enough my beloved Zeyda's demons were going to begin haunting my brother and I....and that we too would have to make our exodus out of Montreal as well.