I was sitting at my desk in a mirrored office tower south of Montreal when my phone buzzed. The hum of the office faded into the background as I read the text from Angus, my best friend since childhood. Our plan to go canoeing near our hometown of Ottawa was a go.
Got a brand new canoe for us to use, he wrote. What’s your ETA?
I replied that I’d leave work early to catch a bus to Ottawa that afternoon. I had already worked out the plan for the short trip with my wife, who was at home taking care of our two-year-old daughter. We had agreed I would only be gone for twenty-four hours, a mini-vacation that seemed impossibly exciting after many months spent close to home helping care for our child.
“I love you,” I told her over the phone as I sat in the ...