The sidewalks are filled with people. It's the normal late-rushhour early-evening traffic mix. People leaving work, going home, going out on the town. A density of bodies and fashion and bags briefcases satchels purses backpacks. Few people speak. They are mostly individuals travelling between one group of friends and the next. All have closed faces, minds turned to thoughts, eyes outwards only to see where to step next, to catch the traffic signal, to avoid the cars. The sound is almost solely traffic. Just the tires and engines of the equally filled streets, interrupted here and then by the click-snap-click of the electric trolley buses with their overhead cables, moving like large red fish through schools of small bland ones.
Inside the stores the same twilight between day and night is happening. Drug stores are filled with long lines of people getting some last item needed before home or night out. The girl behind the counter no longer tries to pay attention to the people, she is just trying to process the items set in front of her as fast as she can. She lets the security guard and the cam and the automatic doors do their jobs, she has hers, and it's not to say hello or give directions right now. In small restaurants with large front windows regulars start to appear in the seats. Little cafes get their odd collection of clients beginning perhaps three at a time. In one is an enormous fat man of middle age wearing only a tshirt despite the december chill, and his two companions keep on their coats and scarfs, only hats taken off so far, waiting for the coffee and conversation to warm them.
Everywhere everyone seems interesting tonight. All have a story and I want to talk to them, hear the mix of madness and wisdom that is their fit in this big city, especially right now when all the occupants seem to play a kind of musical chairs, everyone moving to their next position on the Board.
And I wake. It's one of those repeating dreams I can't quite shake, like the ones of school that haunt you till you're thirty. I miss a city I've never really been to. Waking I call it Toronto, though that's not Toronto, and I never want to be in Toronto again. But in the half-world of waking I wanted to go back so badly. Needed to. There were dreams to finish there.
This site is strictly personal. I give no guarantee to the accuracy of my facts or my fictions.
© 2000 Owen Briggs
last modified on 20 dec 00