Handicap

Mira stared and stared at her iPhone, her sweaty thumb digging into the touchscreen just below the stored text message. A victim of an “e-breakup,” she could no longer regard the phenomenon as an urban legend. Such things really do happen to adults over thirty in monogamous relationships.

The smell of dank bodies eventually broke her trance. A wave of commuters trudged past, panting in the stifling haze of Toronto’s most relentless heat wave in decades. There was only one escalator leading up from the bowels of Kennedy Station, and today it was under repair. Mira looked up at the endless climb, feeling nauseous. And there were two more vertical faces she needed to scale before reaching the Rapid Transit platform on the top floor.

Mira buried the cell in her laptop case, but the words still invaded her thoughts. She took the first step up (“not”) and another (“a”) and another (“match”). She stopped to breathe, trying to exhale the hurt out of her system. The case in her hand weighed nothing. The chip on her shoulder was crushing her like an anvil.

Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 6. Purchase the book to read the full piece.

Toronto locations referenced in this piece

“There was only one escalator leading up from the bowels of Kennedy Station, and today it was under repair . . . ” —Kennedy Subway Station