She doesn’t remember the exact date, only that it was a weeknight, early spring, 1983; it was dark outside. She closed the door and locked it. Turned around and quickly checked the windows across the street. Walked a block carrying her baby and a small valise. Hailed a cab.
For two straight weeks she had burned evidence in the Godin and on the stove, delivered the ash to the toilet, and flushed it down. The house was clean of evidence, but the reek of smoke was telling enough.
This smell is the only reminiscence of her home when she tries to remember it in later years. There will be times when she wishes her home was licked by a magnificent fire, a fire that wrapped around the whole thing, crumpled walls in a mad waltz of flames, transformed the people inside into the same magnificent fire.
Half-burned hastily by the timid flames of a gas burner, drowned in a toilet bowl shouldn’t be anyone’s fate.
Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 1. Purchase the book to read the full piece.
Toronto locations referenced in this piece
“She loves the intersection of Bloor and High Park. The four of them spend the first two months as guests of a young couple, in a junior one-bedroom, in the grey, squat building . . . ” —Bloor and High Park