Nylon-Encased Flesh

I wake up, body splayed across the mattress in a starburst. Sunlight. Then rain. Then resurrected sunlight. The men on a neighbouring roof are hammering sadistically out of time. Bang. Pause. Bang bang. Pause. Pause. Bang bang pause. I decide I can’t stand my apartment walls and bound out. Walk through the heavy, congested streets, now weightless.

Countless people in Toronto are thinking about the one that got away. How many times have they fantasized about you? All the times you starred in a daydream. In someone else’s romantic comedy. I wonder whose movie I’m in.

A morning of furious feet. Victorian houses, oak balconies, stray tabbies, turquoise lawn ornaments, patio chaises. The shadows of leaves spin across the cement. Kensington Market bustles and hums with soft peaches, skinned trouts and pink crinolines with black lace. The dogs on Augusta Avenue yip like the out-of-work actors I hang out with. Several European seniors out for a stroll, a Japanese Laundromat that also sells rice paper, two blond kids playing with Hula-Hoops on Markham street, ten friendly cats looking for a few good scratches.

Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 1. Purchase the book to read the full piece.

Toronto locations referenced in this piece

“The Trinity-Bellwoods drumming circle drips a collective energy. The dreadlocked kids paint their skin with sandalwood, gold dust and red hibiscus . . . then sweat out the colours into porous swirls as they dance . . . ” —Trinity Bellwoods

“Embedded in Connections: I-Spy. new years eve. corner of queen and bathurst. you boy. me girl. loved each other’s makeup. you went fetish. i went savage. still wanna kiss? . . . ” —Queen & Bathurts

“Beverley Street balconies are decayed hickory wood and twisted iron. The ambitious ivory festoons the dilapidated Victorian houses. Affluent front-porch-hounds sop up the hide-and-seek sun . . . ” —Beverley Street

“From their view, Arshia cannot see the homeless, the CN Tower, the convenience stores, the Spadina streetcars that fill the centre of the avenue like bone marrow. Only an affluent maple-lined street, with four-door Infinitis on carefully paved driveways . . . ” —Spadina Ave.

“She wants to skip over to Hazelton Lanes and watch the ladies with big lips try to eat soup. When they catch their own reflections in their spoons, they always ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh.’ . . . ” —Hazelton Lane

“Kensington Market bustles and hums with soft peaches, skinned trouts and pink crinolines with black lace. The dogs on Augusta Avenue yip like the out-of-work actors I hang out with . . . ” —Augusta Avenue

“Several European seniors out for a stroll, a Japanese Laundromat that also sells rice paper, two blond kids playing with Hula-Hoops on Markham street, ten friendly cats looking for a few good scratches . . . ” —Markham Street

“Yonge Street is nothing but an outdoor mall, loved by millions not for the architecture or the sunlight or the beauty in humans, but for the ability to acquire things that do not change your life . . . ” —Yonge Street

“Outside, rain taps Morse code on Christopher’s stained glass windows. From their view, Arshia cannot see the homeless, the CN Tower, the convenience stores, the
Spadina streetcars that fill the centre of the avenue like bone marrow . . . ” —CN Tower

“Through Chinatown, after picking up a university-stamped envelope from the post office. Asia slices through the city. An assembly line of golden Buddhas, Ming vases and brass gongs stretch up Spadina Avenue . . . ” —China Town