Weekends without her son are lonely ones, and Linea fills them up with her have-to list. Today is one of those days, and she finds herself heading downtown to visit a co-worker who’s recently had her second child, a girl. Linea goes early, to avoid the inevitable jostling on the Dundas streetcar. Some days she doesn’t mind the crush of people, almost needing the physical touch of strangers, but today she needs space. She leaves her apartment, remembering to take the pink gift bag, and inhales deeply as she walks toward the streetcar. The leaves are turning red early this year. Linea and her small son, Caleb, live on a tree-lined street near the chocolate factory. She can’t decide which smell is sweeter: the daily intoxicating aroma of chocolate or the fresh burst of today’s September roses. She loves this neighbourhood mixed with Italian and Portuguese families who take pride in growing thick, colourful gardens in their tiny front yards and clusters of small, sour wine grapes in the back. She imagines what sunny gardens these immigrants left behind in their birth countries, and how they have tried to transplant something from their old home into their new.

Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 5. Purchase the book to read the full piece.