The boy was consumed by his imagination. He was standing at the front of the first car, where many of us stand if we’re intending to get off at Bloor-Yonge station. He stood beside a door that leads to the conductor’s space. In the door is a window that is mirrored on the passenger side.
The boy looked to be about 18, though a few pimples, slender build and his manner made him seem younger. He was turned to look into the mirrored window and I could see his face in the reflection, staring into his own eyes, head cocked teasingly to one side as his face transmitted a tender and earnest love.
He was a million miles away; lost in some story that caused his face and body to react in small movements as imagination unfolded events in his mind. Now and again he would change the placement of his lips or square his shoulder without taking his eyes away from his own eyes, oblivious to anyone around him.
Now and again he would turn back to face the car and the morning commuters, only to be called back to the story in his mind begging his attention back to the mirror. I couldn’t help but be amused at the thought of what he looked like from the conductor’s perspective on the other side of that window.
I know what it’s like, to have a story – real or imagined – take over my thoughts for hours, even days. In some ways I’m envious of the boy and his ability to give himself over so entirely to his internal story to the exclusion of everyone and everything around him. It made me think, he should be a writer.
On the other hand, the inherently reserved me couldn’t help but hope that at some time in my past, my own imagination given me away so completely in my own irksomely transparent face.
I don't take a lot of pride in working on Bay Street. I dig the historical address, but I don't work for, or associate myself with the suits that surround me on the sidewalks every day. I despise the big banks that own the area and who happen to be among the richest companies in Canada who hold the citizens of this country under a great big ugly warty thumb.
But like that kid I mentioned yesterday who squints her eyes to create watercolours on the night, I'm a sucker for the big mother Christmas decorations trying to out ostentatious each other in and around the towers. I love the big shiny Christmas down here.
Is that wrong?
Tonight is our first family Christmas celebration of the season, with Ceri's brother and nephew at their place. It's warm and pleasant visit, and we enjoy pot roast, conversation and guitar playing by both brothers.
On the way, we take the streetcar out to the east side and walk up through the pretty neighbourhood. Pretty neighbourhood with what seems like neighbours trying to out-do each other with giant lighted blow-up plastic Christmas shit all over their lawns.
This morning I'm moving about my place, finishing coffee and packing things up for work, and I'm stopped still by the sun showing itself, suddenly, in a mirror.
"Good morning," the sun says. "What's your hurry?"
"I'm glad to see you too," I say.
It's blustery and damp. So far, that's what the winter has been: blustery and damp. Cold and clear is pleasant to walk in; blustery and damp gets down through your bones. Despite that, we walk over to the Distillery District to see the annual Christmas Market, and many folks and their families are braving it too. We sip some mulled wine under a patio heater and then check out the vendors in the booths lining the cobbled "streets."
We retreat back westward and land in C'est What for some cosy and a snack.
Walking home later, we've got homemade soup on our minds. Even the CN Tower looks as if it wants to hide under the covers.
Walking across the pedestrian bridge (over the downtown Union Station rail corridor) I'm taken, as always, with the rain on pavement. I've just arrived home from Sudbury, appreciative of the downtown airport's proximity to my home (ten minutes' walk) and am on my way up to meet my people for beer o'clock at our usual local. It's good to be home.