This is an excerpt from the novel “Confessions of an Abortion Addict.” This excerpt might not be sequential and will be subject to additional editing. Thank you!
It’s been 27 years since I’ve been trapped in my own head. I went to walk on the streets that were familiar, but it’s been too long since I can remember what it was like to transcend. Everything I can remember has been stained by time and memory. Altered by it and ultimately become indifferent too; it was always like that. I look at people as objects in a petri dish. I observe them— the way they laugh, hold conversations, the stares that linger too long and hands that get rebutted ever so softly. I do this because of my craft; I want to be an amazing actress. I’m sitting in a great Hall with other travelers who are waiting for their trains, to go elsewhere, somewhere they were destined to go.
I see the hug of close friends, lovers and how they are so easily replaced by other people on the waiting bench who too are waiting for the same relationships to enter through that platform. The great Hall has a large dome-shaped ceiling, the lights on the scaffolding provide a mauving effect, smell of recent construction— sawdust floating in the spotlight of the sun… a clanging of metal that has a strange blue ring. Suitcases half the weight of their carriers. Men who look like they have been war torn by life, women who carry themselves with litheness. Shopping bags, hair curled buns and the little wheels making sounds like small locomotives. The voices reverberate, and the pool of conversation gathers into a flood that spills everywhere.
I go out to smoke. The corner is unlittered with cigarette butts, and I leave one behind with my red lipstick marks, showing that I was there. There are large faces of buildings that look down on me; it’s the feeling of being looked down upon that gets you. Bloated with empathy, my feet yellow-calloused from walking around in these white flats, I hobble around the block, the cars rush by me… Doppler Effect in transit. Pedestrians, jaywalk with deftness that I’ve never possessed and the homeless sit on corners—peripheral curiosities, becoming a part of the city landscape rather than living, breathing organisms. I feel guilty of that thought, but I let myself off with a slap-on-the-wrist. I detach myself walking upwards, and then I catch a glimpse of myself in the green-tinged reflective glass windows of the I-trade building; I can’t help but look. The black flowery blouse, my tight jeans billowing with my body and finally hair untethered in pristine spring weather and the ever so slight curls caressing my face; skin unblemished and proportionately tanned. ‘There were a lot of reasons to smile’ I tell myself to provide excuses for my unearthly grin. As I get closer, the sun dips at that angle which gives life the color of fading polaroid pictures.
“Lady, get some info,” this tall, dark-skinned man said. He was waving flyers with crescent shapes stepping in and out of my path. He was wearing glasses that blind men wear and his scarred white stubble, made him look even more malnourished.
“No, thanks,” I said in my barely audible speaking voice, but my open arm wrist protest along with my head bobble should be more than enough disinterest. I’ve learned to ignore men with flyers. You might think they’re giving you ‘info,’ but they only waste your time. I’m beginning to realize the city, surrounded by a mass of people does make you a little cold and callous but at the same time perceptive of people’s naked interests.
Getting closer to Dundas, I walk avoiding the subway grates; I might also be avoiding them because I fear falling down further… there is a lingering smell of baked bread floating through the open windows, the steam howls from the belly …the raging of the union southbound line, trembling with unrestrained ferocity. If you look at the pavement closely you can see the small shoot of grass jutting out of the corners. I’m getting a little woozy because I’m also noticing the bubble-gum carcasses and bird-droppings forming small bulbous protrusions infecting the street… like diseased skin. I retrieve a cigarette from my purse, and now it’s dangling on my lips…. I’m going pass the theatre near Wellington Street; I’m not sure if I should do theatre? Nonsense my agent would say and she would berate me about thinking too small. She isn’t with me today; she might’ve finally been satiated by my victory to not show up. Sppt! The lighter fidgets like a fire-dancer near the square, I hear the four toned announcement: ‘Walksignisonforallcrossings’. There was a certain buzz in the ear as if everyone was excited that I was finally meeting, Sly. She was insisting to meet up after our audition and I guess I finally had a reason to celebrate. I wonder now if I were to celebrate my accomplishments, do those accomplishments diminish as I celebrate them, I wonder if everything becomes much of the same. Everything eventually becomes old. I hail a cab.
“90 Ossington”, I say depositing my purse on the other seat. The driver moves with a sense of reckless preciseness; moving his head supernaturally, as if to have an omniscient view of the streets. He was darting across traffic manoeuvring around logjams barely avoiding the cyclists, pedestrians that were unlucky enough to find him in the way of his path— I was sure he had at least grazed many of his would-be victims. In that 30 minute drive I saw my life pass by several times.
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© A.R. Minhas 2017