As she straightened up, I noticed the wet paper in her hand. I was almost beside her when she threw it at the pole. I wasn’t sure if she was making art or protesting the little art installation. I looked back over my shoulder and saw her looking around for other things to throw.
I like these public art installations. This is the first time I’ve seen this series on Queen West, but a few months ago, I found some up at Dundas and Bathurst and took pictures:
The rumble of the streetcar and the noise of the heating fans made it hard to hear. A few words drifted my way – “… easier to get around here … find places … work … yeah …. streets . . people…” They came from opposite ends of the country, one from Vancouver, the other from the Maritimes. The younger man was dressed in a stylish wool coat, the older man wore an old jacket and a knitted hat with a single dangling pompom. The younger man had money in his pocket, the older man didn’t. By the look of it, the younger man probably had stable housing; the older man probavly didn’t. That didn’t stop them from spending the twenty minute streetcar ride engaged in low-key, comfortable conversation about their common experiences of living in Toronto.
She talked from the minute she got on the streetcar, pushing her way through the crush of coats and back packs until she found a pole she could hang on to. Traffic was bumper to bumper and it was a slow commute. So young to have these stories. So early in the morning to already have cried.
I was waiting for the elevator when he walked by. His cologne was thick and sweet – an unexpected intimacy that conjured up morning rituals. I pushed it out of my nose, letting out an accidental snort that echoed in the hallway behind him.
I noticed them walking ahead of me just as I was at the steps of the office. They were both tall with broad shoulders and a slightly lumbering gait. They seemed perfect together. I wanted to capture them in a less literal way than usual so this was a first stab at that – more colour, less form (still came out more literal than I wanted).
Afterwards, I decided to see what it would look like if I forgot about trying to depict them in anatomical form altogether and just thought about their energy – a surprisingly abstract result – would like to figure out how to work somewhere in between.
The metal rod in his hand didn’t have a ring to it. Some metals have a bright tinkle to them; this sounded like it was made of lead. Still, it was definitely “Jingle Bells” being tapped out in tuneless, flat thuds against the street lamp. I walked past, inhaling his cigar smoke and singing the song in my head.
I looked it up. Apparently, crying can make you feel cold. Or at least, there are people out there who say that they feel cold after crying, and who’ve posted on different sites asking why that is. I didn’t find any answers – at least none based on research (I didn’t look very hard either). Maybe the young man is one of those people. He certainly kept repeating his warning – and the little girl kept wailing. I wonder if his words will stay with her whenever she cries.