I pass by this corner with the giant maple tree. It must have like a leaf for every Canadian and when the wind blows they all sigh 'eeeeeehhhhh'. Last time I was here the ground was covered by aspiring maple trees. Tiny greens in the shadow, eternally hopeful, longing for air and sun. None of them survived.
I can't avoid thinking it's like my ideas. So many of them never grow up.
At the bus station, there is a women performing a little dance. She is maybe in her fifties wearing one of these jeans with fake holes that I can't stand. A guy is sitting on the bench, he looks somewhat younger than her. "Don't step on the cracks." he says. She turns around, her jacket swinging. "Oooh, do you remember how we used to play that as kids - don't step on the cracks." and she giggles.
I don't know why this always strikes me, stupid games like this that seem to traverse times, boundaries and oceans. My younger brother and I, we too used to played this game, different pavement, same giggles. If I made a mistake, he would go "Naaaaah-na-naa-naaaaah-na," - an intonation I've heard from children all over the world.
The guy grabs her jacket and pulls the women towards him. He is definitely younger than her, why do I notice this so prominently? Then she sees me watching them. I wonder whether I, in a twenty years from now, will get an eyebrow piercing, a younger boyfriend and try not to step on the cracks.
Walking on, I make sure to step on every crack, and imagine what the kids played before there was pavement. They might have tried to walk in other people's footprints.
I've been sitting at Starbucks for a while, but I am stuck with my book. I totally fail to get the point of this chapter. In comes a man with his daughter, they look like immigrants, maybe Mexican, but not sure. Both already wear winter jackets. He orders a venti coffee, and while he's waiting pulls out his BlackBerry. His daughter is bored, picks up and puts back things from the counter. She is maybe ten years. A strand of long dark hair falls into her face, and she pushes it back with an elegantly flowing movement that suddenly makes her look much older.
The coffee is ready, but he is still busy with the BlackBerry so the girl offers to get some sugar. "That's lovely, thank you honey." he says, typing emails.
She goes to the desk, and pours sugar into the coffee. One-two-three seconds, I count, white powder streaming into the venti cup. She takes one of the small wooden sticks and stirs the coffee, then throws the stick into the garbage and turns around. But her father is still pressing buttons.
So she takes some of the spices they have at Starbucks: cinnamon, vanilla, cacao, nutmeg, pumpkin and adds a bit of each. She pulls the stick out of the garbage, stirs, and frowns her forehead. She looks what else is there, finds the honey, and there goes honey on top of everything, another dash of vanilla, and stirring. Meanwhile other guests have begun to watch her, but she doesn't notice. She licks the stick, shakes her head, and decides it needs more sugar. The cup is full now to the rim, so she pours some into the garbage and carefully puts on a lid.
She brings the coffee to her father, who is done typing, but still reading and doesn't look up. "Here is your coffee.", she says. He takes a sip. The whole room is watching him, but he just smiles at her "Tastes very good, thanks so much." - "I tried it!" the girl says, and he playfully raises his eyebrows "So, you tried it?". She pushes back her hair and says "We have to go, mum is waiting."
I am in the queue at Sobeys. I shouldn't go shopping around 5pm. In front of me is a mother with her two sons, talking into the cellphone: "I'm on the dinner run." I look into her cart. Two huge packs of mini pizzas and three bottles of Coke. The queue slowly moves forward.
The younger boy, maybe four years old, grabs a magazine from the shelf. "Why is the women naked?" he asks, loud enough so people turn around. The women pictured is not naked, but her bikini doesn't leave much to even a four year old's imagination. Before his mother can answer the older son goes "Because she's hot." - "Jake!" His mother hangs up on the phone, takes the magazine, and puts it back into the shelf. "That's what Brian said," Jake explains. She frowns her forehead. The younger son looks confused, repeats "Why is the women naked?" Behind me someone laughs.
"Because sex sells." I offer. Everybody: looks embarrassed. Maternal anger focusses on me focussing on Cosmo's September issue: "His #1 Sex Fantasy!" .
"What are sex-cells?" the boy asks. I think I should work on my pronunciation.
"I can help you over here", comes to rescue me from the next register. So I leave the queue.