Wednesday, October 12, 2005

angel girl


I was with her when she drew her last, gasping breath. Until the end, she elegantly hung on to life with the same quiet strength that commanded her days. An honour, there is great beauty in its trusted intimacy, to be present at the death of a beloved companion. My hand rested gently on her shoulder as the tip of her tail made one final, frantic quiver.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


The Peace Train

I sailed into the city on the Go Train. I like to mosey so I arrived at the station early and strolled along to the end of the platform past the usual waiting area. When the double-decked carriage, painted green and white, pulled up along the tracks and skreeeeked (as only a train can) to a stop, the automatic door swished opened and I climbed aboard. I sat down on one of the blue cushioned benches and cozied myself. I love travelling by train.

A pleasant looking woman sat an airy distance away from me across a wide, centre aisle. She was gripping a book close to her face, intently reading the last pages of an apparent spellbinder. Nearby, an abandoned newspaper was haphazardly piled on the floor and I went over to retrieve it. As I bent down, the woman looked up and smiled a hello my way. I smiled back, made the casual remark, "May as well put it to good use", gave a friendly nod, and returned to my seat with paper in hand. In that instant, I was sure she was on her way to the same engagement I was. I thought to ask but let it go when I saw she had quickly resumed reading.

Not really in the mood for news, I half-glanced through the paper a page or two at a time, folded it up and placed it neatly on the seat beside me. A young family with toddler and baby in tow, rolled their stroller into position and parked themselves and all their gear in the seats behind the Book Lady. Another young family entered the train through a second door. Each parent carefully, yet firmly, held a hand of the sweet little pre-schooler who walked between them. They took seats side-by-side, and their daughter cuddled up nicely on mama’s lap.

Seconds before the train was to depart, an aging woman with a youthful stride came bouncing into the car and sat across from me in the seat paired with mine. Grinning, we greeted each other as seating partners do and she then leaned forward, picked up the paper and settled in.

A bubbling festivity filled the air. Most of the travellers were on their way to a day at the Ex and the joyful anticipation was palatable. The children were wiggle-toes excited. The one little girl (seated behind Book Lady) chattered away in English while the other little girl (now seated between her parents) chattered away in Mandarin (or perhaps Cantonese). To engage her daughter’s attention, the english-speaking mother began to sing the nursery song, ‘Head, Toes, Eyes and Nose’ - a catchy silly song with hand actions. Each time, the song finished with a giggle before it started all over again and I found myself silently joining in, smiling along.

All the while, I was watching the other little girl. She now sat poker-straight, straining to hear the distant voices. Her eyes grew wide with recognition and, suddenly, mid-song she began to sing too - every other word in a wee tentative voice until her confidence grew to full swing pitch. Her parents glanced at each other in surprise and then beamed with delight.
In this exquisite moment, riding the train, I danced the light of sweet innocence.