Ottawa: Bank and Sunnyside

ottawa I am working in this small room barely big enough to accommodate my small desk and a single chair. At the end of each day I return to the rooming house where sad, desperate men hit me up for money. Sad and desperate myself I feel the need to make contact with someone who cares. I go to the phone booth on the corner and call my friend Wayne. But I have to hang up because all I can do is sob.

We have repeated this routine every school day. I drop him off at Hopewell Public School, make sure he has his lunch, wish him a good day. This time, from the back seat, he asks “What’s going on?” I don’t answer because my throat is clogged with sobs. “What’s going on?”

There is that moment of incomprehension when the pattern has been repeated so often without variation and suddenly your expectations are denied by a violent rupture. Things are not as they should be. Things will never again be as they should. I already have my key out to unlock the door when I see that the door has been kicked in.