I slept terribly last night. Packing until 1am, after waiting for laundry, and then the excitement of returning home. I wake at 6:30am and rush to get things done: shower, breakfast, brush teeth, make and pack lunch, check my luggage to ensure everything is packed, get dressed, grab a bus ticket, and stuff my phone in my pocket. I leave the house, dragging my suitcase, bundled with my winter coat against the -35C weather, and my backpack loosened to accommodate the extra bulk.
When I wait at the stop, unfortunately one without an enclosure, I pace back and forth until I remember that jus wastes energy. My breath is collecting on my scarf and moistening the area around my mouth.
The bus is late. I have just under an hour until my train leaves and the bus takes around 20 minutes to get to the station. When it finally arrives, I sit next to an Asian girl who also has a large suitcase. I place my backpack on the seat between us and spend the ride avoiding the sun shining into my face through the opposite window.
I see the parking lot and the series of loft apartments. I pull the cord and the driver stops. After I thank him and cross the intersection, I realise I left my backpack on the bus. A blonde girl, who also had some luggage, was right behind me. The bus has a stop a little further down the road, just after another intersection, and I ask the girl if I could trust her with my suitcase. She said yes, and I sprinted like all hell to catch the bus waiting at the next stop.
I wasn’t fast enough. It is me, after all. I suck at physical activity.
There I am, on Wyandotte and Walker, wailing and cursing; wondering what the hell I was going to do without my wallet, ID, subway fare, lunch; looking up the phone number for Windsor Transit to see if I could locate my backpack or inform them about the incident. I am too upset to acknowledge if I’m crying or cursing or simply screaming, “No, no, no, no!” over and over. I try to collect myself and think straight, planning what to do, but I am certainly distraught as I walk back to the girl watching my suitcase.
And then I see with her the Asian girl who I had sat beside on the bus. Holding my backpack.
I wish I could have done something more than thank her too many times and ask if I could hug her (which she obliged). Maybe I should have offered to buy her Tim Horton’s.
I arrive at the train station, my lungs aching from the sudden aggressive use after sprinting so hard. I empty my water bottle, re-fill it, and step outside. The station is rather crowded and I need to cool down.
When the train arrives, I get to my car and sit in my seat. I settle in easily, putting on my music, adjusting my coat and sweater, and placing my bag securely between my feet. My phone is at hand, since I have my ticket saved on there. I bring out a book—The Silver Chair by CS Lewis—and finally get settled in by removing my glasses.
The attendant scans my ticket and I return to my book. I hope to finish it this train ride. It isn’t long and I don’t have much to do, after all.
The seat beside me stays unoccupied for a couple hours—the train ride is just over 4 hours long—and halfway, when we reach London, a chatty woman gets on with a friend of hers.
I’m going to blame the snow for my distraction. Also, probably hunger. That egg salad wrap in my bag has been on my mind since I got onto the train.
My timing for the ride and my reading ability is fairly accurate: just as I’m reaching Toronto, my destination, I’ve finished the book. I prepare for the terminal, the new renovations, and hope for no confusion as I try to get to the subway.
After a sign on printer paper directs me toward the TTC, I follow more permanent ones. The construction has lessened compared to my last visit to the VIA station.
As I get into the junction between Union and the TTC, I spot the girl who had picked up my backpack. She’s heading toward the University-Yonge line, as I am, and I slow down. The area is wide and not busy. Numerous DO NOT ENTER signs are around different spinning gateways that look more like torture devices with how man bars are in the way
After I pay my fare—exact change—I make my way toward the different lines. One is north toward Finch and the other north toward Downsview. The girl from earlier heads toward Finch and I almost head the same direction until I read the sign.
I can only fuck up so many times in a day.
The ride on the subway is fairly pleasant. I sit near the back of a car, my one side against the wall of the car and near the accordion-folding floor. I put my backpack beside me and keep an eye on it, with my knees gripping my suitcase. I take out The Last Battle and start reading, with one ear free to hear the station names announced over the speaker. Waiting for Yorkdale.
While reading the first two chapters of the final instalment of The Chronicles Of Narnia, I think of abusive relationships. Shift and Puzzle definitely have an abusive relationship, filled with gaslighting and everything wrong in communication, skewed to make it seem like compassion.
It is even colder up here in Toronto than it was in Windsor, and I call my dad to let him know I’m on the Yorkdale platform. He instructs me to go where he’s going to pick me up. I stand in the underpass, unsure where I even am, in the wind and the cigarette smoke. I try to huddle between two weird boxes; one is digital and the other is locked. I watch the intersection for my dad’s van and he finally arrives.
Halfway into our hour-long drive to my hometown, we stop for food. The supposed “udon” noodles I have, with teriyaki sauce, vegetables, and beef, are like thick bits of dough, rather than the authentic Japanese udon noodles I’ve had before. But I’m grateful for the food. The beef is nice.
I’m finally home and the first thing I want to do is snuggle my rabbit. He’s been staying with my little brother since I returned to university at the beginning of January.
I barely recognise Pringles. He doesn’t seem real to me, like he’s a very well-done CGI rabbit. He reacts to my voice and hides in his blue hut. I take him out and snuggle him. I splutter and whine, and then splutter some more since he’s shedding—which I didn’t know. His fur gets all over my mouth, nose, and shirt, but he nuzzles into me.
I wonder if my love for him is like a parent’s love for their infant.
When my brother returns, I give him a hug. We watch some movies. I snuggle Pringles for many hours and accidentally fall asleep on the couch.
It’s nice to be back. The snow is falling and the air isn’t as dry as in Windsor. There are no people shouting as they walk by a sidewalk—mostly because there is no sidewalk and the population in this town is mainly retired folks instead of post-secondary students.
I do some low-key unpacking and am relieved I haven’t forgotten anything.