I have just been to brunch with myself. It is a sunny Sunday morning and there are ants in my apartment. I keep hoping that the incoming cold will freeze them
into stiff tableaux and I can sweep those tiny, black bodies from my clean slate. Right now, their presence puts me on edge and I need to get out.
I am older. Now I do not baulk at a table for one, and I can walk sweating and semi-aimless through streets thrumming with weekend joys.
There are fire engines blocking the thoroughfare on Dundas. There are firemen wrapped in rustling yellow, sweat beading beneath their helmets. I stop to watch – it is a Sunday. There is nothing else to do.
I can see no smoke. The crowd cranes as one, but the sun is bright and persistent and maybe there is nothing to see. We are hoping for a show, tickets in hand; but slouching off, disappointed.
Shoppers head towards Sai Yee. Nathan Road has been re-occupied. The loudspeakers pulse in a language I do not understand. There is one fireman far apart from the rest, marking something down the street, pipes perhaps. He is young, almost as young as me. He is squinting into the sun, standing to reconsider with his feet planted far apart. I wonder if he is hot and uncomfortable in his protective gear. I wonder if he is happy with his life. I imagine his mother and father are proud of him, and show relatives pictures of a too-small boy beaming in a man’s uniform.
He is smooth cheekbones and thick orange gloves. He is waking, sweating, in his parents house – his childhood bedroom long outgrown but still resentfully occupied -from a nightmare of real flames.
I am lonely. I wonder if he is lonely too. Then I walk on by.