Coffee: India Extra Bold Roast, Cafe Crema; today the taste was ‘woodchips from your grandpa’s studio’ and a hint of ‘college dorm’
St. Lawrence Market in Toronto looks just like you: gray skies, string lights, cooking fire.
I’ve been to Canada once – ninth grade, an orchestra trip; we played at a high school, then listened to the Canadians play. These days, they’d probably do a Drake arrangement. Back then it was Beethoven.
On an off day, we toured the city. The Market was a morning stop, breakfast for many, though I don’t remember eating anything. I walked around with a few friends. We warmed up by the food stalls. It was late winter and mostly freezing. For those who haven’t seen it, St. Lawrence is in an old brick shipping warehouse. There’s a ground floor and a basement. Eventually, we got tired with the main floor so we went to the basement. There are more and more stalls down there. I looked at fish drying. I spied the pretty girls with fourteen-year-old eyes, careless.
Back against a pillar, tucked off the main drags, a man in blue jean-rags played guitar with the case open. He had a wild beard. His music was better than the Canadian orchestra’s, better than ours. I’d bought currency at customs and had already broken most of the bills. Pockets full of one and two-dollar coins, I emptied all the foreign money in his case. It was thirty-something. He nodded my way but didn’t miss a beat.
Last night, a gun, bullets, and fire-blooded man shot 15 and killed 2 people on a restaurant-packed street in Toronto. He was crazy, they say, but they always say that. I wonder what songs St. Lawrence’s guitarist is playing right now?
Gray skies, string lights, cooking fire – you can’t find what you’re looking for in the restless brick walls and crowded market, so you take it from someone else, irreversibly.
Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich
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“It seemed to me that everybody ended up in Toronto at least for a little while.” – Alice Munro, Dear Life