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Love in the greater Toronto area takes public transportation

i. The Yonge/University Line

We begin our journey at Mount Pleasant and Eglinton:
walking from school to the subway station
me and my grade ten crush, circa 1987
he was in grade 11
and his name was Mason.

As we walk and we talk
I feel my words start to flutter
like my language is melting, my sentences butter
I wish he would slip a word my way
I wish I had something smart to say
or if he would
or if I could
or if I knew
where this might be going,
where is my love going….
looks like it’s going underground
cause we’ve reached Young and Eglington.
And this is where I go down,
To get on the train
to ride

ii. Southbound Platform

There are still landmarks I ride by everyday
that remind me who I used to be:
Davisville Subway.
Now this is the stop that remains in my memory
the place I would always get off to go and see
my grade nine heart throb, Tom,
with whom eventually
I became good friends
and the crush kinda died away
and several years later in grade 12,
he came out as gay.
He was the first, and he must have thought he set a trend
‘Cause later all the girls he ever dated became lesbians
including me
but that’s another story
and anyway

iii. We’re not there yet.

We’re only at St. Clair station
which was the location of the first time
I went out with Mason
It was a grade ten movie
at Yonge and St.Clair
couldn’t tell you what the film was, all I remember about being there
is gathering the courage
to slip my hand (which held my heart, bared)
into his hand, which lay on the arm rest we shared.

After the movie our hands go their separate ways
Back into pockets, leaving me perplexed about what to say
even though every day, after school we rehearse a play
where we are in love and we kiss on stage
tonight we have no script printed on a page.

iv. To get to Roselawn Avenue, take the Avenue Road Bus several stops past Eglinton

I went to Mason’s house once: he lived in North Toronto
with his super-nice parents and a big white poodle
his mom was really sweet to me, like she thought we were together.
I wondered secretly what he had told her,
since he never told me anything.
He showed me his guitar, and I tried to act normal,
like I wasn’t dying inside to be his date to the formal
but he never asked, and I didn’t either
so I took the bus home, and that night I lay there
imagining all the conversations
we should have had

v. Today in therapy we talk about my dad

vi. The heart of the city

It smells like hotdogs
at the corner of Bloor and Yonge.
We’ve been waiting half an hour
for the night bus to come

when I last stood here on the corner of three am
I think was sixteen, but here we are again,
now we’re nearly thirty and Mason stands beside me
clean cut and good looking as if he’d never
tied me up in knots, made my knees quiver
But tonight it’s just the cold that makes me shiver.
Sure, we’ve been drinking, though I only had two beers
it’s enough to make me honest tonight, it appears.

Let me tell you, I say
how I felt all those years ago,
when we were in high school
and had to kiss in that show
we were acting in,
oh god, do you even know
how much I liked you,
how I longed for you to tell me
you liked me too.
Oh, he says, yeah, well sure, I really liked you too,
I guess I just never really knew what to do.

A man asks me for change
and we both turn to him hastily,
relieved, perhaps, that he can look away from me.

vii. The Night Bus

When it finally comes, we let it drive by,
we’re eating hot dogs from the vendor
and we’re still talking about why.

He says I guess you were
the first in what’s become a long line of
me trying to find
my way
in that relationship landmine:
it’s full of self-doubt and
mis-communications and
look, I’m still single,
and you’re a part of the lesbian nation.
What is it with all the girls we went to school with, anyway?
was it something in the air or in the water fountains?
I know I have a tendency to turn molehill’s into mountains,
but tell me as my friend now, tell me honestly,
it is something that I said or did?
was it me?

No, it wasn’t you.
All I know is, Mason,
we never seemed to be able to have this conversation.
And I didn’t yet know that much about love
and I was waiting to find out who I was
and I wished someone would answer
a few of my questions,
like would anyone ever like me as “more than a friend”?
and it’s not that I’m no longer attracted to men
it’s just that true love found me
and she is a woman.

iix. The Bloor Danforth Line, westbound, above ground.

When the night bus comes again,
he gets on and I get on my bike,
the bus lurches away, and I ride into the night.
I live at Bloor and Dufferin, which isn’t very close by,
but the streets are dead, I don’t stop for red and the blocks fly by.

There is a light on in the bedroom
which tells me maybe she’s still up

the light in my heart tells me
maybe I’ve grown up.

© evalyn parry (SOCAN) 2007 all rights reserved