Saturday, May 26, 2007

Umbrella


A few years ago, lovie and I were visiting friends that live near Richmond & Niagara...just around the corner from all things good: The Paper Place, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Type, Chippy's. As we wandered along the south side, I noticed an oversized white poster with an enourmous typeface. Glancing at the first, slowing at the second and stopping to read the third, I finally realized that the posters were everywhere, but all were completely undisturbed. (remarkable...the only thing on Queen West free from grime, grafitti or attitude.) The anonymous words contained a sentiment that was so very Toronto, and I knew the posters would be ignored until they were noticed and destroyed, so I took the time to free one from its lamppost.


Umbrella

It's pouring rain and the streetcar is nowhere to
be seen. I have no umbrella and I'm soaked.
Standing at the end of the line, I try to retain
some dignity while I drip into my own shoes.
A businessman joins the line behind me. He is
impeccable and dry under his umbrella.
Without addressing me, he extends him umbrella
to shield me from the downpour.
I am suddenly overcome by emotion, so
unexpected and gentle is this act. I keep my head
down and stare at my sopping shoes to prevent
tears spilling down my already wet face.
I am barely able to mumble "Thank you."
After several silent minutes, the streetcar finally
arrives; we board, and I blend into the masses,
not even knowing what his face looks like.

This poster now hangs in the spare bedroom where I do all of my artwork. I suppose I cherish it because it reminds me of why I fell in love with Toronto, but also why I had to leave.

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