When you take the bus from Toronto to New York, which is new, although old, you arrive very early on a day in November, an icy November, at 6:20 in the morning, and you are dropped off at 28th St. and 8th Avenue and it’s an icy cold like a knife, and there are taxis and people with luggage wheeling along, and cars, and men standing smoking, and there are lights and morning light, or morning darkness actually, and you take your wheeled bag and you cross the street against the red light because there are no cars at that moment, and you start walking north up 8th Avenue, and your bag is behind you, a small weight, and you walk and walk and walk and walk and you decide you will not stop until you reach your destination because it’s too early in the morning to stop and too cold, besides. So you walk and walk and walk and walk, and you don’t stop until you reach near 80th St. which is almost an hour later, and you know you are waiting for your favourite coffee shop up there which will surely be open even though it’s only 7:30 in the morning now, and yes it is open, and now there is morning light no longer morning darkness, and there are people in the coffee shop, lots of people, and it is warm and bright in there although a sharp draught comes in at the door every time someone comes in, which is often, so it’s not so warm inside after all, but the tea is warm and you get tea in a paper cup and you manoeuvre your wheeled bag and sit perched on the uncomfortable stool, but you are very happy indeed because you are here, or almost here.
And in a few moments, after this warm tea, in perhaps 15 minutes, you will walk two blocks and climb some stairs and open an apartment door where there’s a dark hallway, and you will fumble for a switch and then, although light, it’s a little dark because the wood is dark, dark-wooded, and across the room is someone you love who is white and furred because she is a cat, and she is very pleased to see you, perhaps surprised, because you are home now, a new sort of home, although an old one, and you can rest now from the long walk, the long journey, and the cold one, home.
Dawn Promislow was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, and has lived in Toronto since 1987. Her writing has appeared in Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Numéro Cinq, StoryTime, SLiP (Stellenbosch Literary Project), and has been anthologized in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 5, 2010 and African Roar 2012. Her debut short story collection, Jewels and Other Stories (TSAR Publications, 2010), was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2011 and was named as one of the 8 best fiction debuts of 2011 by The Globe and Mail (Canada). She is writing her second book, a novel.