I’ve been working almost non-stop since I got back to Toronto. The late shift suits me. I push off on my bike at around quarter past two, pedaling hard between hesitant cars and past red lights down down down. Shaw Street hills into Bellwoods and across Wellington, past condos and cops, past portly shirtless old men in socks, past couples lounging lazy in the grass, pedal pedal pedal.
All those weeks in wintry South Africa I couldn’t wait to come back to a warm summer. But I’m here now and I can’t feel the heat. Can’t feel the sun, can’t feel the stickiness, can’t feel it pressing on my skin, filling my lungs, creeping through my clothes, or trickling down my back. I can’t feel any of it.
The newsroom stays quiet on a summer Sunday eve. I try not to wander.
At the end of the night I walk though a dark, narrow alley to collect my lonesome bike. I don’t even see the shadows. Don’t see the blinking reds and greens at the intersections, don’t see the inky blackness between the full nighttime trees, hardly see other bikes and cars and people on the road. Hardly see the road. I don’t feel the darkness, don’t feel the breeze. Don’t feel the ache of my weakened thighs pushing uphill, don’t feel the moon in my belly. I don’t feel the sleeplessness that tugs on my eyes, don’t feel the exhaustion heavy on my shoulders. I’m up by five the next morning because my body doesn’t feel the time. All it feels is the past. Somewhere else, I would be waking up now. Somewhere else, this would make sense.