By: Brian Michael Barbeito
There is a place I saw by 16th side road and Don Mills Avenue. I was headed north and away from cities. It was to the left, a small strip plaza new and unencumbered by the heaviness of days and decades spent in urban zones. At that time there had been rains for hours and the air had finally become clean. I am a night person in the end, and the day was wrapping up then. There is a quiet and sometimes not so quiet struggle between the new- the asphalt and the one tonne trucks, the steam rollers and the pylons neon in the dark- and the old, Oaks and Pines and little streams or the small yet sturdy wild shrubs by the train track crossing signs. I don’t know how hard it is for the rural to give itself up to the urban. Maybe it is difficult and perhaps the rural has voices call out that nobody hears- the voices of devas, sprites, or of the day and night themselves. Some daemon has to relocate and be replaced by another daemon or higher self. Where does the spirit of a place go when the place becomes different, unrecognizable? All of that was happening there in the middle or the latter end of dusk. There were still the clouds, and they struck the top of the tree line and the new buildings both. Billowed and borne, making strange silent noises against the world. Where did they come from? I thought I would get a chance, one day, to go to that coffee shop. It looked clean and neat. You would be there also. You see, there is room there to be and to talk. The intersection is out there, and things are moving along, but the intersection of you and me, for a time, could have room there in that place. I noticed that they had workers and lights, tables and booths and the largest of windows. I thought that somehow, when we went there, you would wear a sweater, a light one, that had buttons blue or black or even green. Nothing gaudy or gauche, but not too old either. You see, it would be a sweater for the night, because in the summers, the night can become cool after the rain, and a place like that more often than not has air conditioning. The train just up a bit would be going by, and we wouldn’t know it consciously, but we would hear the wheels on the tracks and some horn going off. It’s a cargo train you know, and moves slowly. Impossibly slow for any train you would think. Some of the cars have a big CN designation on the side. Others have more esoteric markings that can’t be understood by the uninitiated. Once I saw the cars. They said things like TRITON, written proudly and confidently in smart white vertically placed lettering. Some seemed to say MOP, and RCL, and all the while the wheels moved the cargo and some music played from the radio. Red lights flash out at the trees and the road while the houses in the distance with land and gravel and paving stones, with cats and faces or even vacancy in the windows, watch on at the loam of fields and the ubiquitous thing that night is when it comes to full bloom. We would be back from that all, where the urban meets the rural, there, in a booth. Yes, it would have to be a booth. For once, there would be no vested interest, because there had been enough time for the past to recede properly into the past. We would be surprised at something, and that something would be that it felt well and correct for romance to be absent. Friendship was higher, and this would be found out. Talking. Maybe you wear denim. I know that I have to wear ambulance pants dark blue with large pockets. The pockets house keys and money, coins domestic and foreign also, such as my leftover pesos, gum and rings and plethora of things, but most of all memories. You would tell of events and I would tell of interpretations. Laughter. The muted colors of the walls and the soft electrical lights course through us. I would have to relay to you about the cargo ships that come past sometimes in the Riveria, and also on the Atlantic, how they wander, lost souls on the edge of the horizon line. I don’t know what you would say, because I am not you. But you might talk about ancestry, politics, or cities far to the south. You might talk about subjects as prosaic as soup and crackers or your land lady’s cough. Maybe you would become bizarre, and describe the hegemony of wolves, the geography and vagaries of the seeker’s soul and lot, or the polemics of undiscovered saints. I don’t know. But I got the idea, that there, down by the train as I say, where the city is sprawling out to become the country, to overtake it, and go on to become places we will not know about or see, – that there, we would sit and talk far and far and far into the hours, uncovering them yet honoring them at the same time. We would sneak a peek, somehow, into the psyche of the night, into the higher self of you and me and us. We would take a look into these intersections.
Brian Michael Barbeito is a novelist, short story writer, and poet. A resident of Ontario Canada, he is a Pushcart Nominee for the story The Motel by the Stereo Sea (Mungbeing Magazine, 2012), and for the story The One Single Note, (Lunatics Folly Magazine, 2011). Some venues where his work appear include NFTU Notes from the Underground, Whisperings Magazine from Mountain Tales Press, and Kurungabaa: A Journal of Literature, History, and Ideas from the Sea. His most recent work, Chalk Lines, a book of short fiction and poems, is published by Fowlpox Press in 2013. He has writing forthcoming at Birkensnake Magazine and is at work on the novel Pockets Full of Memory.