24 April 2018. The day before the day before my last day in the office. I wanted to get a shot of the view from my office window, my cityscape, a view of the former new courthouse, the federal tax building, and an early 20th-century house (converted into apartments, a massage therapy clinic, and a theatre rehearsal space called Edna). But it’s raining. Maybe tomorrow or the day after, before I leave.
Among the people who have made up my human cityscape over the years (some of whom I’ve seen every day):
- The Crying Woman. Only she’s not crying. But her face is contorted in pain, and her eyes are almost closed, and she speaks in a small, high voice. She usually stops speaking when someone gets too close. But once, as I was getting out of a car, I heard her say, “But it could be dangerous.” She’s middle-aged, slim, good looking (when her face relaxes), and well dressed. She walks down to King Street and stands in front of the wine store and talks to the voices who talk to her. And then she walks back again.
- The Drumming Man. Who drums on things like large water bottles. I saw him once, drumming and screaming at a police officer in front of the Regional building. The officer never lost his cool.
- The Leonine Man. An older man with a mane of beautiful, white hair that curls at the nape of his neck.
- The Man Who Walks Black Bears. Only they’re not bears. Two massive Newfoundland dogs that I took for bears when I first saw them.
- The Rolling Man. A large man who rolls like a boat on a wavy lake.
- The Shouting Man. I know his name and a little of his history. I knew his girlfriend’s name, too—Shirley. But she disappeared years ago. He’s a recovering alcoholic who spends a lot of time at a coffee shop up the street. He walks down the street, hyped on coffee, perhaps, shouting and gesticulating.
- The Wobbly Man. A sad, grey, little man, whose grey clothes are too big for him and whose gait is so unsure he looks as if he’ll topple over. I’ve heard that his unsteadiness is caused by disease.
I’ll miss Downtown, for all its danger and sadness. I’ll miss my cityscape. I’ll miss my human cityscape, too. For those who inhabit it, I’ve come to feel something like love.