Strathmore

It had been dark for hours by the time I finally parted ways with my coworkers and got in my car. Once-warm mini donuts sat untouched in my bag on the passenger seat, begging me to take a bite, but my stomach was spinning too fast to truly entertain the idea of eating anything. I was trying not to speed, but my foot felt heavy as my heart raced.

I expected to hit Toronto traffic, something to slow me down, but the roads were clear. It was just me, with the air conditioning on high, unsure whether I was sweating from the late August heat or nerves. While the rest of me reddened, my icy hands gripped the steering wheel, ready to make a left turn any minute now.

Driving under the sign for Greektown, I felt my heart start to rattle inside my chest. I took a deep breath, checking for any cars behind me before slowing down to the speed limit. It wasn’t even midnight yet, but the empty streets made it feel like 3am.

Coxwell. The sign passed and I knew my turn was coming up. I’d looked at the map a hundred times to plan my drive, and now I was nearing the end. It was the only time I’d drive this route, but three years later I still know every direction, every sign, every cue.

I turned towards my final destination and was met by a street lined with cars on both sides and rows of houses with no lights on. I drove slowly, eyes wide open, searching for a parking spot in the dark. I reached a makeshift dead-end of construction vehicles and barricades and pulled my car over just on the wrong side of a No Parking sign. I checked my phone; no new texts.

At that moment, I couldn’t feel my heart at all. I tapped my fingers against my collar bone, like a slow substitution for my heartbeat. I was suddenly sure it was all a joke. No one was home. No one was coming to meet me. I looked up at the dark roof of my car to try to stop the tears from leaving my eyes. I swear my car got smaller with every breath I took, the roof getting closer and closer until I felt my phone buzz in my hand. One new message.

I turned my car around, heading back the way I came. This time my eyes searched for movement as I rolled slowly over a speed bump. Then I saw it. I came to a stop in the middle of the road, rolling my window down, letting the fresh air into my car and my lungs like I was breathing for the first time. That’s when he bent down, smiled, and said, “Hey.”

The Wildfire

Your voice hit me
like a bolt of lightning,
forcing the blood through my veins
for what felt like
the first time.

That lightning
turned to fire fast.

Flickering.

We held each other
for the warmth,
but soon
were spitting our words
like beads of gasoline.

Out of control.

I stayed to fight
and watched as you ran.
Did you feel anything at all?

We went down in flames,
but I’m the only one with burns.

Like Magnets

You and I
are
like magnets;
living separate lives until
we were drawn
closer and closer and
closer and
closer
together.

And only the
thickest
bricks
could stop us from
connecting.

And only the
strongest
force
could rip us
apart.

But unless that force
is prepared to hold us forever
we will find our way
back
closer and closer and
closer and
closer
together.