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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 10 page 02

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April 13

Rain all day. I texted Val about 20 times, never heard back. The fire alarm went off at work. It was a shrill, piercing noise that wouldn't stop. Security announced that the fire department was on its way. I got a headache. Three fire trucks showed up. It turned out there was a problem with the fire alarm. Meanwhile, everybody left. I felt dumb asking people to come back tomorrow to see the video.

My sister Jen called to say I should go visit after she has her baby in September. She's in Calgary. I'll start saving up.

April 14

Met Val at Second Cup. She went to the laptop shop to look over the fence but she lost her footing on a woodpile and scraped her leg. She had to go into the store for help and Bo bandaged her up. Did he ask what you were doing there, I asked. No, she said, he probably figured it out. Did anything happen after that, I asked. No, she said. I said how was Ossie? She said, “Totally hyperactive. Why don’t you get an ordinary cat?”

April 15

I got a letter summoning me to jury duty. I can’t do that. What if it’s a murder trial that lasts six months or something? I’m a one-income household now. I will be ruined, I will be homeless, all because of jury duty.

April 16

Stress. At lunchtime I raced to the jury duty office which was a cubbyhole in Osgoode Hall and I begged the clerk to cancel my jury duty. He told me I needed a letter from my employer saying they do not pay for jury duty, so I raced back and asked Watson for a letter. Watson is the manager. He gave me a letter. He acted like he was doing me a huge favor. I broke a heel. I limped for three blocks till I found a place where I bought a pair of slip-ons for $14.99 which I put on my card.

April 17

I was on the King car and a guy got on and had a seizure in the aisle right away. He told the driver he was going to have a seizure and then he fell down. At first I thought it was some kind of mischief art performance. We waited half an hour while the paramedics arrived and took him away.

April 18

I was avoiding Val because I knew she would see in two seconds how desperate I was to know about her and Bo. Then in the afternoon I was sifting thru the racks at Courage My Love.

“Julie!”

“Val! How are you? Have you seen Bo recently?”

“No, why?” Her voice sounded unsteady.

“Did anything go wrong between you and Bo?” By which I meant, did anything go right?

“Listen, I just don’t want to be a spy, alright?”

“Alright,” I said. End of topic.

April 19

I ran into Raj on the street practically at my front door. He used to be in the same tax preparation course as me in November. I didn’t get a job out of it but he did. He’s got a desk in the back of a travel agent on Gerrard Street. He says he makes good money. It turns out he lives up the street from me, number 40.

April 20

I wrapped half a dozen cellophane bags around my deli items at Sobeys. “The guy at the hotbox didn’t have the right containers. I’m afraid the sauces will leak out,” I explained to the cashier.

“Those people in the deli are always miserable,” she said.

This unexpected turn made me feel I had to defend the deli personnel. “They have to do food preparation plus look after customers. It’s hard,” I said.

“It doesn’t matter, they should always smile for the customer,” the cashier continued with intensity. Tears welled up in her eyes. “Leave your baggage at home, that’s what I say. I have problems, everybody does, but I smile for the customer, that’s professional, I leave my personal life outside.”

She was on the verge of sobs, so I snapped back to business. “I’m using my credit card,” I said.

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