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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 12 page 07

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If you buy a house, I said, I mean if it’s the right kind of place, I could rent part of it from you. If there’s a separate entrance, I mean.

Annie nodded.

We didn’t talk now, devoting our energy to the task at hand. We advanced doggedly, clambering over fallen, mossy trunks, as if intent on, as if obsessed with, reaching the stream's source.

The path entered an overgrown area and dead-ended at a heap of fallen, mushroom-encrusted boughs. We backtracked and hopped back once more to the east bank. That turned out to be tough slogging as well. Nature was trying to bar the way. We stooped low to pass under a series of rotten tree trunks that dangled across the path. Someone should clear away that dead wood, Annie said, it could fall on someone.

The ravine grew narrower, the climb steeper. We were reaching a culmination. We walked single file atop a retaining wall of rocks tightly gathered within wire mesh. A sort of cave mouth in a hillside came into view and we could see where the stream gushed out from it, passing thru a heavy grate. The water was murky now, spilling over a mat of dead leaves and debris tangled in the grate.

To the right, a path led to an open gate beyond which lay a well-groomed lawn with big shade trees. Here and there a stone slab poked up from the ground — they were tombstones, I realized with a start. Mount Pleasant Cemetery. This was not the destination I had in mind when we started out.

Annie was facing in a different direction. She was heading toward a stairway that led up to the houses.

That’s for rich people up there, I said.

Let’s go look, she said.

No harm in looking, I agreed. Let’s go.