I’m smiling in the picture, but you can also tell that I’m tired. This photo was taken right at the beginning of another stretch of teething symptoms. On top of that I had finally cleared the “first trimester” nausea that had persisted well into my second trimester. With a burst of energy and motivation I had ambitiously signed up for a writing course and started the application process for a new online teaching position! With teething came earlier mornings, busier days (my son gets this weird energy when he’s teething) and bigger meltdowns.
Felix is lying with his face on his pillow. His skin is red and blotchy from crying giving the impression that he has just had a severe allergic reaction to something, and his blue eyes are puffy. When he sees me he springs to his feet, “Hi,” he says, a huge grin on his face.
“Good morning,” I reply walking over to his crib and pulling on the string next to the window to open the blinds. Felix points out the window in excitement, “Do you see your house?” I ask.
We were a bunch of teenagers stuck on a bus together for 24 hours. Some of us had decided to stay up all night, while others opted to attempt to sleep in their cramped seats. Kailey and I probably pulled a few too many pranks on our coach than necessary, but he managed to prank us back, so I felt like we were even. It was the spring of 2005, I was sixteen years old and I was so excited to go to Florida for the track and field meet. At the time Florida seemed so distant and exotic. I watched out the bus window as the snow became less and less, until the sun went down, and I remember waking up to green grass and bushy trees full of leaves. Once I was up, I returned vigilance to the window, watching the changing landscape and completely amazed by my first glimpses of palm trees! Kailey tried to climb one at our rest stop, but it had a spiky trunk and she did not make it very far.
The underground metro screeches to a halt on a Saturday morning. The doors open and a scattering of individuals enter the train. It’s quiet, a sharp contrast from Toronto commuter morning rush during the week. About midway down the train a woman in a bright orange with the letters V-I-P-K-I-D written in bold white print down the arm, finds a seat. She rides the train all the way down to Union Station, right in the heart of downtown Toronto. The CN tower peaks through the tall buildings that surround her. She is an orange speck on the city streets. She walks to Wellington street. The building she enters towers up towards the sky, and on a brick wall in silver lettering, says 95 Wellington West. “Hello, I’m one of the coaches for the V-I-P-kid training event,” she informs the security guard at the front desk. She rides up to the fourteenth flour. As she begins setting up the room for the fast pass event, she takes a moment to glance out the window, enjoying the little adrenaline rush she feels looking straight down on the street below.
“Ok, bye bye star!” I said, trying to lock the child in his chair with my gaze through my computer screen. I was teaching my online ESL student Alan again. For a long time he was my most loyal regular. I started teaching him shortly after beginning with the company, and he signed up for five to seven classes a week. Although Alan behaved well when his mom was in the room, as soon as she left, out came the toys. Today Alan had pulled his yellow sweater right up over his head, so instead of a student looking back at me, I was staring at a yellow blob. “Uh oh Alan! Look! Only two stars!”