LETTER FORTY-FOUR

DEAR FRIEND,

Almost exactly a year ago I wrote you about the view from a Starbucks window in spring. This is my follow-up to that letter. A year later.

I’m trying to remember what we talked about… croissants and buttered-noodles? Does that sound familiar? It was something like that… I remember you had eaten something gross, but the specific details of what that gross-thing was is escaping me at the moment.

Anyway, here is my now: I’m sat at a round marble-top café table sipping a small cup of very burnt coffee. Black t-shirt, black jeans—almost the exact same as how I was dressed a year ago, that much hasn’t changed—but my hair is shorter

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LETTER FORTY-TWO

Henry,

From where I stand, everything holding us together is bursting at the seams: our health, our homes, our jobs, and all the other threads that keep disorder and chaos at bay are fraying under the strain of constant crisis. We know this bursting-at-the-seams isn't a new, but now we can't ignore it.

North of the border, we're sheltered from the worst excess of the new regime. Not that the imaginary line separating Canada from the US––while instrumental in harassing travellers such as yourself––does much to halt the flow of ideas. But at least we can use it to barricade against the flow of paranoiac legislation from an infantile tyrant hated by the people (fine, I'll qualify: the majority of people). We better hold it back, but it won't be easy. As Robert Plant sez,

"If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break, / When the levee breaks, I'll have no place to stay."

Baby, stay firm. All of our homes are in jeopardy now. I'm not just talking about the places we sleep. I'm talking about our schools, and hospitals, places of worship and grocery stores: all of these spaces will be contested. The people we're up against––they want everything. There is no place too small and vulnerable for them to consider. And in the case of the online front, the smaller and more vulnerable the target, the better. In Toronto we've lost two DIY spaces in the last month due to a spontaneous 4chan campaign, which as far as I know is still ongoing.

And these are just the losses from deliberate attacks. Other places and people are simply being priced out of the market. Macro-level economics has been the most damaging weapon at the disposal of Western governments for decades, for one because it's so boring people can't be bothered to pay attention. Beltway paper pushers do not inspire strong emotional reactions.

And that might be the best thing the Left has going for it right now. Trump might be tasteless, but he's not boring. People can't help but pay attention. And they don't like what they see.

Yours always,

Sal

LETTER FORTY-ONE

Good morning friend,

I’m sorry I don’t write sooner, but in all the post-Christmas, post-New Years frenzy that accompanied my departure from Canada and return to New York—and then the new frenzy of resuming school—well, I just haven’t had the time.

To catch you up: my trip back to America was... less than ideal. For the first time I was detained at Customs and Immigration and then taken away to a remarkably unremarkable room, with walls the exact colour of the walls in every unremarkable municipal office building; a sort of frothy eggyolk colour mixed with old beige. I was released, eventually. It seemed that there was something wrong with one of the signatures on my visa. I am frightened to leave America again. Once freed, (and I don’t know if it only seemed this way because I was a little on edge or what), but every single person I interacted with seemed to have a problem with me. A security guard started lipping off to me about the problem with kids these days. I had to remind myself that the airport is no place to get into fights, and so I stayed quiet. It wasn’t my best trip, but I am glad to be home.

There’s been a great deal that’s been happening lately, most important being my renewed commitment to finishing my Great American Novel—due Aug 1 of this year (or I do not graduate). But all that can wait for now, because it’s just after five in the morning and I’m tired and I don’t really feel like writing about the boring details of my life. Instead, what I will say is that this morning I find myself at Port Authority Bus Terminal...

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LETTER FORTY

It’s Christmas morning—Happy Christmas! Joyeux Noël

I’ve just woken up a few minutes ago. I haven’t even finished my first cup of coffee yet, and I was just about to read the paper when I saw your letter. I have only a few minutes before my family wakes up and the bustle of Christmas merriment begins, so this will be a short one.

Right now my house is quiet. The only sounds I can hear are the noises of the few brown winter sparrows outside and the hum of the old electric Christmas tree lights. I love mornings, even if they do always seem to slip away. I’ve got on a pair of heavy wool socks and a sweater and I look properly bundled up—settled in for a cold winter’s morn. There’s frost on the windows, and the sky is gray, so with a little luck we might get some more snow later on. And look at these presents! I told my grandmother that I wanted no gifts, but my Grammy will be damned before she ever listens to a word I say. It’s funny to remember years back: me waking up at the crack of dawn to creep down stairs and see if Santa had come. Christmas is never the same was when you’re a kid, is it? I am excited, but for years now it’s been a smaller, quieter excitement. Do you find that?

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Letter Thirty-Nine

Dear Henry

I bet you've already pulled into the landing strip. I bet you're already at home, enjoying all the comforts Toronto has to offer in early winter. Well, it'll nice to see you while you're in town. I thought I'd send you one more letter before the holidays proper kick off.

You know you've lived somewhere for too long when you start recognizing people and names in the paper. Yesterday I saw the headline, "preppy punk", in my newsfeed. Officially dubbed the "lunchtime bandit", he's an early twenties bandit who robbed several banks in the Davisville to Lawrence stretch of Yonge St, all around noon hour. The spree lasted between Nov. 21 and Dec. 17. According to the inspector in charge of the case, his notes are grammatically well crafted.  He may not have a gun, but in the notes he passes to the tellers, he informs them that he's "armed", which is reason enough for them to pass him the cash, without making much of a fuss or a hullaballoo.

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