Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fragment 19: Number Ten

Like sheep, pressed together, the bodies of strangers up close, the trip down Spadina's dedicated lane.

Off at Dundas.

Stumbling forth, too many times drunk. Late nights, past fruit stands, vegetable displays, Vietnamese subs at a dollar a pop.

Cold Januaries, Februaries, 20 below,hustling in for our fix. Always a Number Ten times two.

Mere minutes later big steaming hot bowls of Shrimp Dumpling Noodle Soup.

Sometimes our own table. Sometimes communal round tables, packed with focused eaters even at 2 am. Horrid fluorescent lights blazing bright. Tacky, afterthought decor.

At some point the 134 would appear. The Chinese greens with a side of dense, salty oyster sauce.

You insisted.

I acquiesced.

Why do you have to perpetually inflict this on me, I would ask...

Took Paula there the other day.

Place had not changed at all. Even the waiters were the same.

I am older now. Much to be fair. Earlier to arrive. No longer an antidote to clubbing, now a dinner.

Two Number Tens.

A sizzling beef hot plate.

Seafood Lo Mien.

As the waiter was about to leave I reached out.

And a Number 134 please.

You would have been so proud.

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