Better than the title. About a dismal neighbourhood I grew up in.
|The Bundle Buggy
The brilliant sun beat down on me as I sighed and continued down the grey sidewalk, each step a burden to take. I was now thankful for the broad rimmed sunglasses I’d thrown on before heading outdoors. My red polka-dotted bundle buggy swung behind me, heavy from the heap of newspapers tossed inside it. I stopped in front of the twentieth house today, newspaper in hand, and began my way up the short, stumpy porch stairs every modest bungalow in the area had. I skipped every other step, avoiding the various cracks and divots in the concrete.
With a quick glance in the front window I saw two eyes staring back at me, belonging to an elderly woman holding a stern expression. As soon as I set my eyes on her she stood up disappeared. As I approached the front door it slowly opened, revealing the curmudgeon herself, a five-foot tall, white haired Ms. Carey.
“Hello Ms. Carey,” I said plainly. She snatched the newspaper out of my outstretched hand. Despite her age, her face resembled that of a teenager with passionate angst.
“Can you… please take down the garbage bin for garbage day tomorrow,” she asked me, saying “please” like it was a burden she must bare for the greater good. “My daughter’s out of town for the weekend,” she scowled. I raised an eyebrow, but before I could decline I noticed her lanky limbs and bent back. I sighed.
“Alright Ms. Carey,” I said, spotting the garbage bin down below the porch on ground level. The bin was fairly light, and as I dragged it down her driveway I realized it reeked. For a moment I wondered whether her cat had finally crooked before shaking the nauseating thought away. As I turned back to my bundle-buggy, I heard Ms. Carey’s voice call me back. Back up the porch.
“Yes Ms. Carey?” I asked. The woman stuck out a tight fist towards me. I stared at it a second. She snapped “Well take it, will you?” As I outstretched my hand, several coins sprinkle on to my palm. A tip? I wondered in disbelief.
“Oh, thank you,” I said, surprised. With that she shut the door quickly, retreating to her seat near the window to watch the pedestrians stroll by for possibly rest of the day. I peered at the change she had given me, and seeing it was only three quarters, two nickels and a dime made me smile.
After stuffing the loose change in my jean pocket, I continued down the residential street. For a fall day in Toronto, it was hot and humid. Multi-colored leaves covered the ground making crunching noises with each step I took and sticking to the bottom of my bungle-buggy, making a constant scraping sound as I pressed on. The air was muggy and smelled of sizzling bug guts. The street was lined with brown brick bungalows and dull green grass. Wilting purple flowers lined each garden and leaning wooden fences separated each house from the other.
House cats and dogs were generally the only wildlife that ever passed through our street, and they always seemed hostile and underfed. There used to be a nice tabby cat that lived on the other side of the street up on the corner that I used to play with when it came to our door. That was before it got eaten by a coyote.
Soon I was at the next house on my paper route. This particular house used to belong to a childhood acquaintance of mine, before they moved and sold it to Mr. and Ms. Moody. One time, the girl that used to live there tied up one of my friends in the garage and made her eat a doggy biscuit. She cried for half an hour back at her house before her mother finally gave in and bought her a case of donuts. Safe to say, I wasn’t unhappy or disappointed when they moved.