Short Story: The Streetcar Named Desired

It’s not a heart attack. He knows it is not. But it feels like one. Ian was now becoming accustomed to the intricate palpitations in his heart. Without a holter monitor he could only guess at what was going on, but he felt it, it was his heart. The weight in his chest felt like you feel in the middle of bench presses. That moment in the middle of a bench press when you are not sure if you can lift that barbell from just above your head. He remarked how perfect an analogy that was. Such an awkward internal feeling, had he told this to anyone they would have insisted he saw a doctor. While the idea did arise early in Ian’s dealing with this feeling, some introspection later, he found a cause and effect. This bench press feeling really only occurred when he thought about his place in the world. Essentially when he thought about the present.

Ian Mahimi was a futurist. Not in the Tony Stark sense, but more personal. He thought about his future, in place of the present, or even the past. For Ian the future was such an abstract idea, abstract enough to simply dream of. But time and again the future would show up. At 16 he dreamt of 18. At 18, 22. Each passed by that by his 25th birthday Ian had seen his old futures show up constantly. Each time a new year would come the future expected him to do something. At twenty four he realized he could not be a doctor by twenty five. Having not attended a lick of med school it was impossible. But the dream was enough.  Eventually the future became the present. For Ian the future was brighter because he couldn’t really see it. Squinting at the horizon he could choose to see much of it as he wanted. 

At 26 Ian Mahimi was a bachelor with a bachelors……..

She For the TTC:

The end of work was a feeling worth living for. I’d go as far to say euphoric even. At six in the afternoon was when I finished. My job at Staples being the most egregious of work. It was not hard or even stressful but boring, and to me that is the most outrageous of feelings. It was quite contradictory. I hated the job. It was easy for me and required nothing but a natural skill. But it was this exact ease that also made it boring. So by six my mind, having thought every thought, within my six hour shift was ready to leave. Entering the breakroom to grab my coat I noticed a mirror and my dented hair. A sort of mini afro the dent from my headphone left a groove from my left to right side. As a Black audiophile this was a common problem. The constant mentioning of it by others was irritating. It brought me to a picture of a Congolese girl in a zoo, somewhere back in the nineteenth century.

Anyways I never minded the groove. People could stare. Some may say ‘why not just wear earphones?’ Well I preferred the closed atmosphere of headphones. As a romantic audiophile it was not just important I heard the music, but that it was all I heard. Wrapping myself in the world of the song. Stevie Wonder must have an incredible ear for music without the need for sight. I bet Stevie did see. Through auditory stimulation I bet his head was as full as anyones with vision. Maybe not in images but vision nonetheless. This is what I wanted when I put on headphones. To be so taken by the music I forget all my other senses. 

There was nothing I wanted more than to be on my couch, high on a perfectly rolled joint. The fastest way to do that was the train. In twenty five to thirty five minutes it would have me in my preferred position. Expediency was never a forte of mine. As much as I dreamed of being home, and as fast as this route would be, I could not take it. To me it was important to take the road less travelled. Even with the frosty weather. ‘HA!’. My mind burst into laughter at the Robert Frost reference. A walk away from the store the streetcar took a lengthy journey from east Toronto to west Toronto. It passed by multiple neighbourhoods, many of them different in architecture, culture and development. It was a much more enjoyable journey than being underground. 

I am 28 years old. Not very old. But old enough to think about the future, obsess rather. A wife and kids seemed far away. I was by no means too old… especially as a man. But to me the idea seemed contrary to my idea of freedom. I wanted to travel and learn. PTA meetings, vows, kid stuff, they all seemed to go against that. Some rationality flew into me, of course my values would change as I aged. Naturally my mind fought this idea. I was perfect, why would I change? I can’t let time determine me.

Anyways a kid is something I still believe I want… but a wife? Women are ridiculous. So are men, but I am used to their type. But women… I had been in one serious relationship and enjoyed it. But in enjoying it I realized how ridiculous women can be. This would be a great time for examples but none came to mind, just an altogether frazzled feeling. A kid realistically was lots more work. You needed to raise this small thing into a full grown human, I mean was I even one? But I liked kids. I relate better to them than adults in all honesty. There was an authenticity to kids I respected. But I digress. Kid yes, wife no. Just yesterday a remarkably boring conversation with this blonde on tinder pushed me over. In that moment I swore off women! Not forever or even now, but I swore off my fascination with them, my need for approval from all women. It seemed dramatic then but rather mundane eighteen hours later. But eighteen hours in and I had not bothered to check any of the dating apps.. Yes, multiple.

I was resolute. It would be the first time in my life all my energy would be focused on me. The new dawn of an individual left with the conquest of the self. An epic in the likes of Walden. As my fresh eyes set on the outside of the window I got closer to my stop. My mind took notice of the buildings of Old Toronto. Pressed with tradition it offended my individualism. What was a life without stopping for family, friends or women? To just exist and decide for yourself alone. I couldn’t do as the city… leaving remnants of my old self. That would get in the way. Learn from the past but don’t idolize it. I felt like Zarathurstra, or Westbrook in that uzi commercial. It was now I could authentically do what I wanted. 

As new riders entered the car the wild of my eyes instinctively looked around. Out of habit. At the back was this girl, maybe twenty two, I don’t know. She was fine. The glasses framing her face looked off considering the shortness of her skirt and lowness of her tank top. Like a hot nerd. She may have been Chinese or Viet. Ugh now I just sound like a weeb… but still she was fine…..

It’s the TTC’s fault! They shouldn’t let a girl be so fine. It Makes me feels fam! She was too pretty for the TTC. Take an uber! Take a walk! Anywhere but from my authentic eyes! Enjoy the sun and walk, and let me walk with you. Gotta stop staring. Remember you are the self removed from others. Especially sexy others. Look at your phone. Go talk to her. Tinder has castrated me! Robbed me of my cojones to talk to women. Fuck it i’ll go. *Next stop Jarvis* Oh no my stop. Guess I can’t go… Well there is still Tinder.

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