The lookout was the most photographed space in the region, in front of skyscrapers that seemed lonely – their industrial buddies relocated to Toronto: As you read this, new residents are taking photographs on this spot because perspective permits the ability to understand where streets connect, and to name them, aloud, look, there’s the old port, there’s that bar we went to after the thing, taking pictures for social media accounts in order to provide evidence to friends and family that they are really in a new couple, that they really do have BFFs, or tagged in photos taken by parents with digital cameras to remind adult friends that we really are still a family, look, we are all alive at the same time, or, the runners, taking selfies in the tightest and brightest clothes possible, arriving at stone steps with the rise of the sun from the West island as rays flip off the St. Lawrence.
He stood there, with the photo, squinting at places he had been; where he wanted to forget, what had happened in front of the mural; what could happen that night, week, year, what could change.
Space provided him with the idea that, down there, nobody was waiting for him, no ex-girlfriends or police officers or bosses or stray bros or those angry old people on buses who yell out racist phrases, awareness of their impending death compelling them to say things they had previously repressed in public places. Distance provided him with a place to think about the photograph and the mural.
The key to an independent life was the ability to control your thoughts and actions for your own benefit. It was nice to consider yourself a real-peer-support-helping-all-human-kind-type, the look-at-me-as-I-take-care-of-my-drunk-friend type, desperate for approval, but, in the end, even these civilized helpers had to ensure that some of their actions and thoughts acted selfishly, or else their headphones lead to an empty pocket. He hadn’t controlled his thoughts – he said what he believed, in the wrong space, in the alley. You were only supposed to tell people what you believed after a certain time of night.
Falling apart, he was telling people how he really felt and forgetting to wait the correct amount of minutes in his response to texts, or the amount of small talks with new people to wait before talking about anything more than stories about things you had seen or things done with people.
He was up there with the photograph, trying to find something, how the view had changed, or in the expression on the faces, in the past, for a revelation that would give him solace.
word by Liam Lachance
colour by Li-Hill