Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997


The seven-year-old girl walked down the street in her red rain-jacket her mother had given to her last fall. It is cold and surreal upon the sidewalk that she walks upon. Her father is a drunk, and her mother passed away a week before today. Before leaving her house, her father had screamed at her for breaking a plate by accident. Walking along she feels the longing for belonging and her mother’s soft voice. She speaks to her conscience, “Why?” she asks herself, “Why did you leave me?”

As she stares at the ground while walking among Parks street, she feels a rising anger. Some- one she doesn’t know is walking up to her and she hears cheery voices to her right. She glances right, towards the young misfits celebrating on their porch about God knows what. That’s the Colin’s house for you, she thinks to herself. The tumultuous noise disrupts her train of thought and continues as she walks by the Colin’s house. The man she had noticed earlier walks past her without the slightest sign of acknowledgement.


“What am I?” the girl asks aloud to the empty air surrounding her. She feels the need for comfort. Her brother left home at a young age, and her mother left life at a young age as well. “I hope the same for me.” She states as if death could creep upon her in her final hour.

She hasn’t realized it, but she has walked two blocks, down the street. Parks street. My mother used to take me to Parks, she thought. Maybe she will again, she wonders.