The Weight of Stones

The Weight of Stones by C.B. Forrest Read Free Book Online

Book: The Weight of Stones by C.B. Forrest Read Free Book Online
Authors: C.B. Forrest
Tags: FIC000000, FIC022000
    On mornings like this, he could not sit at his desk without his knee pumping in agitation, his fingers drumming a meandering and aimless beat, a million thoughts running through his head. Figuring things, remembering things. He would stand up and sit down, walk to the coffee machine a dozen times, visit the men’s room and stare at his face in the row of long mirrors, anxious as a small boy waiting for something. Like a swimmer at the bottom of a pool, he could see the shimmering green-yellow lights of the surface dancing just beyond his reach, a whole universe taking place above that cloudy, formless horizon. Each morning he pointed his arms skyward, pushed off with both feet, and jettisoned himself toward the surface, his lungs aching for oxygen, fingers anticipating the first freshness of open air...
    The falling flakes were hypnotic. He drove through the business heart of the city, blocks of chrome and glass, stone and concrete, University and Bay, then on down past the iconic train station with its weathered pillars and arches, the first view of the city offered to freshly landed European immigrants. This, too, had been McKelvey’s first view of life in a metropolis, a smooth-faced kid stepping from the northern train with a duffel over his shoulder and a pocketful of hope. Now the immigrant taxi drivers lined up outside the station as well-dressed men and women flowed in and out of the brass-plated doors on their way to and from commuter trains hauling them in from ’burbs that were spreading like dark wine across a tablecloth, east and west, north and south.
    Across from Union Station, the old Royal York Hotel appeared frozen in time, monolithic matriarch of hospitality from a forgotten era of crisp white table cloths, heavy silverware, and doormen dressed in rich burgundy coats and hats. McKelvey moved eastward, down side streets he hadn’t been on in years, not since his days in a radio car. Back then he had known every street in his division, every corner where someone might hide. Those long ago days when he never seemed to question his physical ability to wrestle another man’s hands into a set a cuffs, to put him to the ground like a dog, knee in his back. Was this a brand of unquestioning confidence unique to police officers, or was it simply youthful ignorance or arrogance? He couldn’t say. And while he still believed he could handle himself, there were no illusions of infinite strength. He felt the energy of his life force waning.
    The radio in the car thrummed and snapped with activity, but after a while McKelvey tuned it out. He noticed the subtle and not-so-subtle changes to the geography, the transformation of old apartment blocks into trendy loft condos. When you lived and worked in the city, as McKelvey had since the age of eighteen, you eventually stopped noticing any changes until they were entirely completed. Massive structures simply appeared as though set there overnight by a child building a train set village. Urban change was overwhelming in its velocity; there was simply too much of it to absorb. There was something going on around you all the time, a minute by minute transformation of the city, renovations, new glass, paint, scaffolds rising and falling like rusted skeletons, jackhammers and trucks backing up, apartment buildings blooming like strange orchids among the grasslands of the war-time bungalows and row houses. McKelvey remembered the old days of the warehouses along the train tracks, the low thick buildings that resembled concentration camps, the smashed distillery house windows staring like black empty eyes, the vacant lots where poor kids played stick ball long before there were million-dollar condos. Today wealthy young executives ate salmon steaks overlooking the train yards and back alleys where the original urban immigrants lived in shacks insulated with newspapers. Evolution.
    He wound his way northward, meandering through the old neighborhoods

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