Stationary cities

June 17

Hera’s sitting across from me on a single bed, papers strewn beside her, a pen in her hand, nibbling her finger. The door to the room is open, and the curtains are tied together with a hairband, the fan is a whirling blur and for a minute, I feel like I’m back in the dorms. The pictures on her wall don’t help – memories from a little more than three years ago, like the pensieves from Harry Potter (, drawing me in, walking me into the central courtyard, reminding me of the Three-Leaf Thai Chicken, pressing down on my heart like a shoe crushing an ant, or how a child might press his palm to a hole in his beach ball.

We spent half of last night watching old videos, and looking at the hundreds of photographs we snapped in the four years at LUMS. It was hilarious and mildly heart breaking – I guess watching it together made is bearable. Also the fact that we didn’t look the way we looked in freshman year anymore. Ew. Seriously, those pictures have to be seen with my finger on the next arrow!

Kitchener is a sweet city, kind of a bigger town almost. We walk around Uptown almost every day, and at night it feels like we are on a set of a movie, long after the actors and cameras are gone. There are still some lights and everything looks really clean and smooth. There are really few people who smoke here, a lot of old people (and consequently a retirement home, conveniently adjacent to a funeral parlor). And apparently bus drivers here are in the highest paid job category! There are also no cigarette displays – as in you will not see grocery shops and convenience stores showcasing cigarettes. Good stuff, Canada.

Kitchener really stands out, compared to the seedy, rundown Windsor, with its gum-splattered sidewalks and lost looking people asking for a few cents, to Toronto’s confused hustle-bustle that makes your neck hurt from craning it to look at the tall buildings, and to Montreal’s European beauty. The little city feels like somebody pressed a pause button and slipped into it. It was a rather nice break but of course, people from Karachi can’t take the pale sleepy content of a stationary city for long. 


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