Toronto, late 1990s
The first time it happened, I didn’t open the store on time. I found myself standing on the sidewalk outside the locked door at noon, the Queen streetcar going by behind me in a baritone of metal complaints. It was two hours after I was supposed to have opened and I had no memory of anything after going to bed the night before. The brown canvas shoes I had on were pinching my toes. I’d never seen the shoes before in my life and it seemed obvious that I was dreaming. If I was dreaming, my mother would be there like she always had been. But when I let myself in, there was no one.
Then my father was running down the stairs from our apartment on the second floor and I knew I was awake.
“Where have you been?” he said.
“I don’t know.”
“What? Where have you been?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t know.”
His mouth opened and I knew he was going to ask me again.