We ate and drank and drove on and I went off the road, and so we discussed the situation and decided it would be a good idea to pull off the road



Published 6:30, March 29, 2024

Illustrations of glasses, matches, a car, fountain pen, amulet, leaves, coins, flowers, fountains and a large house surround a black-and-white photo of a Sri Lankan family snipped by bird-shaped scissors.

Before Sri Lanka was Sri Lanka, I left Ceylon. And in this way, this way only, I am my mother’s son: I will never go return.

I was home from university, Peradeniya campus, first team cricketer, after final year final exams, before results, when I saw the advertisement in the Daily. St. Stephen’s College, Colombo. A vacancy. Sciences. Did I want to teach? No. But did I want to go into the army, even as vice-captain and third batsman of the first team, as had been promised by one of those dozens of red-eyed men who waited for me after my matches? So I applied to St. Stephen’s.

At the interview, Father-Rector—black hair, black surplice, gold cross, gold teeth—told me I would be the first Pragna Boys’ College graduate ever hired to the faculty of its Catholic rival. I nodded. Then he asked if this meant I would also be the only Buddhist teacher at St. Stephen’s.

I said, No, Father-Rector. My mother was Catholic.

And your father?

I’m Catholic.

Prove, he said.

We were from Little Rome, my mother and my Wo and me.

Our house was beside Fernando Motors. On the Chilaw–Colombo Main Road. Now a parking lot for the Motors, Father-Rector. There’s no address, I said.

Baptism certificate?

Don’t have.

Why not?

Can’t say, Father-Rector.

Can’t say or won’t say?

Oh my Wo.

Won’t say, Father-Rector.


Then? Letter from the priest?

No, Father-Rector.

Then? Do you expect me to hire you on University of Ceylon Peradeniya honours chemistry after you scored seventy-eight, not out, your final Pragna Boys’ College match against our side? Just because I remember your sixes and fours from four years ago? Do you really think that should make me hire you, when I have all these young men with baptism certificates and letters even from Monsignors and Old Boys applying for this very same position?

Seventy-eight, not out. And he remembered my sixes and fours.

I stood up.

The interview’s not over, he said.

I know, Father-Rector. Here.

I gave him the miraculous medal from my wallet. He rubbed it, he smelled it, he put it to the side of his desk.

He said, No. You could have just taken that off Marvin the beggar at the school gate. Show me the wallet.

Same thing. Sniffed and rubbed the bottom right. Where St. Jude had been pressed in. Held it very close to his good eye. Placed it on the table with a snap.

So you have been carrying a miraculous medal for a long time. Very good. But in this country, all sorts carry all sorts of holy sweets. Liquorice bag gods, no? But never mind. What colour is Our Lady of Madhu’s veil?

I said, We would go to the jungle church every July.


My Wo and me.

Your Wo?

Grandmother, Father-Rector.

Ah. Right. Portuguese Negombo grannies are called Wo, no?

That’s correct, Father-Rector.

I’m glad you consider me correct.

Not like that, Father-Rector.

Fine. And? What colour is Our Lady of Madhu’s veil?

What veil, Father-Rector? Our Lady wears the crown.

Congratulations, he said.

And so, in my early twenties, I began teaching at St. Stephen’s College, Galle Road, and stayed with relations in the city. After classes, I would get down from the bus on the main road and check for spectacles-testicles-keys-wallet, thank God nothing had been taken on the bus, and then I would go to the lane to the relations’ house.

And that day there was all this noise coming from the front room of the front house on our lane. My friend lived there with his brothers and one of the parents. He had a name like a horse calling to its friends. A name like he was always in pain. I don’t remember.

I am old now and live in a glass coffin that my successful daughter-in-lawyer, Maiden Name, and her husband, my only son, call a hot-market-condo-find. They visit me weekly, to bring my prescriptions and the latest rankings of Toronto’s top geriatrics. Go to the geriatric? Go to hell. They took my radio. They say they are going to fix it. I will never see my radio again.

My friend, the horse in pain—I think I only ever knew the mother. Father was either on station, or outstation, or dead. Dead. The father was in the forces. Had been. Ceylon Engineers (Volunteer). Not an engineer, the father. Dug the latrine trenches for the Churchill Englishmen at Kandy during the war. He went to war is hell and dug the toilets. There must have been a war pension, anyway. Otherwise? How could the fourth son of a dead ditch digger undertaker own an Underwood? Banging and banging that typewriter like the keys, the strokes, were digging to America. But he wasn’t typing to America. Not even England. Avoid Australia. We all knew that. Prison island. Centuries of prisoners putting everyone else in prison now. Canada. He was applying to Canada. Not even Canada. The Dominion Of.

Right. This is how I came to leave Ceylon and come to Canada.

My friend in the first house on the lane. I remember! His name was Vincent, Vinnie! He told me he was applying to go to a place called Canada. He asked me if I wanted to apply too. I checked my bag. I didn’t have any labs to grade before dinner, and my Wo was gone, and my mother long gone, so why not? He put in a clean paper and began my application.

He said, Do you have a degree?

I said, Yes.


I said, No.

Scratching return.

Three taps. Two bangs.

I said, Yes.

Vinnie slapped the table.

He said, What men? Bloody choose, will you? Correction ribbon isn’t free!

I said, Where do you send this application?

He checked the papers.


Then yes.

If he said Bombay, then no. Never. Like every true Sri Lankan still, I would have rotten in Ceylon before I took any helping hand from India. India: land that holds rowing regattas with dead dogs floating in the river and Tamil Nadu fast bowlers who knock out forty-eight-not-out Peradeniyans. For five days one Michaelmas, when still in university, I slept in an Indian hospital, in a coma from a cricket ball to the left temple.

My mother never visited.

My Wo would have crossed the Ramayana bridge to see me. But no one came to see me.

Five days, then I woke up and came home from India without my blades—shaving or cricket. I was bloody wealthy. Back on campus, when he checked my bag, the head of games shook his head. He knew. He said, Did you go all the way to India to make a little money by selling kit?

No. That’s not why I went all the way to India, Head of Games.

I went to find a dancer in a good dress in the viewing stands. My mother, who left me with my Wo, in the little house beside her brother’s operations. Fernando Motors. That little house now a parking lot for Fernando Motors. After she went with a long tall glass of Bombay man, who came to the village to buy a car from my uncle and asked to take a test drive first, but only if he could do it with a beautiful woman. And so my uncle, biting his lip and squeezing his koosfrank through his trousers, finally called over the parapet wall for my mother to wash and put on a good dress and come and drive with Bombay Sir to the lagoon and back. Who didn’t answer because she was already in the vehicle, laughing, going down the lane.

She never came back.

Wo watched me until I became a Pragna Boys’ College boarder. We stayed in the house on the patch of land my uncle wanted as his parking lot payment for his stolen Morris Minor. But Wo had divided the plot already, and her son had made a car dealership out of the front lot, and her daughter had made nothing out of the back lot, but it was hers, who never returned, and so Wo had new papers made and sold it to my uncle for my tuition and room and board.

And so, chemistry and cricket star at Pragna, which got me to Peradeniya, and then I went to India, to the All-Asia University Games, but I didn’t see her when I volunteered to be emergency coxswain for our rowers in a river of dead dogs, or when I six’d and four’d the bowling of bursary sons of mother tea pluckers from the University of Madras. I kept looking, was looking for her, when a fast bowler bounced his ball high and smacked me in the head.

Five days in the hospital. And she didn’t come to see me. I didn’t see her. As if I could have even recognized her twelve-plus years later. But if she saw me? She’d know. And I’d know. I’d find her, I’d be found by her. In India. The place a man came from to the village, to steal a used Morris Minor from my uncle and then to woo my mother, and then there was me and Wo, who kept me and fed me and sent me on my way to the top Buddhist boys’ college and OxfordCambridge national university.

And so I said, By the time the application gets all the way to Pakistan, Vinnie, I’ll have my degree here.

Return. Bang-bang-bang.

I was called for my interview. Vincent was not successfully called. Sorry to say, but what kind of country wants the fourth children of dead latrine men to come over and settle? Poor bugger had to wait decades and decades and decades until one of his own children became a licensed osteopath in the state of Oklahoma and sponsored him.

Canadian High Commission. Kollupitiya or Bambalapitiya?

Now that I am an old man living in a Toronto casket with lake views, I could google, but it doesn’t matter which junction. And all I’d see are petrol lineups and palaces full of village boys making fried snacks. And either way, I had to take the bus from Galle Road to reach the CHC.

By 10 a.m. on a Wednesday in May. My second Wednesday at St. Stephen’s! I wore my funeral suit to school that day. Father-Rector called me to his office. He asked me who died.

Can’t say, I said.

Can’t say or won’t say? he said.

Won’t say, I said.

Ask Mr. Pereira to take your classes and go and come.

Thank you, Father-Rector.

Aren’t you forgetting something? Second week here?

Even a priest is asking for money? I thought.

But a Sri Lankan priest sitting behind a desk is still a Sri Lankan sitting behind a desk. And the job was worth it. Saved my life, my liver, my bowling arm, from the Ceylon Army. So I took out my wallet and began to count rupees.

Father-Rector shook his head.

I took out a pound note.

He shook his head.

He wanted American money? Was this vow of poverty a wow of poverty? Was he truly wanting to become a dollar millionaire?

But he reached across the desk, to the side, and tapped. St. Jude. My medal. Still there, where he’d put it during my interview. I took it back and took the bus to the funeral, the Canadian High Commission. Even the front-gate guard was white. Inside, high yellow ceilings, brown and beige fans beating down like brahminy kites. And secretaries up front, rows of them. Not some plait of convent graduates. Canadian girls. Hair the colour of wedding biscuits. Skin like hotel plate. Spectacles-testicles. Typing documents, opening documents, closing documents, filing documents. Dipping fingers in pots and sealing documents. Standing and walking and talking. Wine glasses of cream, beakers of milk. Keys-wallet.

Where do so many such girls go at night, in Colombo, and none of us ever knew? What Colombo was that Colombo? Whose? How did we never see them at the matinees? Did they have their own movie palaces?

My name was called, and I walked into the longest room with the longest table I have ever seen. At the far end, a man. Too far away for a face. Just a voice and papers and a squadron of brahminy kites. Would one of them come in and offer a plate of biscuits?

He told me to sit at the opposite end. He asked about my plans. I told him I had my plans.

Work or further studies?

What would Canada need more, sir?


Then both, I said.

He said a photostat of my degree would be required.

I told him, I don’t have it yet, sir.

But you have represented yourself as already having it in hand, on your application. Honours bachelor of science in chemistry, University of Ceylon Peradeniya.

Professor told me I passed my exams, sir.

Can you show me where this information appears on the application?

No, sir.

And why not?

Because my friend Vincent was the one who—

Your friend Vincent? Your friend Vincent was the one who what?

Application denied. Back-door guard, brown guard, escorted me out. Round and oily. Like a whole fried egg.

Machang, where do they go at night? At least can you tell me that?

The high commissioner has a swimming pool in the residence. All of them are invited every Saturday, he said.

Where? Address?

Aren’t you forgetting something? he said, palm out, waiting for me to take my wallet out.

Now that was a poor man on his way to dollar millionaire.

But I never even went looking for the secretary pool party. I gave the address to Vinnie. At least he could climb the tree beside the parapet wall and see what Canada did for fun on Saturdays. And instead, when the graduation results were published in the Daily, I bought an extra copy and put a red square around the honours science list and dictated to Vinnie a short note to the CHC—Herewith enclosed, Canada Sir, you will find the information you requested for my application—and Vinnie sent it to Rawalpindi, and then some weeks later, I informed Father-Rector (and others) that I had been informed by the Dominion of Canada that I was expected before September.

Father-Rector asked that I complete the term and I agreed, and then—the tone was different, even off—he asked that I come see him again in a week.

I went. He was in his office with another man. Crocodile leather shoes. But I wasn’t in trouble. And I was going to Canada. So I looked up from his shoes.

Do you know this gentleman? Father-Rector asked me. He is first past president of the Stephenite OBA and one of our most accomplished Old Boys and benefactors.

Father-Rector, I do. Mahetteya’s newspaper published my graduation results, I said.

Which one? said the man, looking out Father-Rector’s window at rugger practice.

Honours chemistry, University of Ceylon.

The man and Father-Rector laughed. They lit new cigarettes. I was not offered.

He means, son, which one of his newspapers?

Their idea was this: I would go to Canada and be wired the sum to purchase three Chrysler Newports. I would arrange their export to Ceylon. I would return to Ceylon with the vehicles. One Newport would go to the Newspaper Mahetteya, and another would be sold to the highest bidder at the annual Feast of the Chair of Saint Stephen’s Old Boys Association Night to Remember, all proceeds going to the school.

And the third?

For your contributions, said the Old Boys.

Sorry, Mahetteya?

For going there and back and bringing home the vehicles, the third Newport will be yours, said Father-Rector.

What a perfect, perfect straight line!

And just think that I could have, where I could have, driven a Chrysler! Not just to the high commissioner’s house to pick up Canadian milk. Not just to Galle Face Green to fly a kite with my someday milky children. I could have driven my Newport to Little Rome, to Fernando Motors. And I would have revved until every shop and house and church and temple came to the main road, and revved until all the crabs and snakes and birds left the lagoon, and revved until every windshield of every dented car parked where Wo and I slept was cracked. I would go to the lane where I once lived, the lane where my mother once lived, and I would take that Newport and go and come and leave everything behind me broken.

But it was already broken, long before.

I do not remember the shopkeeper’s name. He had a rich man’s belly. Piles and piles of black hair, Brylcreem, layer cake, ventral pleat, throat groove. Fat man. Whale. Dick. Proprietor of a small place down the lane.

You think, after the Indians came, and the Romans and the Chinese sailors, and then the Portuguese, the French, the Dutch, the British, the new Chinese, Weather Channel, Google, IMF, UN, Facebook Live, you think even the garden path behind the thatch house didn’t have a name?

Of course it had a name. I don’t remember it. Not because I am old. But because if I remember it, I would go there right now and walk from where Wo and me had to sleep under the bed the nights my uncle hired village boys to throw thunder and hail on the thatch roof, through the thatch, on the bed, to make us leave the house. I would walk past Fernando Motors and the rest of the village, past the Palu Tree of Evil and past Evil the Fernando White House itself, past St. Anthony’s, past the Hindu Temple, past the Buddhist Temple, past government school, church school, seamstress school, seamstress shop, brother’s knife stall, past Mary shrine, Buddha shrine, Hindu shrine, past the armadas of Muslim brides, past, past, past, all the way to the man’s shop. It was there, after my mother left and we had nothing, only the little house. It was there that Wo went for our rice and salt at night.

When did she come back? When I woke and she wasn’t there, I pretended to sleep until I could wake and she was. When was she going to come back?

I don’t need any Newport. I would walk all that way with the gasoline pump, like a Sergio Leone movie, and not waste a drop until I found that dirty, that hairy, that whale of a shopkeeper, and knock him down and hold him there and fill him up and go make my first cigarette in thirty hundred million years, and smash a Rothmans down his ass until he breathes fire.

My back-door saint, Wo called him. When she would come back with rice and salt for us. A grandmother before she was forty. Still, still beautiful. With a son who wanted her gone, a daughter already gone, and me to keep and feed.

Oh my Wo.

Who lived and died in her son’s parking lot while I six’d and four’d my way to glory.

And so I left Ceylon and came to Canada.

The only brown man in town.

Can you imagine? In my twenties, newly arrived, never answering an aerogram, never sending Father-Rector and Newspaper Mahetteya the requested information for the wire transfer for the three Newports. Because not even a centipede had as many hands for the girls of Canada as I did. Without ever having to dance.

Except one. Donna.

Who was Donna? Wrong question. What was Donna? She was a gym teacher.

My first year at Msgr. Finnerty, 1969, was her first year too. Neither of us was from the town. And we weren’t married. At the Christmas party at the vice-principal’s ranch style on the country road, where the third Friday in December three years later a Datsun of nuns reversed out of the driveway and died instantly in squalls and an oncoming plough, the older teachers ate bridge mix and took bets about the new young teachers.

How long until I proposed to her? Would she say I do?

But the nuns fired Donna. No lawsuits back then. No explanations asked, for or against. They just fired her.

Donna, coaching girls’ rugger. Half the school watching. Scrum drill in the rain.

It looks like she’s pulling out a calf, said Braun Race.

She was fired.

She asked if I would help her with her things, help her go home. Her parents lived in Sault Ste. Marie. Little did I know how far the drive, or why me. At first, I thought obviously it was the car. My Caprice could fit both sides of a rugger match in the back seat.

It wasn’t the car. But also, never mind the Christmas party jokes, she didn’t want me to propose, actually.

She wanted this: she wanted me to ask her father for permission to marry her first. Only to ask him for permission. That would be enough.

Enough for what?

Just, can you? she asked me, who grew up watching a good woman not helped by any man, except for the body price he charged at the back door of his shop for a little rice and salt.

And so we drove to Sault Ste. Marie. For many, many hours we went north. We passed fields and farms, rocks and forest. Corn, red barns, dead barns, hitchhikers. Every now and then, a tiny town, a deer, a bear, a baby bear.

We stopped for lunch in Espanola. A tavern right off the highway. Men’s entrance and ladies’ door. The river behind the place. Bait shop. Gas pumps on the dock. Old men in suspenders and undershirts, paring apples with bait knives.

This is the first world? I thought.

Illustrations of a stubbie of beer, station wagon, football, cigarettes, engagement ring, whistle, suitcases and flowers surround two separate photographs of a white woman and a Sri Lankan man

We met at the bar. Donna waited. I ordered for both of us. No drinks were offered. Had the bartender not heard me? Donna ordered for both of us. The bartender didn’t hear her either? Because the man should order. Which is why I had ordered. But was a brown man a man in Espanola, Ontario?

Everyone was staring. A mountain man in muddy boots approached. Beer and cigarette and darts and friends.

He said to Donna, Does he speak English?

She said to him, Why are you asking me? Ask him!

Do you speak English?

I do.

How many words do you know?

How many words do YOU know?

The mountain man put his bottle down on the bar, sticky bar, just beside me. If I flinched, I’d knock it over. He put down his darts, just there, if I tried to reach for them. He finished his cigarette. Crushed it under the toe. Cracked his knuckles.

Just how many words do you think I know, bud?

I hope you know at least four, I said. Buy me a beer.

The whole place cheered.

We ate and drank and drove on and I went off the road, and so we discussed the situation and decided it would be a good idea to pull off the road. Donna read an Agatha Christie while I slept off the boilermakers they bought me and my girl. Donna, what a good woman, Espanola drinking buddy, alewife, had grapes in the back seat of my Caprice, packed in a plastic bag of ice, not crushed by all of her things.

Back on the road, sour crunchy grapes, she told me why me. Not my part in going home with her—why me, why it had to be me. Ceylon fathers wanted me for their daughters because I came from Canada. Sault St. Marie fathers didn’t want me for their daughters because I didn’t come from Canada. I didn’t want any of them. And Donna didn’t want me, obviously. Of course, I already knew the other thing. Everybody knew. Not even the long hair and nail polish could hide it. Her. The nuns even knew, but in those days, there was no discussion and no need to do anything until, in front of everyone, she went and put her hands in that rainy ladies’ varsity scrum.

And so we practised.

Her parents lived in a small house to one side of a long driveway. The mailbox was at the top of the driveway. Dogs began barking and ran through the tall grass and up to the car as we pulled in. They had a big garage on the other side of the driveway. As wide as the house. All the doors were open. There was a white truck on cement blocks in there. Beside the truck, near the far wall, was an old man, at a bench, with a light. He was doing something with tools. Tapping and wrenching. His back was turned to us. It was a big back. Red and black checkers. He was smoking. There was a radio. Talking, not music. A serious man. I think he had a fridge in there. Probably full of beer. German sausage. A clean paring knife.

There was a moment when I didn’t want to tell them the lie we had practised on the drive from Espanola to the Sault. Because if Donna’s plan failed—and it could have, it so easily could have, never mind what the Christmas party said, I’m just remembering how many marriage proposals I used to get a minute in Ceylon—then that life could have been mine. She was an only child. We would get the house, the land, the garage. The radio. The field and trees behind the house where I could burn garbage like a free man and host the hunting and gaming society of Espanola for annual reunions. Me and the boys and our beer. I could be in that three-car garage right now, listening to the radio.

In the Caprice, she told me she was an only child. That she wasn’t born this way. By which she meant the parents had also had two sons. Much older than she was when she was born. Dead when Donna was just a little girl. Soldiers. Korea. Her father didn’t fight in World War II, and not because they had migrated from Germany following the first. But probably the neighbours had ideas. He thought so. Her brothers were the first to sign up in town.

In the car, on the way, Donna remembered the only time her father cried was at the kitchen table, all the food the neighbours brought to them after each of her brothers’ funerals. She ate crème horns until she got sick. Her mother had to wash her dress.

For how long was my mother still alive but somewhere in India? If even India? Treated by her brother Fernando the car dealer as dead and owing debt. He always wanted the house, to make it a parking lot. He probably paid some Bombay-pretending Colombo bugger to come and take my mother away for the price of a used Morris. Maybe I should watch CNN. Maybe she never left. Maybe—maybe? Forget gods and sweets; sharks are families are sharks in this country—it was her idea. She found the bugger in one of her dance parlours and told her brother she’d trade him her land for a fast ride out of the village where she was known for having a son whose father was never known because there were just too many potentials, which is also why no village man ever looked at me except the grinning, belly-patting shopkeeper, and so she went and lived as she wanted in Colombo, and now in the riots in the president’s house, she’s a done-up granny in a wheelchair being lowered into the presidential jacuzzi, dancing for iPhone, live on CNN.

Donna’s father turned around at the sound of the car and the dogs, and he waved at her. He looked at me. I waved at him. He turned his back to us and went back into the garage.

Eventually he came inside the house. No one said anything for a long time. They gave me tea. We were sitting in the living room. It had green carpet and a little TV with a bubble screen and bug antenna. Looked like a little helicopter. Johnny Mandel. Suicide Is Painless. It brings on many changes. Their walls were full of sons.

Papa, Mama, said Donna.

No, said Papa.

Donna, said Mama.

Can he even ask Papa’s permission?

Does he even speak English?

Ask him yourself.

Don’t talk to your father that way! Hello, young man, do you speak English?

I do.


I said no, said Papa.

Papa, if you won’t let us marry, I can’t stay at that school. The nuns say so, Papa. He teaches there, and I won’t make him leave. I will have to quit.

Will you come home? said Mama.

They’re building a new school in town, said Papa.

No. I will move to Toronto and find a job there.

The city will cook you and eat you, said Papa.

Leise! Where will you live, Donna? You may not live with him! And it’s not only because. Donna, you are not to live with any man who is not your husband, said Mama.

And he cannot be your husband, said Papa.

I understand, said Donna.

And you cannot live alone, said Papa.

Yes, Papa. I will have to find a roommate then. A woman, said Donna.

A woman, said Mama.

Yes. Like Papa said, said Donna.

Mama nodded again. Then she started speaking German. Then Papa. Then Donna. Then louder. Then faster. German sounds like people barking with water in their mouths.

They stopped and looked at me, still there, understanding nothing and everything. Donna smiled. The mother began crying and went down the hall to the bedroom. Donna followed. The father went to the back door and turned and saw me sitting in his living room, told me to come with him.

I didn’t move. Did he really think I had never seen a movie in my life? That I was going to let a German take me into the woods?

I waited until Donna came back to the living room. We went to the car. The mother called out something in German, to the father, back in the garage. He said something back to her. The mother pushed air at the father and went into the house. The screen door banged like Canadian fake thunder. Not Ceylon thatch-roof thunder.

From the garage: tapping, wrenching, louder radio voices. The father didn’t say anything else. Only the dogs chased us to the mailbox.

What were they saying? I asked Donna.

My mother told my father to stop me. He said, Sie hat ihre Werke.

Which means?

She is having her works.

Which means?

My father thinks the reason I’m doing this is because I have lady problems.

Don’t you?

We drove overnight. Went off the road, pulled off the road. By morning, we were in Toronto. The new roommate’s apartment. The building was like a big brown brick. When they saw each other: the look in their eyes: the look we all look for: from anyone: not anyone: just one and only.

We carried in her things. They gave me a case of beer. A thank-you for taking her to and from the Sault. Old Vienna. OV. My favourite label. I would practise in the parking lot before going in to order it. Otherwise, the Canadian joker would say it as I said it, into the microphone, the whole store listening and knowing the man who tried to sound like them but could only say the sound of a child in pain. Owee.

How did Donna know all of this?

Anyway, it was time for me to go. They hadn’t even touched each other in front of me. It didn’t look like they would either, so I said it was time for me to go.

I shook the roommate’s hand. A ladylike grip.

Donna hugged me.

She told me to wait. The roommate went to the balcony and came back with a second case of Old Vienna. She put it down beside Donna’s.

She said, My parents live in Ottawa. I want you to ask my father’s permission.

We left in the morning.

Randy Boyagoda
Randy Boyagoda is a novelist and professor of English at the University of Toronto. His next book, Little Sanctuary, his first for young readers, began as a short story in The Walrus and will be published later this year. He has been contributing to the magazine since 2005.
Salini Perera
Salini Perera is a freelance illustrator who lives, draws, and paints in Toronto.