Vanya Garraway is a first generation Caribbean Canadian, with a mother who fell in love with Gretzky the moment the family could afford a TV. Vanya grew up in a Scarborough neighbourhood that was partially developed on what used to be farmland which then had houses eclectically added over the years like books to a shelf, all from different times and from different genres, the shapes and colours being of every kind, just like the people in them. She was the girl next door to the paper boy next door, on the other side of the train tracks. She is a cinema, theatre and festival, jack of all trades. She also spends her spare time at all those places with the exception of reading, writing and idiot boxing with her husband in downtown Toronto.
Before the Beginning
The first time that Wendy pulled a gun on someone, she was starving. She and her brothers were on the road and their thievery was mild: shoplifting, picking pockets, small cons where people just handed over their money and goods to them. The land was harsh and in the face of a nomadic life in a tough territory, where infrastructure was scarce, the roads were dirt and the laws seemed undefined, any loss seemed extreme.
Their nights were habitual until they were caught off guard by a small gang that was nourished, rich. The Latimers had been rationing what they had for some time now. That night was the last time she felt like a child. Cornered on the road, they handed over their goods on command. “Give us everything you got,” said the bandit as his hair fell in front of his face, his gun aimed squarely between Wendy’s eyes. The gang worked quickly, without boasting, and rode off.
The Latimers were quick learners. Now, whenever Wendy revealed her weapon, pulled back on the hammer of her gun, click, click! There was a jolt deep in her empty gut, which she felt made her different from her own robbers. What she was about to take, she needed. Wendy thought it strange how the exhilaration of taking something, and of being taken from, felt nearly the same. She gulped deeply, feeling tears in her throat that she was trying to choke down. This would be the last time she would feel sorry for anyone. The next time and every other time after that, she would be steely, cool, and forget that she was ever a victim herself.
(written by Vanya Garraway, read by Chioke I'Anson)
That rad music you hear at the end is by Tigerrosa. Buy their debut album here
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