A Love Letter Home Part 1


It's a new country. A new city. A new way of living. And many new faces.

I don't like it.

Standing here, the Toronto skyline seems less than picturesque from its photographed counterparts on Google. The air smells thicker, dirtier, like burnt out cigarettes and left over drinks from the night before. I don't know exactly know how cold it is. But I can take a good guess from the people shuffling past me; their winter coats bunched up to their necks as clouds of white escape from their lips.

It never gets too dark here; every street is lit with the buzzing of neon bar lights. The air is polka-dotted with the burning ends of rolled-up joints, and the headlights of cars whizzing down the road. The clamor of excitement with beer jugs clashing in the distance, and the whistles from men at girls, is the usual sonata at night.

There are many people. But not many people to talk to.

I put on my best pair of trainers and start my journey across the mile-long street. I have my license, but I have never driven in my life. My bag slings tightly across my torso as I turn down the alley-way. The putrid smell of urine sours my stomach as I circle the cul-de-sac. I hold my breath for as long as I can, but I eventually give in and my cheeks deflate. I march quickly, keeping my eyes on the ground until I make it out onto the main sidewalk. I march past wrinkled hands, cupped outstretched at me, asking if I can spare some change.

Yesterday, I gave five-dollars. My reward was a raised eyebrow from the people sauntering by. Today, i've learnt to emulate the rest of Toronto and walk with my head hanging down. We look like the people praying at a church, mumbling for forgiveness at ignoring those left out hungry on the streets.

With my hands shoved deep in my pockets, i'm telling them that I have no interest, or change for their empty, Tim Horton's paper cup. I only have $500 in Credit that I still have to pay off from last month's bill.

I don't know which direction i'm headed, but i'm slowly learning the streets. I see business men pulling up in their Mercedes-Benz, clad in their $20,000 suit, adorned in silk ties and golden cufflinks. They stride away from the rest of the city into the marble lobby of their office building; a dissonance with the homeless who camp outside on the steps leading up to the high-rise.

As I walk by, I barely notice a lady swallowed in her tatted, army-green jacket. She wears only her skin on her face, as if the friction of life has shaved her thin. Her cargo pants spill over the steps she sits on. She stares at me from a distance, squinting through her matted hair blowing across her face. Something in her eyes tells me that she's begging for more than money; to be somewhere else, in a place where she'd belong.

I look back down at my Nike Roshe's and I keep walking.

So do I.

  • Sasha

    March 19, 2018 / Reply

    You know i don't usually write comments but i legit reread your piece like 50x and i still cannot get over your writing style. You should have read this piece out in lecture last week! i looooooove your writing :) Yes, being away from home is tough! I feel you but these emotions also let you write your pieces so beautifully!

    • Cheng S.

      March 19, 2018 / Reply

      Awww Sasha, this is such a sweet comment, thank you!


    August 2, 2017 / Reply

    this is so beautifully written mt dear ~ I cannot wait to read more of your writing.You have a beautiful style


    February 12, 2017 / Reply

    If there's anyone I know who put words so beautifully on paper, it's you ;)

    • Cheng S.

      February 14, 2017 / Reply

      Thanks for your kind words, I appreciate it! x


    September 25, 2016 / Reply

    CHENG! :) This piece is honestly such a star. One of my favorite pieces that you have written

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