The snowflakes are falling, large and round outside my window. It looks like one of those small, encapsulated winter scenes with fake snow swirling around the landscape. I’m sitting in a large office on the third floor of the old Royal Bank building at the corner of King and Yonge in Toronto. I can hear the bell from the streetcar ringing as it passes below my window. A fire truck races down King Street; its siren echoes between the tall buildings. On Friday evenings the bells from St. James Cathedral chime for hours and it seems to spread a calmness over the city and into our offices.
My office door is kept open; people run in and out all day long. Our publisher just walked in and asked if I think we should get a wine reviewer. “It’s already done. Her name is Ruth Ryan and she’s reviewing four bottle for this issue,” I say without looking up from my computer screen. Our publisher is quiet and shy, but from time to time I see strands of genius. He’s full of ideas of how to make the paper grow and prosper. This issue of Women’s News goes to press in two days. I have six columns to edit, a profile to write and my own column to finish. But all I can think about is my husband working on our house. He’s taking down the plaster in our dining room and his hands are getting calloused. He’s never had calloused hands before. I love calloused hands.
We’ve spent the past three weeks trying to get pregnant. It’s an odd feeling because I’ve spent most of my adult life trying not to. But in the last three weeks I’ve learned that there is nothing as sexy as trying to create a life. Not whipped cream, not chocolate body paint or edible undies. If I had known this when I was younger, I’d probably have a herd of kids by now. But I’m 35 and I’ve still got at least five good egg-producing years left. I’m hoping for twins.
Being a twin myself I know what a wonderful experience it is. As a twin you don’t suffer from older, middle or youngest child syndrome. You learn early how to share, how to work with a partner to build and shape the world around you. Being the runt of the litter, I may have developed a bit of a Napoleon complex, but it hasn’t harmed me terribly although it may have affected others a bit.
Ah, but back to my office, where our sales manager has just poked her head in the door to ask if she can give a ridiculous advertising deal to an advertiser. “You want to give them an ad that we won’t make anything on?” I ask. “Yes.” “Is the advertiser a nice person?” I ask. “Of course, but he’s broke” she replies. “Then we must” I respond and she smiles and rushes out to call him. Our recipe columnist Sherri Cohen, comes in and pulls a chair up to my desk. “What do you think about a recipe for soup?” she asks. It’s three in the afternoon; I missed breakfast and am on my second cup of coffee. As she goes into an elaborate description of her recipe, my mouth begins to water. Her excitement is nearly uncontainable. Her words bring the food to my taste buds and I’m ready to sit down and eat anything she puts before me.
Her description reminds me of evenings at home, making dinner with Greg. I’ve been working so late that we don’t get around to dinner until eight or nine, but we always light a fire to eat by and we make the most out of the few hours we do spend together. Sherri leaves and I look at the work load for the rest of the day. It’ll be another late night and I may have to skip dinner. I wonder why I do this? Why do I continue to work such long hours? What’s it all for?
I check my e-mail and notice a letter from a reader. Her words are kind, she compliments our content and mentions Kent Peacock’s article Looking for Ludwig in our last issue. She’s never read anything like our newspaper before and notices how intimate and well written our articles are. She thanks me for allowing her to escape for a few minutes out of her hectic day. I wonder who she is and what she does. I wonder if she knows how much her words mean to me? It’s words like hers that remind me what it’s all for.