Planning, Predictions, and Fears: The Step into Motherhood

When I found out that I was pregnant back in August 2022, I immediately Googled how other PhD candidates had survived writing a dissertation and going through pregnancy at the same time. There was generally lots of really rosy perspectives about the strength of women, leaning on social networks, and “I succeeded and so can you too” stories. So armed with some reassurance, I banned myself from writing a blog post about how to succeed at both simultaneously, feeling that I couldn’t add more to the conversation.

That said, since I plan to include parts of my pregnancy and new mom journey in my dissertation as asides and creative commentary on my research as I work through settler and Anishinaabe treaty relations, I figured that a few quick blog posts would help me organize my thoughts on the surface level, but what I didn’t anticipate was what pregnancy would bring out in me and the trajectory of my work.

I should say that this pregnancy was planned, almost perfectly as my husband and I felt that after many years together now was the time to embark on this new journey. However, I dreaded the idea of being full on pregnant during the summer, so we planned on a winter pregnancy and it couldn’t have worked out better. Being pregnant throughout the cool fall and chilly winter has been a dream as someone who typically runs warm, though as I’m writing this at 30 weeks my fatigue is throwing my temperature all over the charts and that’s not the only thing.

As someone who makes a living with my mind, it has been frustrating to go through the memory loss and diminished language skills. When I try to think of words or concepts that were second nature to me a few months ago, it feels like I’m reaching into a pool of water and fumbling around in the dark, grasping at some oblong object that I can’t quite identify. Yet, some of the best writing that I’ve done (in my humble opinion) has been since August, I just don’t always remember clearly what I wrote afterwards. My focus on writing and research goals and strategies has been the best it has ever been and I’m more willing to take chances in both areas.


I think it’s because the stakes have changed. When I initially conceptualized my research on treaty discourses, settler and Anishinaabe relations were very real issues in my life but I had a definitive boundary of what I could speak on and about. As a British/Canadian settler, I am complicit in settler colonialism, but married into an Anishinaabe community I often remained peripheral to familial and community issues. That is, I understood the affects of settler colonialism at an academic level, but despite empathizing with Indigenous peoples, I never felt the dread in my gut of facing day after day of systemic racism and uncertain futures. What a privilege, right?

But when I went through the first ultrasound of my pregnancy, I felt a ferocity to protect this little one’s future at all costs, even if that meant crossing those boundaries that my colonial mind had created. When, a few weeks later, we learned that we are expecting a son, I felt pulled from the periphery into the thick of the issues of racism, discrimination, and questions of equitable relations. I I recognize that it is still not my place to speak on community issues, but when it comes to the potential implications for my work…well it’s become more important than ever.

As a settler, I’ve always been careful to state that when I teach or write about Indigenous issues that I don’t speak for anyone but rather use my privileged space in a way that, I hope, elevates other peoples’ voices. But there will be times when I will have to speak for my son; I will have to speak up for him at times when some may only see him for his ancestry and heritage. It terrifies me to see the daily racism that my husband endures, knowing that my son will likely subjected to it as well. Even the micro-aggressions of being followed around in stores hits me harder than it used to.

I guess, in the end, how can I advocate for better relations while also recognizing that my son will likely be subjected to colonial harm? How can I provide him with the best possible future, while also seeing the flaws in the system that could potentially recreate a future that repeats the mistakes and oppressions of the past?

As I see it, through my work I can implore settlers to do what should be done to improve relations, including taking long hard looks at reconciliation efforts to determine who benefits most from them and to move away from mere performative acts. But I feel that it is only a small part of a bigger something. Really, the stakes have always been high for Indigenous peoples when it comes to pushing for equity, it’s just that now my own responsibility goes beyond performance, it goes beyond simply researching and writing for myself. Responsibility calls on me to do more and be more…for my son.

The irony of sharks

A great deal of my research is devoted to working with metaphors. I don’t necessarily mean the literary devices that haunt the minds of undergrad English majors (of which I was one), I mean how metaphors act through our language everyday.

According to Prof. David Punter in his book Metaphor (2007), words do not exist in isolation, they have histories, culturally and time specific meanings. Metaphors act to show us more depth in language, beyond the obvious meanings to signal something new.

Ironies, on the other hand, as I remember them from my undergrad, reveal a lot about a speaker’s attitude. Often used as a humorous device, irony can be divided into verbal, dramatic, and situational. Much of the time, irony is used to contrast expectations with reality.

When I originally wrote the title of this blog post, it was in the fall of 2020, just as I was starting my PhD program and I was working on my first application for a funding grant. I didn’t write the post initially because I couldn’t find a way to write what I wanted to say. Really, as I understand now, I wasn’t ready for the lesson it contained. Still, over the last couple of years, I was inwardly giggling at the parallel between the nickname for the well-known funding agency SSHRC, my history with sharks as a former navy sailor, and the general idea of what sharks signify in Western culture (all of which I’m not going to get into here).

Really, my use of “shark” was a metaphor that maybe only one other person would get. But tying this shark metaphor to an irony, to an expectation, is perhaps a deeper metaphor in itself. But did I end up out writing myself? Or am I simply “looking for deeper meaning in a doorknob”?

This week I found out that I was awarded the Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Doctoral award and that my research is being supported by SSHRC. I was immediately grateful for my supervisor Prof. Eva Mackey for encouraging me to apply, and the support of everyone at the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies.

I was overjoyed that my research on tensions between Anishinaabe law and Canadian legal orders and Crown treaty responsibilities are being supported and encouraged. A key component in that research is examining the place of storytelling in the courtroom, a type of ambiguity that liberally-based courtrooms are unable to account for (mostly because Canadian courtrooms operate through supposed objective certainty based on undeniable evidence). Since Anishinaabe law and constitutionalism is conveyed primarily through stories, and metaphors operate through these stories, my fascination with metaphors and language has come in handy.

I’m still working through my meaning in the title for this blog, especially how its meaning has changed over the last 2 years as my expectation for funding (or hope really) has evolved into reality. One thing is for certain, like all good metaphors with lessons hidden in them, this title has a lot to teach me about the current state of my research, especially as I start to draft out my proposal this summer.

I can’t help but think about what expectations I have for my research and what meanings I’m taking for granted, especially if I am expecting deeper meanings in some words or phrases that aren’t really there. How will my understandings change over time? How will evolving realities change my expectations of meanings? How will my limited subjective Western understandings today change tomorrow as I learn more? Will they even change? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if metaphors are not universal, how can I ensure that my understandings of tensions, relationships, and laws are widely understood beyond my interpretations?

An academic in an uneasy world

When I first drafted this post, it was to shamelessly self-promote my latest article and announce that I am almost through my first comprehensive exam. But that got me thinking about how in the last days of my exam I had to force myself to ignore the invasion of Ukraine. After working on my PhD during the pandemic, the rise of right-wing extremism, and now an unprovoked invasion, I’m not sure how to rationalize my continued effort anymore. I’m tired!

Self-help advice would say to only face the stress you can control, but it falls flat when your work centres on holding the powerful accountable. As I draw closer to my dissertation proposal, and while I work on another paper about more broken treaty promises here in Ontario, how much longer can I fight? How much longer can I manage the fire in my part of the world, when the rest of the world is already aflame?

Alas, much like Plato’s analogy of the cave, there is a burden that comes with knowledge. In one moment you can see the best in people, in the efforts that can make the world into a much better place, as the systems and knowledge that I was writing about in my exam are indicative of. Then in the next moment, it can all come crashing down in a way that you anticipated but never wanted to give voice to.

But as I’m behind the keyboard shaking my head at the flagrant abuses and the level of suffering we commit against each other, we always have a way of correcting things. The pandemic is waning, the latest episode of extremism in Canada has been pushed against, and the world is unifying around Ukraine.

We all fight in our way, using our skills and talents in a way to support each other. We heed the calls to come together against fear, injustice, abuse, war, and terror. In this move, no fight is too big or too small. Yet, we must be wary of fighting so much that we lose sight of what we are doing and why we are doing it.

I guess then, in the end, there is always the question about who benefits from your efforts? Can you justify your action(s) in a way that is more about the good of others, instead of about the good for yourself?

Sharks and Book Reviews

It’s been an exciting 18 hours. Yesterday, just before supper time, I was informed that my application for dissertation funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (lovingly referred to as “shark” for the acronym SSHRC) has been forwarded from Carleton to the Council! While I won’t know if I get the grant until April 2022, it is an important step towards realizing the potential for my dissertation research. As I begin working on my proposal next year I’ll get more into what I’m hoping to do. Right now I’m still working on strengthening my base knowledge.

For the other bit of news, my review of Heidi Bohaker’s book Doodem and Council Fire: Anishinaabe Governance through Alliance was published this morning in volume 36, issue 3 of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society / Revue Canadienne Droit Et Société. For full citation information see the most recent entry on my published works page.

Don’t forget, I still have one more article on the way, my first solo original research article. There is also more solo and collaborative research in the works, which will start taking form early next year. Stay tuned!

Publishing news

Last week, my co-authored paper “Journalism Education and Call to Action 86: Exploring Conciliatory and Collaborative Methods of Research-Creation with Indigenous Communities” was published in the inaugural issue of Facts and Frictions.

Work on this paper began in December 2019 with Concordia Professor Aphrodite Salas in the Journalism department. This project marks an important step of journalism education and practice when engaging with Indigenous communities.

News of this article was also just shared on the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies website.

This article is the first of three articles that I have in the process of being published right now. Check back soon for information regarding my original research article “Canadian Rangers: Community, Autonomy, and Sovereignty” set to appear later this month in Journal Of Australian, Canadian, And Aotearoa New Zealand Studies (JACANZS) Vol. 1. no. 2.

How extraordinary!

Next week I start year 2 of my PhD…yeah, I’m still trying to let that sink in too!

To say that this last year has been a challenging blur would be to ignore the last 10 years I spent getting to this point. In fact, at this time 10 years ago I wasn’t even in the country, I was overseas and totally oblivious to the life defining truths and struggles I was about to encounter.

I don’t want to revisit those times, because to do so would return me to a time before; it would be to retrace a path that is dead, dense, and uninteresting. Indeed, a Kafkaesque transformation required me to see beyond, into a multitude of possibilities. But I also had to be willing to grab onto an opportunity, though not for myself or by myself. As I sprint forward along this much clearer and brighter path, I’m never by myself.

I’m learning how much I’m in good company as I work through my comprehensive exams. It fills me with more joy than I can express to find scholars who “feel” the world as I do. It is even more joyful to share what I’m learning with my colleagues, students, and family, even if I sometimes trip off the path and get lost in the weeds. I still find my way back, and thankfully everyone is patient with my clumsiness.

I didn’t post much last year because with all of the noise in the world it was hard to confine myself into writing. I suspect that this year may be a bit quieter, and I want to push myself and find time to write again. When I write, my real soul speaks louder than when I try to talk. Writing allows me to convey how I see the world, how I make sense of all I come across.

So while I plan to be doing my comprehensive exam later this fall, I want to use this blog to work through some of what I’m learning. It’s a lot of complex theories about treaties, law, and cross-cultural legal tensions. Considering I’ve actively avoided studying law most of my life, I’ve learned these last 10 years that we often avoid things that are good for us, even areas of study. I was trying to fit myself into roles that I wasn’t quite comfortable with, though I never knew why. Even at this level of education, at this point in my work, I’m still learning what is best for me…and it’s all because others have led me to it, though I should note that I never made it easy on them.

Webinar: Cui bono and social capital

Here is a recording of a presentation I did on February 19th for the Social Capital Research Group. I am very new to the concept of social capital, but I really am enjoying learning and working through its relevance to my research.

In the future, I’m hoping to combine concepts of social capital with intersects of Canadian common law and Indigenous law as they pertain to Treaty negotiations.

New Article: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Native American Symposium 2019

Last November, I had the honour of attending The Thirteenth Native American Symposium 2019 at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Choctaw Nation, Durant, OK.

It was my first academic conference, so I wasn’t entirely sure how it was going to go, especially since this was also the first time I would be talking about my work with the white saviour trope outside of my department. Thankfully, everyone there was supportive on several levels, personally, academically, and professionally. I couldn’t have hoped for a better first experience.

Yesterday, I found out that my paper was selected for publication with the proceedings from the conference, another first that I am delighted to share with you all. I am attaching the paper here to be downloaded and read at your leisure. I do ask that if you choose to site from the article, please ensure to use proper citation (MLA, APA, Chicago style, etc.).

Short Story: “Those Left Behind” pt. 3

When we last left Jimmy he had emerged from his hovel in an attempt to find some food. He discovered that his companion, Lindsey, has little remorse when it comes to her own survival.

When Jimmy is discovered in a crowd, a passerby sets the police on him. In this world, Jimmy is an Animan, a person who those with privilege and wealth want to be rid of. But it is more than the Enhanceds that are against Jimmy. In a harsh world that he isn’t designed to survive in, every step is dangerous.

In this final part, Jimmy flees desperately from the police and finds salvation in an unlikely place. The story concludes with Jimmy confronted with the price of his salvation.

“F–ing Enhanceds!” Jimmy screamed back at the police. He spins around and flashes them his middle finger. Jimmy winced at the pain in his lungs but he didn’t slow his pace. He shout cost him precious energy and air.

“Stop!” One of the policemen shouted back. “Stop! Or we will shoot.”

Jimmy looked back, his hood slid off his head, and he noticed that the two policemen were drawing their weapons. He pushed himself even harder. He could hear the telltale whoosh of the approaching light-train as he got closer to the tracks. He knew had to time this perfectly.

“Stop! Don’t do this!” The same policeman shouted.

Jimmy was close to the tracks. Turning his head to the right, he could see the blur of the train. It was close now. Somehow, Jimmy was able to push his legs faster. He heard a crack of an electro-gun behind him. Luckily, the shooter had bad aim and Jimmy watched as the blue and white stream of electricity crackled past his head. Unfortunately, the projectile hit an unsuspecting onlooker gawking at the fray.

I’m sorry, Jimmy thought as he watched the wounded man fall to the ground.

Jimmy was close to the edge of the tracks now and the train was only meters away, slowing down as it approached the platform. The police fired again, and Jimmy heard the waiting crowd on the train platform scream. Many of the people ducked, but others abandoned their commute and fled from the platform.

The train was almost on top of him and Jimmy closed his eyes. He leapt forward just as the train conductor cut the train’s power. The light-train screeched to a halt.

Jimmy crashed onto the platform, knocking over a few crouched and screaming commuters. He looked behind him. The immobile train had created a barrier between him and the pursuing officers.

Jimmy scrambled to his feet and the people around him recoiled. Seizing the opportunity to flee, Jimmy pushed past them and ran to the back of the platform.

Jimmy frantically looked left and right, trying to find a safe spot to recover. He could see a tiny narrow alley between two restaurants to his right, just meters beyond the platform.

“That’ll have to do,” Jimmy said. He suddenly doubled over. His weakened physical state and lack of breath had finally taken its toll. He began to hyperventilate.

“Are you okay?” a little girl said.

Jimmy raised his head. In front of him stood a smiling little girl with big blue eyes and long brown hair. Jimmy guessed that she was about six or seven. She crouched down in front of him so that they were face to face. Looking into her eyes he could just make out a slight tinge of green recessing behind the bright blue that now dominated her eyes.

Lucky! She’s just received the enhancements, Jimmy thought. Noticing that the little girl was looking at him intently, her brow furrowed in genuine concern, Jimmy nodded in response to her question, forcing himself to smile at her.

“Why is your hair that funny colour?” She asked. “I’ve never seen hair like yours before. And what are those funny speckles all over your face? Do they hurt?” The little girl stretched a finger towards Jimmy’s face.

“Rachel!” a frantic woman screamed. A woman dressed in an elegant dark pantsuit grabbed the little girl by the arm and yanked her away from Jimmy.

“Bye!” the little girl said. She waved with her free arm as her mother dragged her onto the train. Jimmy could hear the mother frantically scolding her daughter.

After all, what am I but another dirty animan? Jimmy thought. He couldn’t afford the genetic upgrades like the rest of these people. He couldn’t fix his flawed genetic makeup, and his red hair immediately gave him away.

“Hey! Over here!”

Jimmy looked around him. A richly dressed man and woman were beckoning to him. Jimmy immediately thought to run the other way, but something about their kind faces froze him in place. They beckoned again, more frantic than before. Reluctantly, Jimmy moved towards them. The doors closed on the train, the ding of the departure bell sounded. The train edged forward. A muted rumble filled the air around the platform.

When Jimmy got close to the couple, the man took off his clean-cut tailor black overcoat and threw it over Jimmy. Then the man pulled the collar up and placed his fedora on top of Jimmy’s head. He placed his arm around Jimmy’s shoulder and pulled him close. The man and woman began walking towards the restaurants, guiding Jimmy along between them.

“Come along, son,” the man said.

Jimmy looked at the man. His dirty blonde had been slicked back, each strand perfectly sculpted, his face clean shaven and glistening in the growing light. The man met Jimmy’s eyes. The man smiled gently. His warm chocolate brown eyes crinkling at the edges, his flawless skin revealing no sign of age or sun damage.

They walked towards the door of one of the empty restaurants. The name Alonso’s was written in gold letters across the large front window. As they got close, the red door of the restaurant swung open. In the doorway stood a tall athletic man, grease staining the white apron that stretched across his trim waist, his lush black hair tied in a neat ponytail that stretched down his wide back.

“Thank you, Alonso,” the woman said.

Once they were inside, Jimmy noticed that Alonso locked the door and drew the tan shade down the oversized front window. The rising sun cast a shadow of the restaurant’s reverse name on the tan blind. s’osnolA.

“What’s going on?” Jimmy asked.

“It’s okay. My name is Richard, and this is my wife Melissa.”

“Yeah, hi,” Jimmy said. “What do you want?”

“We just want to help you,” Melissa said. “What’s your name?”

“Bobby!” Jimmy lied.

“Well, Bobby,” Richard said. “We belong to a group of people that tries to help people like you, people that have been mistreated, that struggle to survive because they can’t afford the enhancements.”

“I don’t need your charity. I don’t need help from Enhanceds,” Jimmy said. He strode towards the locked door. Alonso, his brawny arms crossed, stepped aside to let Jimmy pass.

“We can get you out of the city,” Richard said. Jimmy froze mid step. His hand rested on the deadbolt lock. “We have a farm, about an hour outside the walls. There are all kinds of people there, people just like—”

“What? Animans?” Jimmy said sneering. He turned around to look at Richard.

“We don’t use that term,” Melissa said. “Despite what the government says, you are humans just like us. You don’t deserve to be treated the way you are.”

“Sure, whatever,” Jimmy said. “How do I know your not bounty hunters or cops? How do I know that this farm isn’t just a camp. I know what they do to my kind. Round us up and exterminate us simply because we are hard to look at! Just because we remind people…how do I know that I can trust you?”

“You don’t, Bobby,” Melissa said. Her blunt response and lack of further explanation or plea intrigued Jimmy.

“Look, Bobby, we have a car waiting nearby, but we have to leave now,” Richard said. Jimmy looked at him questioningly, still unable to decide if he believed these people, if he trusted them.

Sensing Jimmy’s apprehension, Richard continued, “Look the police won’t stop searching till they find you. You staying here means your death. Do you know of anyone else that needs help? Is there anyone that you want to accompany you?”

Jimmy briefly thought of Lindsey. Then he remembered the woman lying dead in the alley.

“No,” Jimmy replied.

“Okay.” Richard said. “So? What do you think?”

“Okay. Fine,” Jimmy said, his voice quiet. “And my name is Jimmy…not Bobby. I lied.” Richard nodded sharply at him, seeming to understand, and he then turned to Alonso.

“Alonso, can you be a chap and check to make sure that our way is clear?” Alonso nodded. The burly man pushed gently past Jimmy, unlocked the door and left.

Moments later, Alonso reentered the restaurant and swiftly motioned to Richard. Melissa approached Jimmy, buttoned up the coat, and pulled the fedora a touch lower to cover his face.

“It’s cold out there,” said Melissa. She winked one of her large brown eyes at him and flashed him a wide perfectly white toothed smile. Her curly black hair bounced with every movement she made. Once she seemed satisfied that Jimmy could not easily be identified, Melissa nodded to Richard.

Richard and Melissa walked casually out of the restaurant, Jimmy between them, the three of them walking arm in arm. Jimmy turned to look one last time at Alonso who was leaning casually against the door frame waving goodbye. Before they turned the corner, Jimmy watched Alonso go back into the restaurant. The red door closed noiselessly, the tan blind snap downward, and swiftly flew up the window illuminating the restaurant interior and Alonso’s white and greasy apron.

The three of them walked back down the street that only moments earlier Jimmy had frantically ran down. Jimmy kept his head bent, focusing on the foot-worn cobblestones of the street, allowing his weak body to be guided by his saviours. The adrenaline of his flight was waning, and his hunger came back with a vengeance.

“Soon, soon,” said Melissa as Jimmy’s belly audibly screamed in complaint. 

Jimmy raised his head as they got closer to the alley where he lived, the alley where he had left Lindsey in a dingy hovel, the alley that was almost now illuminated by the rising sun. As they drew closer, Jimmy watched as two men wearing thick toques and scarves wrapped around their faces carefully exited the alley. The men were wiping their red smeared hands on their ragged pants. And one of them was wearing a blood-speckled long emerald green puffy down jacket.

Short Story: “Those Left Behind” pt. 2

Last week, I published part 1 of “Those Left Behind.” This week is part 2. I had hoped to get it up sooner, but I took on another short term project as a research assistant. So much for downtime! But getting paid to do what you love is an amazing thing.

Anyways, last week we were introduced to Jimmy and Lindsey. They live in a harsh world, a world where medical and technological advances created a socio-political division between Animans and Enchanceds. In part 2, as Jimmy heads out into the world, we learn more about that division and what it means for those struggling to survive.

Jimmy tried to shift his numb body. He rocked carefully side to side. The cold dirt under his bottom sent more shivers up his spine. He separated his hair from his stubble, shoving the long red hair down his back between his hoodie and shirt. He pulled up the hood and reached into the darkness until he found his boots. He slid them on carefully, trying not to puncture more holes into the worn and weak leather with his toes. As he dressed, he could hear Lindsey cursing and mumbling in the darkness.

“You better not leave that coat of yours lying around or let anyone see you with it. Someone will try to steal it,” Jimmy said as he slid out of the narrow entrance. He just barely made out Lindsey’s venomous curses as he slid onto the cold asphalt outside.

The early morning light was blinding. A cruel wind whipped down the alleyway. The buildings on either side acted as a funnel, drawing the wind from the city streets and propelling it down the side alleys.

Thankful for some stretching room, Jimmy stood on his toes and reached his arms up over his head lengthening his thin adolescent frame. The smell of exhaust and fumes penetrated his nose, making the inside of his nostrils tickle. Still, he breathed in deeply. The air stung his lungs and he coughed uncontrollably for a few seconds. When he was finally able to stop coughing, he could still hear Lindsey talking to herself and cursing the world. He knelt down to the basement window that he had just crawled out of.

“Fancy anything in particular?” Jimmy asked. Lindsey swore and threw a rock out of the broken window. Jimmy laughed. The rock bounce noisily across the pavement and banged against the dumpster.

Jimmy strode across the narrow laneway. Deciding that the dumpster would be the best place to start, he carefully opened the heavy lid. Inside the rusted green metal container was completely empty. A faint odour of rot hung in the dank darkness, but it was void of even a wet rotten wrapper clingy to its side.

“Found it in the dumpster, eh?” Jimmy said to himself. He let go of the lid. The smash of the heavy plastic on steel echoed loudly between the grey buildings. Jimmy looked up at the sky. The sunlight was just starting to stretch down the building he lived under.

“I better hurry.” Jimmy sighed and flexed his body. “This is gonna suck.”

Jimmy pulled his hood tight around his face. He stuffed his hands into his hoodie pouch and strode down the lane towards the open street. Just as he was about to walk out onto the street, he noticed a pair of dirty canvas shoes sticking out from under an opened old newspaper on the ground. He knelt down and removed the paper. Concealed underneath was a woman, naked except for a couple of scraps of fabric tied around her torso. Her freckled face was contorted in fear, her green eyes wide open, staring emptily at the sky above her. Inky sanguine blood still flowed from a wound in her head. The offending rock rested innocently next to her bashed skull. A pile of black ooze splashed along the pavement next to the rock.

Jimmy cringed with realization. Lindsey was known for her temper, and her desire to do whatever to survive, but he never thought she’d go this far. He gently placed the newspaper back over the body, said a few words, and resumed his quest.

The city street was already bustling with activity. Jimmy tried to slide into the pedestrian traffic, but he was roughly pushed and shoved by the hustling crowd.

“Get out of the way!” One large man in a bright blue suit pushed Jimmy so hard he felt like he was going to break. Jimmy tripped forward. In an effort to stop himself from falling to the ground, he let go of his hood and grabbed the ledge of a window. Jimmy locked eyes with the man who had shoved him. The man was looking at him with a mix of disgust and anger in his crinkled blue eyes and full-lipped sneer. His sneer shifted into a cruel smile.

“Police! Police!” The man shouted.

The heads of two uniformed police officers appeared over the crowd. Swivelling their heads like radars, they scanned the mass of people for the disturbance. They quickly spotted Jimmy. After all, he was the only one in the crowd bundled up to protect himself from the cold.

Jimmy turned and ran down the street as fast his feet could carry him. He dodged between well-dressed commuters with their perfectly coiffed hair and tailored clothes. People in the crowd screamed and jumped out of the way as he pushed against them. Jimmy could hear the heavy-booted feet of the policemen slamming on the pavement not far behind him. His leg muscles screamed. His lungs burned. He knew that he had to find an escape before his body gave out.

Spotting a light-rail track less than a block away, Jimmy mustered more of his waning strength and desperately sprinted. Jimmy dared to look back quickly, just to make sure that the space between himself and the two police officers grew with every step.

The muscular police officers were sweating, but Jimmy knew that their bodies would never give out. The air didn’t hurt their altered lungs. Their bodies were designed to not feel the cold. They weren’t weak with hunger since they didn’t have to metabolize organic substances to survive. It wasn’t fair.