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by Christopher Mudiappahpillai

Nancy smiles and asks if I’d like help with anything else. I wonder if she realises it’s the second time she’s asked me that in the thirty seconds I’ve been talking to her. If I didn’t need something a few seconds ago, would I now? But I’m being harsh; she’s just doing her job.

Nancy works at the local branch of my financial institution. The badge pinned to the breast pocket of her purple blouse tells me her name. And the name of the bank, just in case I missed it on the way in. Or as I gave her my debit card.

The blouse is not really purple. It’s some shade of purple that I don’t know the name of; perhaps lavender or mauve. I’d give you a definite colour, but I really don’t know what lavender or mauve look like, only that they’re shades of purple.

Nancy emigrated to Canada from Korea. She studied Commerce at the University of Toronto, and – if I remember correctly – also took an elective in Women’s Studies. How do I know all this, you ask? No, it’s not on her badge.

I’ve found that being a student at The University of Toronto also admits one into a strange club. Just mention the fact that you attend this university to an alumni and suddenly, you’re a friend. A smile appears on their face, a hand is outstretched, they lean over conspiratorially and murmur out of the corner of their mouth, “I went there too.”

You’re in. You’re one of them, and they’re looking out for you. I kid you not – I’ve had this happen to me at stores, during job interviews. And at the bank. It also means, inevitably, that they will also begin to tell you about their university experience. That’s how I know so much about Nancy. But it’s nice; like having family wherever you go.

This is yet another song of which I’m not sure if I’ve posted before. Oh well, I’m listening to it on my mp3 player right now – that’s as good a reason as any, I guess.


To Make You Feel My Love

Bob Dylan / As covered by Billy Joel

When the rain is blowing in your face

And the whole world is on your case

I could offer you a warm embrace

To make you feel my love

When the evening shadows and the stars appear

And there is no one there to dry your tears

I could hold you for a million years

To make you feel my love

I know you haven’t made your mind up yet

But I would never do you wrong

I’ve known it from the moment we met

No doubt in my mind where you belong

I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue

I’d go crawling down the avenue

There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do

To make you feel my love

The storms are raging on the rollin’ sea

And on the highway of regret

The winds of change are blowing wild and free

You ain’t seen nothing like me yet

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true

Nothing that I wouldn’t do

Go to the ends of the earth for you

To make you feel my love