Not here yet

The weather is so perfect today that I should not be here. I should be outdoors with Miss A, chasing tattoos made by the sunlight on the thankful lawn. I should be driving through the backstreets of the hilly suburbs around my house, pointing out the pinks and the oranges and purples to her, I should be telling her that there is immense beauty in acts of goodbye, just like the sunset.

I should be walking across crinkly autumn foliage with her, our feet in perfect rhythm with leaves that were once brave and green and are now gentle and almost broken. I should be inhaling giant gulps of crisp mountain air, I should have her little hand in mine.

Instead, I am at work and she is at vacation care. I went for a walk during my lunch break and she must have gone to the picnic arranged by the school carers. We both shared slivers of the obscene sky, we just did not do it together. I am leaving work soon to pick her up and I hope that the sun stays put and the blueness of the sky hangs around for just another hour.

Some day, she will be a grown up person in a different country, in a different time zone perhaps – she will not be at the gum-tree lined school down the road. There will be many more perfect days in our future –  just like there will be many more cloudy nights.

One day, she will not be a few footsteps, a few traffic signals away, one day she and I will have worlds that do not easily touch.

There is a bend in the road and behind the naked trees, the sky promises to be blue. 

These are beautiful days with dark undertones of everything that will eventually not be. But, the future is not here yet. Sometimes that is such a good thing.

The things they do not tell you…

Tonight, I am reminded of the way splotches of yellow light fall from the street bulbs on to the pot-holed roads in the town that will always be home. I think of walking past faceless silouhettes in the night, sleeping buildings and nodding giants, discarded street carts and dozing vehicles that put on masks of bravado during the day. I think of a smile lost in the buzz and the static of neon hoardings and of crooked roads, the momentary recognition of seeing a known face across the road, a half  wave to a rapidly disappearing entity, the topic of conversation for another day when you can start with “I saw you the other day.” Because once there were many other days, because  once life was predictable enough and if you knew someone, there was every chance that your paths would cross again.

I see myself walking, on auto-pilot almost, crossing mud paths and side-stepping overgrown road-sides, my feet in rhythm with the late evening cyclists and the chuga-chug-chug of the 7:30 PM night train as I walked past the scanty collection of children on the steps of neighbourhood grocery shop. I can still walk that way,  my feet – they can see in the dark.  They slow down too when they arrive outside a house where someone always leaves the lights on, where someone always waits for you.

I know the streets around where I am now. I can walk in the dark like I said. But when I get home, I often have to turn the lights on by myself, the house is a petulant friend, looking the other way, not always meeting my eye.

There are things they do not tell you about growing up. There are things they do not tell you because if they did, you would want to be a child forever.