This morning, my husband and I started the first day of the rest of our lives together. Which is what we do every morning, of course. But today, we started officially working together. My husband got up at 7.00 and went for a walk while I fed and played with bubba. Then I went for a walk. I took my nano, but I prefer to listen to the sound of the world when I walk, so just listened to a few tracks as they came, then switched it off to listen to the birds and the cars and the trains.
I crossed a footbridge over a ravine which on one side, looks like you are in the bush, miles from the city, and on the other looks towards a block of 1980s era units built in the cascading style which reminds you exactly where you are. But I don’t mind; this morning I quite liked the juxtaposition. A man with a biker beard and an expensive t-shirt pushed a pram across the footbridge, so I had to step to one side to let him pass, but I smiled, because I belong to that club too. He didn’t smile back and I wondered if he was trying to prove a point. I said good-morning to a pot-bellied road worker, who looked up from smashing the bitumen into manageable pieces and said, “Morning,” back. He was a 40-something year old, with blond-brown hair and blue eyes, and was better looking than I had expected. As I came into the home stretch, I crossed the road towards an elderly Asian woman who walks at the pace of every second second hand. She smokes a stinky, cigar-like thing every time I see her as she paces slowly. The word “cheroot” floated into my brain and it sounded right even if it is not. She inhales, then waves the cigar away from her in a lazy, exaggerated gesture. She does not dress expensively. She smokes like a worker.
I looked at her in order to smile but she looked at my feet only and let me speed ahead of her so I couldn’t form my community with her, verbally, anyway, although she is part of it now, on this page, because I have written her into my story. I thought about writing about her on my way home, the last eight minutes of my walk, and that made me feel better about the construction workers, on the block across the street, whose name I will never know.
At home, Ellie napped and then woke. I tried feeding her and she made a funny, new expression, all pursed lips, scrunched nose and big, puffed out cheeks. What is she thinking? “This is my muma. She is warm and smells like milk and I am safe. I want to eat the world today, and maybe I am doing that right now. What’s that sound? It’s me! It’s coming right from my very own throat. And that person who leaps, that’s my dada, and he is also always there, my reliable. I blink, because there is light. Muma wants me to go to bed now and I don’t want to, but there it is and I am safe and warm again and all is well, she is part of the door as it closes, and here is the darkness and the familiar. I ate the whole world today and tomorrow I will eat a whole new one and my muma will hold me up to it and my dada will shield my eyes from the light.”
Something like that. Maybe not so many words.
I like first days. I am tired and I am a little, niggly worried. Mostly though, I am free.