A rainy Wednesday morning, running
late. Let’s just take the car. So we loaded the boy and his backpack and his firetruck umbrella. I backed out of the garage, trying to indicate to Tanya there’s no need to shut the door. I’d be right back.
But she’s not getting it from my gestures, so I click the automatic window switch to the passenger side and shout just get in. I look over my shoulder to check the boy in the back, as I click the automatic window switch the opposite way to keep the rain out
and out of nowhere a scream of f___ the f___ g___ what the f___ did you do that for?! Owwww___.
And it takes me a beat to reorient and click the automatic window switch down again so Tanya can extract her finger from the slow motion guillotine that is a rogue electric window, and she’s screaming and I’m sorry and why did you put your finger — and I know that sentence won’t end as well as I intended it and I stop talking, only starting again to apologise and all the while the little boy’s vocabulary expands one fucking curse at a time.
Out the car up the stairs, ziplock, ice, splash of water, back down to the scene of the crime and I’m sorry and put this on it and is it bleeding, no, ok, can you move it, and yes, and the little boy still needs to get to school and you to the ferry and are you ok to go to work because we’re all in the car already and I don’t want to waste all that effort, you know the effort to load a five year old into a car on a school morning after finally finding matching socks and both shoes and your comfort is paramount of course, but just go she says and we do.
She made the ferry on time and I got the boy to school on time and I sent a message:
I’m really sorry about the window and the fingers. I love your hands.
And she responds I will live, with a heart as punctuation.
And I respond But will you live happily? With all your digits?
And she responds I think we won’t have to amputate in the end.
And at 9:09 AM I say OK good.
The rain clears.
I get a coffee with my friend Alex and we sit on the veranda and watch the waves beyond the grapefruit tree and the pohutukawa towering over the Balmain Reserve, chatting about projects around our respective houses. Kids in school. These days. Spring on the wind. Some sailboats already. The horizon clear.
A message dings in:
Are you in Devo? Could you pick me up from the 1230 ferry?
At 1245? Yes?
Yes. I have a Dr appt at 330.
Are you ok?
You know when a man and a woman love each other very much….
I think I played it cool with Alex. Maybe. But holy shit. My lips felt pale and the warm cappuccino foam against them a comfort. Household projects. Sailboats on the horizon. Spring already. Clear —
I’ve got to pick up Tanya. Didn’t realise she had an appointment.
No worries. We’ll catch up later.
Likely we didn’t. I don’t know. I could rebuild a memory here, but it’d be more fiction than the genre allows.
The rest of that rainy Wednesday that cleared by noon is lost in chaotic panic joy really? I mean I’m not surprised but really? How do you feel / what should we do first / oh my god human fecal matter for two years / crawling / toddling / running / why do you only hear me when I talk about ice cream? / clean your room / first day of school / birthday parties / broken arms / bad coughs and fevers / cuddles and lurches of spilled everything / this amalgam of fear and hope and joy and regret and the nag of
can I? Again? At my age? Starting over.