Tuesday, 22 April 2008

SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN THE SUBURBS

Roger and I had gone down to my mother's to fix her gate, getting away late...you know how it goes. Roger took the hinge off the gate, needed a different tool and he and my mother went off to look through her toolbox, leaving me holding up the gate until they returned. I stood there in the late afternoon sunshine, wishing the man across the street who stood on the footpath, smoking, would go away as the wind was blowing the smoke straight at me. I waited and waited, changing hands because the gate was getting heavy.

Another man came out and spoke to the first, lighting up another cigarette. They stood there, smoking and talking. I could smell a BBQ and hear someone playing a guitar. Other people were visible in their yard because they had left the wooden side gate open. Still I waited. I moved the gate around a bit to get a look down the street - the street where I had lived for 24 years and still visit every week. A teenager turned up and went to knock on a door nearby. A young mother walked past with a pusher plus two little boys walking and chatting. She looked at me, still holding the gate and we chatted for a few seconds. I was enjoying the amateur guitatist - it reminded me of son Hugh playing his accoustic guitar and singing.

The light was becoming softer and a shadow from my mother's jacaranda tree crept across where I was standing. The two men finished their cigarettes, turned back towards the group gathered inside the yard and one of the blokes put his arm around the other in a comforting kind of way and I wondered what had passed between them in their moments there, alone, but barely separated from the activity inside.

It was only a few minutes, but there, in my own childhood street, anchored as I was to the spot and forced to observe, I felt good about the world. There is gentleness and kindness where we least expect it. There are families spending the last days of our Indian summer gathered in their homes cooking, laughing and playing with their children. We were there, helping my mother. Life is good. Never forget it.

5 comments:

Ian said...

Hi Kate, This is a very nice piece.
As we all reflect on the evils of the world and the damage we are thrusting upon it, it is easy to forget the good that is around all of us. Thank you for taking the time to remind us. I shall link from my blog to it.

Pattie said...

Kate; I'm glad you gave yourself the chance to see beyond the smoking to the tender moment these two were sharing. These tender moments are everywhere.

Alex said...

That's a really simple and beautiful post mum, I love it.

Anonymous said...

Hiya Kate,

My arms are aching from you holding that gate...

I still would like to know why you didn't rest at least one corner on the ground, why it took so long for them to come back and fix it and what happened to the repair later.
Couldn't concentrate on the pensive stuff because of it. Honest. Nowt as funny as folk :-)

joco

Kate said...

Ha ha ha clunk...that was me laughing my head off! Its the vibes, man, the vibes, forget the details....