Saturday, 17 October 2015

A ribbon for her hair

Midday on a Saturday in October and the weather is easy across the Northern Rivers. All house windows are open, all the better to hear the country pub band playing on the corner.  Soft rock covers.

The windows would stay open till March if the annual monsoon doesn't bring the rain. It poured during the week, there's no doubt it will rain again. 

I thought I had lost $20 on Tuesday when I went to pay at the farmers' market. I searched through my purse at the checkout and even said 'oh no' out loud.  

I thought of all the ways I could have treated myself with $20 - if I had known I was going to lose it - as I trudged out to my car. Scented candles, surprised me, I'm not really a candle person. Ice cream was on the list but not chocolate. A good cheese flashed through my mind. Fresh scallops, in fact why not a nice mixed seafood for lunch with a couple of oysters kilpatrick. 

And I wondered why the inside of my car seemed out of order. Then I spotted the small wooden table that I'd bought from the Salvos that would be perfect to house the clutter from my writing desk so I could surely finish a deadline. My freshly purchased little table had signs of being knocked about but still, was a bargain for $15. I'd been so pleased at the wonders it would bring to my deadline that I had donated the $5 change. :) 

I sure got my money's worth of emotions. I pounced on a great table at the weekly Salvo's sale and busily checked it's little legs for sturdiness, just as a happy farmer would of a pig at the market. I later lost $20 and the small queue behind me looked on sympathetically, before finding it in the back of my car and nearly happy crying that I can forget things but I am yet to be so befuddled that I throw money on the floor. Then I joyfully reorganised my study and the little table fits perfectly. Now for that deadline which is clearly driving me past the point of crazy.

Saturday at my desk, clutter free
Spring 2015

From my window, an observation in an occasional series:

A Ribbon For Her Hair
by Siv Parker

Here she comes.  Most days just like today, her hair is smooth, coiled neatly on the top of her head.  She is walking in sunlight along the road.  She wont settle for walking on the footpath, though she will join him to walk there if he is with her, trailing behind her like an anchor attached by a chain to her thin brown ankle. 
Unshackled, she is always walking fast.  She talks to her self, I can tell by the way she moves her arms.  One quick arm keeps time with her thoughts, the other floats in and out as a counterweight to her rising ambitions.   She wont always be walking along a country road, one day she will be somebody, she will be somewhere else.
During the day, the shopping trolleys they push all the way from town with their big shop are dumped outside my house, the last on the line before open countryside.  They split the load amongst them and carry it the rest of the way.   To roll any further would have them too exposed, too much of a risk that someone passing might give them a hard time or a hard look.  I know this for sure.  Without having met her or him I know them.  She has pride and so does he, but she is on her way – he has reached his destination. 
With him, she walks out of kilter.  It is not enough that he tries, that he carries home the little sets of shelves and stands and bibs and bobs that make a low rent weatherboard on a flood plain a home.  She wants a proper house, in town.  She wants a car.  She wants to get dressed up and not have to walk miles for someone to see she is someone, to tell her she is somebody.
At night sometimes I hear her rolling my way, too dark to see from my window.   Around midnight, sometimes later the distant sound of a stolen trolley that made it all the way, is ploughing back up the rough tarred road towards town.  Lets me know she is making a break for it.  She must have her possessions in that trolley.  And then an hour or two and it returns, a little slower, fighting a little less against the grain, but without pause back down into the darkness at the end of the dog leg.
But one day she wont be back.  I’ve seen him up close from my window when he slips down the side lane, bent and bowed, to buy drugs to bear the weight of his skin, then back again with a cock in his step. 
We've come face to face once through the windscreen of my car.  We clocked each other in an instant but as the older of the two, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.  After that wordless exchange, I've discovered I was close to the mark.  He has a greeting of sorts each time he passes by alone.  Now less of a shambles, he steps up to my fence and relieves himself against it.  After long drawn out and careful inspection of what he assures me is generous endowment, he then leaves with a swagger, barely able to contain himself in one lane.  
Because of him I can never call out or give her a wave.  But I want to give her a sign, I want to say one day you will leave and you wont be back.  You don’t need anything but take them if you must.  You don’t even need me to tell you.  You already have everything you need, with that walk.  One day you’ll see that road is heading in only one direction.  I know because she is shades of me years ago.  I found a road that took me to university and one afternoon on leaving after a day spent in thoughts and new ideas, and having coffee with my friends perched on a low stone wall I walked out and made a new home.

While sorting my writing room, I found a ribbon, a bright orange satin ribbon.  It had come with a large bouquet of flowers long since shrivelled to grey paper.  But the calliandra tree outside my house is blooming.  It’s overgrown and ablaze with red flowers and reaches up to my window in places.  Just close enough to grab a branch and tie a ribbon.  It shines like her hair in the sunlight.  It catches the eye.

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