All day I was emotionally available - I had decided straight off I was going to give today my all.Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I hold back a little; keep a little in reserve. (In fact most days being the conservative, reserved and - it has to be said - uncharitable little biscuit that I am.)
I was there for the positive, warm response to parents and children as they entered the centre where I work. I was there for the little tantrums and hurt feelings when some other eighteen-month old pushed or pulled. I was there to name the birds and native flower cards. I was there to listen (in a quality way) to my colleagues. I was there for the second mile. I was there. I was engaged. I was connected.
After work I met a friend and we sat at a cafe by the sea, our conversation peppered with the wash of waves. The smell of seaweed and sand and the soft touch of warm sun made us feel like we were on holiday. And I was there for my friend. But by now, fading fast. And I still had the grocery shopping to do.
As we parted company, I noticed some bird crap on my jacket. Pshaw!!! No doubt some friggin' little random seagull flying overhead.But isn't that supposed to be good luck?
Then it was time to go and load up the supermarket trolley. Luckily when I got there, most of the hassled parents and their shrill children (or should that be the other way round? Sometimes indeed, it is) were all away at softball practice or Pippins. However, I don't know if vague and bewildered singles are any better. There seemed to be a lot of dreamers blocking the aisles while they looked at hair product and discussed with a friend whether to go darker. And stalling at the cabbages. University students, who at this stage of the year have fallen out with their flatmates - yes, the very ones they were so merry with in March ... now in October it's a grumble and a bitch by the broccoli about Tara and her complaints ...
"I don't give a fuck if she's allergic, it's just a cabbage for fuck's sake."
There's no other word for it, the woman at the checkout looked wizened. I felt guilty making her pack my groceries. (Even though I know that's just silly.)Overall, we must've exchanged about three smiles, and she was very perky when she told me how much it all came to.
"268.86," she said.
I thought it had rather a nice ring to it.
Outside in the car park, a high-school girl was playing the accordian and there was a smell in the air of chocolate from the chocolate factory across the road. At the first set of lights, I sat behind a middle-aged man in a cabriolet. The breeze was lifting tufts of his grey hair at the crown - even from the back you could tell he was feeling very cool and not at all regretful.
Tallest son C helped me unload the groceries from the car boot. Then as I was bringing in the washing from the line, he called from the doorstep,
"What did you have in mind for tea?"
He would be happy to cook it.
Bless you my son!
That was when I poured myself into my fluffy slippers and while I was at it, a small red wine.