An Afternoon Like This

Willow twitches in her sleep. Her paws dance and her whiskers rouse.

And what she dreams I’ll never know but I’m sure she’s somewhere far from here, because that’s where I am – far from this old house.

The roof that sheltered us through the Brisbane rain now creaks and grinds as the sun warms up, and the clock and the refrigerator and the cars on the street.

And I count down the days to when we leave. When the three of us get into our home on wheels and say goodbye to the city. The urbane rumble and billboards that fill our heads with dreams that are not ours, and the summer heat.

But for now, we wait, and a noisy car passes and Willow lifts her head up from the blanket she is napping on, glancing at me from the other end of the couch. She licks her lips as she wakes herself up and her eyes grow wider. We will go outside at lunch Willow, just after I’ve finished writing this, and we will watch the butcherbirds and listen to their song. The same butcherbirds we listened to together in the forest years ago.

And as beautiful as they are, their songs are not the same – the butcherbirds in the backyard.

Willow stands up and stretches, her legs tremor as she arches her back.

In the city you’ll find Zebra Finches in tiny cages, and in the springtime their owners will hang those cages under porches outside. In the outback the Zebra Finches are found in swarms, and in the summertime they travel thousands of kilometres in-land before the rains come.

And how they know where to go I will never understand – and for all the charts and compasses I own I have found myself here, in a house in the suburbs, with a map on the wall taunting me with places we will never go.

Well not just yet anyway..

So for now, we wait – on an afternoon like this – and I hope that the world will be ready, and that the borders will be open, and the people will be safe – for that day that the three of us drive off in our little home on wheels.

Willow perches herself on a stack of magazines on the shelf at the end of the couch. She trills as if to say look at me! And I know very well that if I reach for another puzzle she’ll swipe at me!

So another cup of tea it is..

* * *

I hope you’ll excuse me for dwelling for a moment, but sometimes it’s important to let it all out, you know? You’re welcome to dwell with me – what’s something you’re missing right now?

I wrote this as a two part exercise in sharing an afternoon each with a distinct mood. I will share the other one with you soon (it will be a lot more uplifting, I promise!). Thanks for reading!

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