We had to make a trip to the shopping centre earlier today. Going up the lift, all five of us: pram, baby in arms, bags, holding hands. An elderly man entered the lift. We stood silently for a moment.
You’ve got your hands full, he said, looking at the children.
Yes! We smiled.
We looked around politely trying to avoid each others’ reflection in the elevator mirrors.
It beeped and the doors opened.
We had six! He said. Then smiled and walked away.
I watched him with his sports bag, heading towards the swimming centre and imagined him doing a few slow laps up and down the pool. Turning his head to breathe. Pulling his arm through the thickness of the water and perhaps pausing every now and then at the end to clean his goggles or check the time. I imagined his six children, grown up and moved out and on and with families of their own.
As I type this I’m home alone, KB has taken the girls to the park so I can clean the house, which is our number one priority whenever one of us gets a moment alone. Says me, as I sit at my laptop and type… I have put a few things away (scoffs). As I have moved from one room to another, just me, I’ve felt my feet on the floor, my hands folding linen, my knees as I’ve knelt down to pick up toys and place them in a basket.
Me, just me.
I’m still here, underneath and in amongst and surrounded by this. Patiently waiting: quietly, non-hurriedly.