Sunday, 18 July 2010
Two weeks earlier, my flatmate and I were both up insanely early - she didn't need to be, but wanted to give me a send-off for my trip. I left the cat snoozing under the warm covers. Oh-dark-thirty, a glance out the kitchen window told us the taxi was early. Gulp down the tea, heave luggage out the door. She helped me with the bags and waved enthusiastically as the taxi driver attempted to reverse out of the driveway and ended up making mud off the edge of the concrete.
Then, it was a happy occasion. And it was a wonderful trip, as you'll know if you've read my recent Friday posts.
Just one day after I got back, my flatmate got news that her mother is battling cancer. Quickly, she booked a flight to leave the country and be with her. Sooner than anyone could have imagined, we were both up insanely early again, both dragging bags out to the taxi again, where the driver inquired whether I'd had a good holiday.
He mangled the grass strip again on his way out. Anyone'd think the concrete wasn't wide enough. But as I waved my friend away and turned to go inside, shut out the cold and get back in my bed where the cat still waited, I pondered how two situations that looked so much alike could be so utterly different.
I suppose my point is that no matter what you see with your eyes, the facts of the matter can vary greatly. In part, this is what we do as writers: we observe, and add a different background to the same actions we have seen from the people around us. Or we place the scenario in an invented world. What if the house were a space station and the taxi were a shuttle? Suddenly the grip of winter seems more ominous, as if it could come close to the icy vacuum of space. Perhaps it is as close as one may come in these parts.
And so the endless cycle of greetings and partings goes on, and who knows what it will bring? I've got three spare bedrooms now...