meandering - funny how i can even find the words
Friday, October 01, 2004
the clean smell of talcum powder. a small black book filled with years and years of x loto numbers, written neatly in rows. putting on lipstick while sitting in front of the dresser. malt flavoured milo and brown bread. quietly opening the linen cupboard in the dark hallway to sneak a sweet smell of neatly folded sheets. the softness of her hands. the beauty in her smile. the love and laughter in her eyes. the sadness i felt the day i looked into them and saw her beginning to give up. how my sadness reflected hers, as if she could read my mind.
i loved to visit my nanna and poppas house. the drive seemed so long then; i know now its only 25 minutes away, but i guess when you're small everything seems bigger than it really is.
standing in the porched doorway. hearing the latch turn in the heavy glass door and seeing her face. she is so pretty.
'hello dear'. she opens the door. my young lips not as soft as her cheek as we kiss her hello, filing past her, down the hall.
i take my shoes off and wriggle my toes in the deep pile of the carpet.
are we thirsty? would we like a glass of lemonade? i have a special glass with painted blue snowflakes on the side and she always remembers. it used to be the glass they'd keep the milk money in. its mine now. we're allowd to pour a dash of cordial into our drinks. green, red or orange, which ever we like.
we have a snack of country cheese biscuits or saladas. later we'll be allowed icecream with milo on top.
we dont help ourselves here. nanna's house requires manners. this is an unspoken rule that we follow without arguement. we would never be rude here. we are all good kids in this house.
'can we please make cubbies?'
of course we can, and we're out in the back room, spreading blankets precariously over groups of chairs and lining the floor beneath them with mattresses that are soft and pliable. you can wrap yourself up in them, and we do. giggling and rocking from side to side. we bump the chairs and the blankets fall down over us. thats ok. we sart the game again and play for what seems like hours.
later, the divan which always fascinates me, becomes two horses. one each. balanced on their sides, the foam hardly giving an inch with our weight. when we lean too much to one side the mattress falls to the ground with a thud. we land softly, roll off and start again. this game is never boring.
the cupboards are full of strange old toys and craft objects made by our mother, aunties and uncle. odd pieces of meccano, marbles, mosaic trivets made of glass stones.
after packing up the back room we venture to the spare room. the built in wardrobe holds many trasures. a ladies old clothes. dresses hanging long and still. i think they're my grandmas. she lives in a nursing home and confuses me with my mum. we dont play with the dresses, we leave them be. on the other side of the cupboard are my grandpas bowls. we dont touch those either. he's dead.
up high are the games. fact finder fun and a disney version of pairs. a crayola caddy with all the colours still in their place.
on the shelves behind the mirrored glass doors of the dresser are miscellaneous make up containers. my favourite is the green and white eyeshadow. i apply it with my fingertips and decide that i must look grown up now. i brush my hair with my favourite hairbrush which is always on this dresser. i brush it till its shiny and soft and walk out to where the adults are drinking cups of tea. no one notices how i look.
it's time to play outside. we head down the back,a round and under the fruit trees and behind the rainwater tank. we've placed smooth round rocks around the wooden base of the tank. we've done this for as long as we can remember but there's still room for more. this means a walk up the road for us, to the house with the rocks. a couple in each hand and we're off again, balancing along the tops of concrete fences all the way home. if we need more we'll go again later.
there are marbles buried in the soft dark soil. pieces of lego and old plastic toys. the dirt smells different here. sweeter, mustier. especially under the over hanging branches of the fig tree. an old rusty wheelbarrow turned upside down serves as the doorbell. spin the wheel and the screetch declares we have a visitor.
the tree in front of the loungeroom window is the best for climbing. there is a special branch just right for swinging. i can swing the highest because i am the biggest. i can also climb the highest. i can see a nest but i wont go near it incase the babies take on my smell and the mummy bird turfs them out. no one should get left behind.
it's possible, if you're careful and clever enough, to walk the entire perimetre of the house standing only on the concrete footing surrounding it. my favourite part is under the carport, around the drain. its a large, round lump of concrete, painted till its shiny. it tickles your feet with withs smoothness. the house is built of laquered rocks of dark brown. theyr'e shiny and strong, yet soft at the same time. the fence is made the same way except for the capping and posts. theses are a rough white concrete that tickles your bare soles in a different way.
we must 'mind the roses' when we climb on the the fence. we are reminded that our mother once fell into the rose bushes when she was younger, and had thorns digging into her all over. we've never fallen. we're too clever to do that.