One of my favourite things about a recent trip to our hometown was walking routes I used to pace while pregnant with our first child and then, pushing prams for fresh air. Nostalgic? A bit.
Anyway, seeing our old house undergoing a major renovation made an impact.
Probably best not to give up my day job anytime soon. Waffling. Here goes.
Paved pathways, leading nowhere
meander through low maintenance pebble gardens,
sprout alien-like succulents
of pernickety pensioners’ townhouses in Awamoa.
Broken plastic ride on toys, once loved now abandoned
lie strewn on functional front sections
alongside ripped trampolines and surplus junk mail
of North End state houses.
Terracotta Burrelli pots, painstakingly manicured topiaries,
repressed box hedging and tamed native grasses
frame front doors and line the paths
of mortgaged-to-the-hilt, (so) here-for-the-long-run
Flags fly proudly from balconies, surveying million-dollar views
up the coast and over limestone buildings
testimony to the town’s prosperous past
of comfortable South Hill homes.
Sturdy wrought iron fences donning fancy fretwork
border the frontages of historic homesteads
recently restored by descendants of canny Scots and entrepreneurial English
at central Oamaru residences.
On Friday, a lavishly large, freestanding bath
Waited regally, biding its time in the carport
Of our old house.
On Saturday, the cedar-clad, black bifold window,
view embracing extension
loomed over me as I paced the streets below,
craning my neck to imagine.
On Sunday, the cholate brown kitchen bench lay upside down
in the front garden where the cherry blossom once fluourished
by the front gate.
On Monday, I spied you through the front window
huddled over a laptop,
crunching numbers for the reno
in my old office as tradies’ vans lined the street.
I hope you left the kids’ playhouse.
Is our wedding tree thriving?
And do the trees planted for the boys’ naming days
exist, nurtured by placenta and fertilised with love?
Would we, could we, have achieved this transformation?
Could I, should I, ask for my windchimes
left, accidentally by the back stairs, when we moved on?
On Tuesday, we drive home,
wishing you well.
Do you remember?
Flying down the hill on your black motorbike,
little legs striding,
beanie pulled firmly over your ears to protect them from the wind,
bright blue gumboots pounding the pavement.
My heart beats wildly.
“Slow down!” I yell
You turn around.
Impish grin, baby teeth
and skidder to a halt.
Take the short cut through well-tended gardens,
Zoom over the ramp past the District Council’s imposing entrance
accidently triggering the automatic doors.
Heads turn inside
but you’re already gone.
I’m jogging behind,
you’re too far ahead.
The library doors glide calmly open –
they’ve seen it all before.
The little black motorbike is parked inside,
just like I showed you to.
Nobody shushes you.
You are 3.
You are invincible.
Do you remember?