Image: Cristian Calzone
It shouldn’t be this hard.
It shouldn’t be this hard to remove the doonas. It shouldn’t be this hard to walk to the kitchen. It shouldn’t be this hard to put the pyjamas in the washing basket. It shouldn’t be this hard to walk the 280 metres to the train station.
But it is hard. Today it’s hard.
And it’s a minor miracle that I arrive – ten minutes late as has once again become my habit – but ten minutes late is better than not at all, especially when transferring myself onto my floorboards was an achievement in and of itself only 48 minutes ago.
It’s so easy.
On days like this it’s so easy to forget. It’s easy to forget that life is wonderful. It’s easy to be sucked up into the blanket of grey that smothers the skyline. It’s easy to lose sight of those whom you love. It’s easy to forget that which you love.
Today is easy and today is hard, so here’s something I, quite literally, prepared earlier – for when today came.
We’re sitting here, utterly mesmerised. The next day I seek out the melodies which have been reverberating between my thoughts and I press play.
Who are we? Just a speck of dust within the galaxy?
Another day spent facing the computer – a computer which has nearly caught me crying on numerous occasions – is eased as I plug my headphones in and I drown it all out.
Turn the page, maybe we’ll find a brand new ending, where we’re dancing in our tears.
These two voices – a naïve whisper and an unashamedly confident croon – accompany me as I step into the carriage. They’re there as I walk the new path of my mornings. They’re there as I type. They stay with me as I sit up into the early hours of the morning.
I thought I saw you out there crying, I thought I heard you call my name.
Three weeks on repeat will no doubt mean that these songs become entangled with the soundtrack of this point in my life. And I know that there could be a time in the future when listening to these songs will bring back memories which sting.
But are we all lost stars, trying to light up the dark?
But for now that’s ok. I click back to the first track because I want to Begin Again.
It has been a long time since I did this. How have I neglected this for so long?
I don’t know where I am going, and that’s part of what makes it so beautiful; everything is new and fresh as I stroll along foreign streets lined with terraces, restored in a palette of chic neutrals with charcoal accents.
My eyes drink it up as they are flooded by the first downpour of the new season sunshine.
Left or right?
I turn down an unfamiliar road, my eyes salivating as I drag them past confections of silk and immaculate tailoring.
I stop to meander through vintage homewares and pat a patient Labrador. I’ve missed this.
A tiny hive of activity catches my eye from across the road and the waft of the acoustic guitar draws me in.
Providores and gourmands artfully display their creations. Handmade bagels. Saucisson et pâté français. Lovingly hand-crafted duck egg blue ceramics. Les fromages. Basil-infused olive oil. Les petits cannelés. Fresh fruit and vegetables shine beside layers of eggs.
We squeeze our way between Labradoodles and renowned designers and artisans, awash with this apéritif of spring.
And I return to this dappled street with an irrepressible smile playing across my lips, drinking it up as I wander home.
“It was only made for one Alex,” I explain, glancing up at the little kaleidoscope of colour which is doing its best to shelter us.
The streets are slicked in puddles of inky mirrors, speckled with ripples, which we negotiate as we meander down the incline, passing restaurants which we make a mental note to visit and the glare of a lone kebab store, littered with the remnants of the evening.
The others are well ahead of us now as we dawdle along the pavement, the little parapluie trembling as you hold it above us.
“Let’s take this shortcut,” you motion towards an alleyway of roller doors and backyard fences.
Our footsteps echo upon the tarmac, an oily pinky-purple as it reflects the glow of the light at the end of the street.
Branches lean over their fences, providing some momentary shelter as our heels clack past.
We’re nearly there now, but before we round the corner we stop.
We stop and now it’s just you and I, under this umbrella, standing in the rain.