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Monday, March 21, 2011

Hugs and Kisses

Last Wednesday we had an errand in the coastal village where we lived until just over a year ago. We were there six years, loved it, but always wished it were a little closer to the town ringed by mountains which we came to in 1994 and have returned to now. We still wish the two were a fraction closer! We get back to the coast every Friday, to the writers’ group, but that doesn’t leave a lot of time over.

So on Wednesday, after completing our errand, we had coffee and cake in the newly re-opened Courtyard Café. It closed down when the old general store in its historic building succumbed to competition from a supermarket chain. But it’s all turned out well. Half the old building became the new home for the organic greengrocer. Now, months later, the other half has become the kitchen and shop counter for the café, under new management. I don’t know what they’ve done exactly, but the café itself looks revivified, though it still has the same tables and chairs with the same trees around them.

The sun was shining. We had no need to hurry. The coffee was good and the cake delicious. The waitress/manager was helpful and happy. My Beloved relaxed with the daily paper, left out for customers. I wrote a small poem:

Coffee in the courtyard.
The low buildings,
the palms and frangipani,
the warm autumn sun
make me feel I’m in Darwin
or Bali, or Nepal.
‘It would be nice to be there,’
my companion says.  Yes,
and it’s nice to be here.

I have spent time in all those places, and sometimes hunger for them, but on that day in those surroundings … well, the poem says it.

After that we had a look in the Opp Shop. Himself found a nice shirt good as new. I found two more clowns for my small collection. Normally I get a Pierrot and Columbine pair — not necessarily created as a pair, but I can match them up that way. This time I found something different: two boys in tartan trousers and tam-o-shanters, smiling twins. They were undoubtedly created at the same time, to be together!

Then we started for home, a half hour’s drive. I decided to take the coast road — almost as quick, and much prettier.  I realised we would pass the house of the Lady Who Lives with Fairies, and had an impulse to visit.

‘You stay in the car,’ I said, ‘While I see if she’s home.’ At first I thought she wasn’t, but then she opened her door. Her greeting was less exuberant than usual.  ‘We were passing,’ I said. ‘And I had an urge to drop in. Is it convenient?’ She hesitated, then said that it wasn’t really: she’d only just got home after taking her son to the airport. I waved my Spouse back into the car.

The Lady Who Lives with Fairies apologised as she hugged me. ‘That’s all right,’ I said with a smile, kissing her cheek, ‘Obviously I came to give you a kiss.’ We drove home happily through tall trees.

Later that day I made a quick dash into our little town to get a few things from the shops. I was walking up the ramp in the shopping centre as the Pink-Haired Musician was coming down. Seeing me, she threw her arms open wide, so I walked right into them and we had a big hug.

‘I needed that!’ she said, and told me she was on her way to Court, where she was acting as an advocate for her son who is mentally ill. It’s a complex situation that’s been going on a long time. She said, almost matter-of-factly, that each time it tears her heart out. We had another hug.

‘It’s my day for hugging people!’ I told her. ‘That’s my job today.’ I was filled with delight. What better job could there be?

Next day I had an email from the Lady Who Lives with Fairies, saying, ‘I was so low today I couldn't invite you in as I really can't talk about the pain I am feeling...but it gladdened my heart to know you had been prompted to come for a visit.’ (She hurts for her son, who has many troubles.) So I knew I was right — I did go there especially to give her a kiss. I’m sure I was indeed prompted.

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