The L-boards had been on these cars forever, from the day of registration through every premium of insurance renewal and the expired learners' licences. I walk past dust scrawls of graffiti on windshields that have neither been wind whipped nor water-wiped in its long days that are as motionless as itself. These walks save me becoming that stationary and I'm grateful.
I wonder why the black emergency water tank weeps at night. All those leaking tears of water, left over from Sunday carwashes, snubbed crow beaks and feet muddy from barefoot play flow in invisible sheets over white letters that glow sintex in the telltale glow of streetlamps. It takes the angle of my view from the stone bench to see the water for it is as inconspicuous as it would be if tears fell through ears. But if tears could be meditative, these were, streaming out serenely, unconvulsed by sobs and sorrowful thoughts.
Is it the ghosts of children's play, abandoned to obey maternal cries of meal time, that makes this place so eerie, with empty swings swaying deliriously with its own weight.
Event Ants tread warily, sniffing their way around fallen blackberries past laid to waste by a summer that takes back all the life it gives. Brambles litter the ground, broken free by hands that reach higher and higher into the tree with every passing month. If I should have an unobscured view of the starless sky from beneath the tree these hands should grow faster than the trees.
Who has raked these leaves? Why sweep them together into vacuum-pumped piles only to leave hollow echoes for bats to graze between. The stand there sentinel-like, bonfire-expectant.
But when a breeze ruffles its head, a solitary twig lifts itself upright against the chidings of stem and flutters in delight, like a mastless flag frozen in a disobedient moment before sinking black to horizontal sleep. Suddenly I hear his laugh, that surprised laugh that was the only recognition I was allowed whenever I returned to him, unfailingly, predictably. His delight never did escape the clutches of levity into the civil clothing of words. His laugh was an incomplete sentence that has left me a lifetime of strained guesswork and unsatisfactory fill-in-the-blank answers.
And when I walk back through l-boards wearing thin with every loan instalment paid, the black tank isn’t the only one watering sleepless seconds with tears that cause the past to sprout to life in places where the present dies unfulfilled.
6 months ago