Sunday, December 13, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Crawl

It's boiling hot in the car. She swings into a parking bay,switches off the engine and looks around. Her eyes are drawn to a young 'hip' couple. He, pale dreadlocks, cool sunglasses and tattoos, unpacking a mountain bike from the back of his truck. She, already strapped into rollerblades, tanned, also tattooed and wearing a short tight skirt with flat tanned midriff proudly on show. She notices that they are not a couple but rather a trio and smiles at the pink tongue hanging out of their friendly dog's face. The dog is tethered and ready for a race around the lake.

She groans out loud at the thought of moving that fast. She flips the lid on the center console and digs around for her Walkman radio. She untangles the cord of her 20 year old walking companion and anxiously flicks the "ON" button. She fumbles the ear phone into her ear and smiles for the second time. It works! Well it's battered, but it works and she's hanging on to it because it picks up AM radio stations.

There is no delaying it now. It's time to get out of the car and get walking. Another groan escapes as she ambles to the path. The couple with the dog whizz by in a whirl. She watches them speed further and further away until they are just specks. They disappear out of sight and are replaced by a steady stream of speedsters on bikes, running, jogging and rollerblading.

A young woman shouts "Bike!" loudly in her ear and whizzes by. She mentally flips the bird in the direction of the rapidly disappearing girl. That makes her feel better and she smiles her third smile.

She thinks "I am so slow. I can feel my blood cells sticking together lazily, as they oozily bump into each other".

But then she notices the wind in the trees, the Willy Wag-Tails on the wire fence and the cool avenue of shady trees stretching out before her. She leaves her weary slow methodical walking body and is transported.

An old favorite song comes on the radio. She picks up the pace. She smiles and nods to passersby. There are too many smiles to count now. She is in the zone. She notices the water, the swans and the ducks and the pleasant change in temperature that the branches overhanging the path bring. She looks forward to the next shade zone and the next.

Up ahead is the ramp that leads to the bridge that spans the Freeway. Her legs take her up there. She has never been off the path before, so this is unexpected. She admires the sky blue sky and the tall bright white arches of the bridge.

Traffic streams underneath her and she is unnerved. At the other side she sees a wide expanse of lawn and a cricket pitch. To the side is a large shady tree with a bench underneath it. She makes a "B" line for it. Nearby she spies a rather large lizard lying quietly on the grass. She creeps up only to find a torn shred of leopard skin patterned polyester. A shiver runs through her as she imagines how it came to be there. What violent or lustful action has taken place on that bench she wonders? She turns on her heel and makes her way back over the bridge and back to her car. The couple with their friendly dog has long gone. She eases herself into the driver's seat, turns off the Walkman, and flings it into the console ready for next time. No small wonder it's battered she thinks.