A day can take you a lot of places, even when you don’t really go anywhere at all.
Today at the bus stop I was reading a library book my husband picked out for me. Love with a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche is a memoir about an adventursome couple who sailed from the USA to Australia via all sorts of Pacific Islands. I am still at the sea-sick stages of their journey (hers not his), but even with the graphic descriptions of ocean going illness, reading sun kissed tales of sailing off of Mexico whilst standing at a frosty Edinburgh bus stop with your feet freezing to the ground does make the other life tempting.
Cover for Love with a Chance of Drowning, Torre DeRoche
My reading was interrupted by the arrival of a little mittened girl with her grandmother. We chatted about the neighborhood – how great the park is, how annoying the overflowing bins are, how great the nearby library is and how little parking there is for locals. I told the little girl I was impressed at her wearing her hat. My son I told her throws his off immediately. She told me Jack Frost was here and pulled her mittens on securely.
The grandmother asked me my sons name and when I told her she said: ‘Raphael, we know Raphael don’t we Katie.’
Katie nodded enthusiastically and the penny dropped. This was the Katie and her grandmother my husband reported regular play times and chats with at the playground. Katie told me how Rafa likes the shute (slide) and often has dirty knees. Katies mother does not like dirty knees, but Rafa’s mum and dad don’t mind. I recalled being told that some days Rafa plays enthusiastically with Katie, other days he ignores her in favor of boys kicking balls. Boys will be boys. I was delighted to get this little glimpse of my boys out and about in the world and to meet some of their new friends.
The grandma and I smiled over the coincidence of meeting in this way and agreed that we do indeed live in a village.
My bus ride takes me out to the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary. I don’t have an appointment today, just an errand to run. In the week before Christmas I was struck by a big case of baby brain. I organised the baby, my husband and some friends to attend Christmas carols only to turn up a day late, I got my work schedule tangled up and got a call from my manager ‘checking in’ due to my no show and I caught the wrong bus home and had to walk a good distance with pre-Christmas groceries.
This was all topped on Christmas Eve when I attended my 20 week ultrasound out at the Royal. With my husband running a little behind, I left my phone out when the scan began. The baby measured up against whatever measures are important for a 20 week old bun in the oven and Jon and Rafa arrived in time to get a glimpse of the new family member.
After the scan we headed off to do some Christmas Eve grocery shopping and it was not until we loaded ourselves back in the car that my brain pinged that something was wrong. I searched through my backpack in the dark of the car for my phone, but came up empty handed, but I reasoned, I could easily have missed it in the miasma of my bag.
I told my husband about my suspicions when we parked at home. He called my phone from his and we listened to the ominous silence. Upstairs I upended the bag and found nothing. I recalled clearly setting my phone on top of the bag on the chair next to the scan bed in case Jon rang. Jon and Rafa had come into the semi dark room, moved the bag to sit without seeing the phone, which had no doubt toppled quietly to the floor. My focus was on saying hello to Rafa and on watching the new bub bob about on the black and white screen.
When we rang the hospital someone went on a search for us with the aid of a cleaners keys. The phone was not in the room. It might be in the office, but it was after five on Christmas Eve, (Wednesday) and nobody would be back until Monday. My stupidity clanged in my head. This was my first ever grown up phone, I had no insurance and while it was probably locked safe in a drawer, it could be anywhere! And I could do nothing about finding it or replacing it for four days.
Rover and Rafa on Christmas Day, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, 2014
This morning (Monday) I woke up with a mission, go out to the Royal and seek out my phone. When I laboriously checked my emails (on my computer rather than on my phone as I am used to doing) I made a happy discovery. Along with the fifteen junk emails from Amazon there was a note from my radiographer to say she thought I had left my phone! I blessed her from my bed, she needn’t have tracked down my email and sent me word of my phones safety, but she did.
My mission was successful. The world would soon be at my fingertips once more. All I needed was a power point to recharge the sad inanimate lump.
Returning from my late morning outing to the hospital the bus passed though some streets still cloaked in frost. I mused that no matter how nice the houses, living in the shadow of Blackford Hill would not be a pleasant thing in December. I could see the sun tinting other houses golden just over the way, but here Jack Frost was most certainly at work.
After a bowl of soup in Morningside I took myself to the library to catch up on my emailing and reading for the You Won’t Remember This project. I had the work of two poets (Australian and Scottish) to read and some correspondence with writers from India and Canada.
Spending time with the writing of adventuresome parents tugged at me just as the sailing memoir had at the bus stop. My life just now is exciting, but it is the suburban parent excitement of watching Raphael get his knees dirty at the park and of a new life growing in my belly. Life is about catching the right bus home so I can splash with Rafa in the bath and chat with my husband about their day, and find out if Rafa was nice to Katie.
It is good to have those adventures tugging at me, keeping me pondering where we will spend next Christmas.