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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

look up

As I walked towards school to pick up the kids, my eyes were on the sky. It was the blue that dreams are made of, with an airplane cutting through it, a long line of white smoke left behind as a reminder.

Back in the apartment it's lunch time. I have a quiche in the oven, a salad on its way, a table to set, and two kids screaming. The girl comes running towards me with a poster in her hand. She's crying. The boy comes tumbling after, his face as furious as his fists and he tries to hit her on the head. "It's mine!" He yells. "No it's mine!" She retorts. "It's mine," he says again, "you took it off my bed! You're lying!" They won't stop yelling. I cry for them to stop, trying to get her to let go of the poster. She rips it in two. He's enraged. His fists start swinging. I'm screaming too now. He's chasing her. I grab him and take him in my arms, "Don't hit her. I know she stole it. Just don't hit her. I'll tape it up, I promise. Calm down. I'll fix it. We'll sort this out. Just calm down." I did this several times before he finally pouted off to his room. The sister then turned on her angelic face and showed me Christmas ornaments. She can go from evil to cute in a matter of seconds.

Walking back to school the girl started to cry. She forgot her skipping rope at home. More tears, more screaming. I look up at the sky. Still a dreamy blue. I leave her at school with a kiss on the cheek and a promise to take it with me for the park after school.

While they're at school I unwind. I make tea, write emails, breathe. I go buy pains au chocolat for the kids. I prepare a cauliflower gratin that I can throw in the oven before dinner. I talk to the Portugese cleaning lady about cooking and christmas. Then I take off to pick them up at school laden with cookies, the boy's ball, the girl's skipping rope, and a small rolling suitcase of a boy who slept over the night before.

As much as I'd like to tell you I was walking down the street in heels, a long black jacket, and a Hermes scarf tied around my neck, I was actually walking down the street in sneakers, a short white jacket, a wooly scarf, and a flashing Buzz Lightyear suitcase rolling behind me.

A man walks past me and clears the flem out of his throat. He's not subtle.

So I look back at the sky. Still blue. More trains of smoke from airplanes that have come and gone. Romantic rooftops painted gold by the mid-afternoon sun.

Back at the park the girl runs away when I try and zip up her jacket. Then she hits another girl with her skipping rope, refuses to apologize, and runs away again.

Suddenly I'm chasing her, "Where are you going? I just want to talk. All you have to do is apologize." It lasts forever. She gives me dirty looks. Eventually I catch up to her and get her to smile. We both laugh. She starts talking to me about a time she did the best drawing in class. I get her to walk back to where we were, to get cookies. Still, she refuses to apologize.

I look up at the sky. It's a darker blue and the clouds have been lit up in a soft pink glow. Even the trains of smoke from the airplanes are pink. An orange tree on the hill glows. The yellow leaves that remain on the barren trees are suddenly gold. The air gets colder, and we walk back in the dark, street lamps lighting the way.

After homework, dinner, baths and several stories I head back to my apartment wrapped up in my scarf, an issue of French Elle tucked under my arm.

The blue sky is gone, but I'm still looking up.

5 Comments:

Blogger baylor said...

Oh Gill, how you inspire me so...

ps- the Buzz Lightyear suitcase image is too cute...

12:41 PM  
Blogger Wenda said...

Gill, I find this post especially poignant. I am moved by it. I am also impressed with how it seems to capture the essence (or at least part of the essence)of your au pair en Paris experience.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Be wary of a return to Ryerson, Gill. They are going to rob you of your exquisite writing. It would be a shame.

5:18 PM  
Blogger picapine said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Gill... a posted answer to your question on my blog...


-j.

Gill, i don't know what to say. I only have one class this semester that is journalism — featurewriting. So, yeah. Next semester i have one elective instead of 3 and 3 journalism instead of one.

Here's the thing though... I don't want to be a journalist. I would leave, Gill, if it weren't for the people and the eyeopener. I would be back studying poli sci.

The selfish part of me wants you to get your ass back here. But it is ALL journalism from here on in, and I will use that as a base for a master's or something... you've got to decide what you'll use it for.

8:53 PM  

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