Sights for sore eyes
So we were having breakfast at Pepper Cafe with Dan this morning, watching half the neighbourhood pass by on their way to the shops or up the steps at the train station heading into town for the Essendon and Carlton game when an Easter Bunny who was eight foot tall appeared.
"Helloooooo! I'm Jive Bunny and I'm here to thank you for shopping locally! Have an Easter Egg!" She was clearly on stilts and had thighs that - no, not me this time, but Sapphire - said reminded her of Hannah Gadsby. In other words, they were 'womanly' and assisted in this case by a sumo-suit fan.
For some reason this caused my eyes to tear up. I realised that I knew her; knew half the people who were taking photos including the old dude with the oxygen tank on wheels and the druggie couple who said, "Any fags in that basket of yours, Easter Bunny?" and the family across the road who were doing their damnedest to stop their youngest from becoming a blonde pancake on the road in his quest to run up for his share of the chocolate spoils.
It was the second time that morning I'd cried in public. The first was during my run around Debney Oval.
The Achilles has healed up a treat and it's been wonderful to actually run alongside Sapphire this past fortnight instead of walk, but today she met her friend Tao and they strolled around chatting as Milly and I surged ahead and even lapped them a few times.
By lap eight (or 4.8km by my reckoning), I flopped on the park bench by the wheelie bins, tried to ignore the condoms and KFC wrappers nearby and waited for the girls. An elderly Asian couple power-walked by. I said, "Good morning," like I do to anyone that I pass by on that oval (the shared camaraderie of anyone 'getting out there' and walking or jogging when they could be sleeping in is always worth a greeting in my book) and the man started singing.
"I am from Hong Kong," he yelled. "British Hong Kong. Army song, see?" He did a march on the spot to show me.
"Nice one," I said.
"My wife...." he gestured, as she'd continued on ahead, "Is my new wife. .She Chinese. Communist!"
"Ah," I replied, "But it looks like you're happy?"
"VERY! Ho is my name. Like Ho Ho Santa! My wife is beautiful and I happy!" And off he walked, still singing, to catch up with her. To her credit she neither looked surprised or embarrassed and waved cheerily to me from the shade of the plane trees.
The young couple playing a rather relaxed game of touch rugby on the grass smiled. "Interesting bloke," the girl said.
"I want whatever it is he's having," I said, clicking on Milly's lead and hoping that they wouldn't see my eyes welling.
After lunch, it was all systems go at our place. Love Chunks was No More Gapping in the bathroom, drilling in the shed and planning the meal for tonight. Sapphire was in her room, bravely going through what needed to go into the Garage Sale pile, the Keep At Grandparents pile and Suitcase Headed for Geneva pile. My job was clean Skipper's hutch, tidy up the back yard and weed the front garden.
Our fence is pretty tall and through the chinks I saw a BMW four wheel drive pull up. No-one we know has such a car. The window was down and he was speaking as loudly as my new friend Ho.
"Look, I don't want to come home right now. I've had it; this is the end for us. I'm tired, you're tired and we both need to face the facts. We're over."
I was in a bind. I desperately wanted to stand up and straighten my protesting back but didn't want him to see that I'd witnessed one of the sadder turning points of his life. I made do with an awkward squat-walk to the garbag each time I needed to throw in a handful of weeds. With an internal plumbing system currently under extreme duress every step forward was accompanied with a little 'parp' of exhaust.
After half an hour of recriminations, sighing, accusations and agreement he eventually drove away. To the pub or the divorce court I'm not sure, but I stood up gratefully, hands on my hips and stretching, head bent back looking up at the tree fern.
"I can hear your back crack from here mate," said Mr Divvy Van as he wandered past with a plastic bag of Red Rooster and a six-pack.
I cried again. I love Flemington and as I sob over everything from a forgotten baby photograph lodged behind the printer to a pair of shoes never ever worn, I'm grateful to feel like this. So much better than 'good riddance' or 'thank god we're going.'
Oh bugger it, me eyes are at it again......