28 February 2014

The Apogee

On breezy evenings I open my balcony and front door and the wind flurries through. Singapore is hot and humid all the time and I like to freshen up my tiny apartment with wafts and drafts whenever I can. My English neighbours from across the hall are like-minded and on occasion little Liam wanders in and we sit and chat. Liam is nearly five years old and he loves Postman Pat and chocolate ice cream and his little brother Daniel.

I was sitting on my sofa this evening feeling self absorbed and pithy. My daughter Charlotte has been visiting me from Australia and her departure yesterday has left me feeling all wistful and lonely and morose. Liam walked in dressed in his Fireman Sam pajamas and he asked me straight out why I was looking so sad. We don't muck around with small talk and idle chit chat. I told Liam that my baby girl had gone home and I missed her a lot. In a moment of tenderness and benevolence and kindness – and in a flash of innocence that only a five year old possesses - Liam gave me an almighty hug.

It was as welcome as it was unexpected.

He then asked me if Charlotte was the pretty lady who had been staying with me and I told them that she was. He informed me that only the day before he had come over and Charlotte had given him a glass of milk and a biscuit and she had read him a story. She hadn't mentioned it to me. Liam told me that he thought that my daughter looked like a princess and she made him laugh. I couldn’t help but smile. Charlotte is all grown up now and her potential is enormous. It is dazzling. My love for her is infinite and boundless and unequivocal. It is unconditional.

At Liam's suggestion we made a cubby out of old sheets and we sat in it and watched Postman Pat together on my big screen television. We drank chocolate milk and Liam explained to me who all the characters were. He taught me the Postman Pat song. His dad Warwick poked his head in early on in the piece and Liam asked him if it would be alright if I came over for a sleepover. It was one of those moments that I could contain neither the tears nor the laughter and I tried in vain to blink away the wetness that clouded my eyes. 

Life is full of ups and downs and peaks and troughs and moments of tenderness that take my breath away. There are climactic times when clarity and peace and joy strike like a thunderbolt and one sits above the clouds. This was such a moment and it was an apogee of sorts. The empathy and virtuosity of little children astounds me at times.

It really does.

After awhile Liam fell asleep and I picked him up and carried him home and I put him into his own bed. He was clutching his Power Ranger effigy tightly in his little fist – the yellow one. He told me once that it his favourite thing. He roused as I lay him down and as I bent over to tuck him in and I planted a goodnight kiss on his forehead - he handed me his Power Ranger and he told me that I could keep it. He told me not to be sad anymore and that he was my friend. The little figurine is standing up on the table next to me now as I write this. I am welling up again and I will return it to Liam tomorrow.

I feel all right now though. I feel good in fact - despite the fact that I can't get the bloody postman Pat song out of my head. He has a black and white cat you know. It is driving me me mad.

Everything is going to be OK though. 

I feel myself again and all is going to be just fine.

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