Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Mind Most Austerly

A loves observing the life of others from her vantage point on the tenth floor. People rarely look up to see her spy upon them. One day, she spots a foreign family from her building - they are French-speaking - she has met the father and daughter before, they've taken the same lift up. The family is out on one of the footpaths outside her building, the parents, one at each end of a skipping rope, twirling it for their daugher - eightish, in a pink cap - to skip. Without warning, A's heart is stabbed by recognition, understanding, memories, sadness, pain, the beauty of life. She feels, all the way up to her balcony, their collective loneliness - in a strange country, no family, no family friends, who else would twirl the rope - as well as their heart-breaking resolve to remain brave, upbeat: so what that our daughter has no-one to skip with, no-one to twirl the rope for her, we'll twirl it for her ourselves, now that the evenings are already lit with the unbearable beauty of the white nights that await us, our daughter will have the experience of having skipped rope all evening when she was eight and wore a pink cap.


nmj said...

This is quite lovely. I'm feeling the pain too, that wee girl having no one to skip with . . . I think you should go out and play with her!

Anna MR said...

Hei love, yes, I felt like shouting from the balcony, Hello, do you want to come for some coffee, and I'd like to skip rope too. But then I came to my senses - I mean, they might have just been enjoying some "quality time together" (do they use that phrase in the UK, they overuse it to death here, it means that instead of ordinary everyday things like eating meals and arguing about bedtimes with your kids, you are supposed to have something extra-special together - like go to various f*cking wonderlands etc) - anyway, I knew I might just be misinterpreting and anyway, tenth floor is quite a way up. They would have thought I was crazy, I thought, and they may have been right.

Good to have you back, nmj. I keep saying that and it keeps being true.

nmj said...

anna mr, even if they weren't lonely and were simply having quality time, i would have seen it the same way as you and felt sad; i think viewing them from the tenth floor adds poignancy. 'quality time' is also used here, but it has become almost sarcastic in its usage, it has been so overused! like most of these types of phrases, i think it comes from usa.