Here to there
|Artist: Aurel Schmidt|
My favourite part of the day is walking to work. Everyday, I take the same route.
Everyday, my work heels rub and my bag carves into my shoulder, heavy with laptop and books and clutter. So while others march past, I wander.
Past dark, closed shops with mannequins pinned into loud frocks, expensive price tags hidden. Past sleeping nightclubs, men in overalls hosing off the pavement (probably vomit from the night before). Down past the market, yawning and stretching in the throes of waking up. The familiar stomach-turning smells from the fishmongers, bloody carcasses swinging from great hooks, shop workers unlocking padlocks and rolling up screens.
Sometimes I stand in line for a coffee, the barista young and awkward, tall with shaggy dark hair and fumbling hands. If I was 17, I'd be in love. Then past the entrance to a tiny, hidden park, just a patch of grass really. It feels old. The way graveyards feel. I pass the same old man with a young boy, the same kid overtakes me on his skateboard. We run to a routine.
This used to be the poor part of town. Now it's one of the most expensive parts of the country. Most of the houses aren't big, but they have character. Wooden villas all versions of each other, lovingly detailed by builders who used to care. Most are picture perfect, but there are still some with peeling paint and rusty fences.
You can tell a lot about someone from their garden. Most are trimmed green handkerchiefs of grass. One has an old car on cinderblocks; their curtains are always closed. One has sculpted trees like bobble heads, everything in that garden is creepily symmetrical and immaculate. My favourites have flowers winding through the fences, overgrown gardens and big leafy trees. It's the flowers that slow me down.
Blood red, velvety roses the size of saucers, delicate creamy orbs, sprays of small fragrant petals, gentle purple and geometric ones, pure white lilies as soft as skin, with stamen so large and erect and luridly yellow they seem faintly obscene. I stop for each of them. Mostly, I don't know the names. That doesn'tmatter.
Everyday, they remind me there's beauty all around me, I just have to look.