I am not sure I can do this, I think, as I stand in the darkness, suspended in time.
It is as if I am frozen, but the rest of the world keeps moving around me.
Where am I?
I know my house is just over there, but I’m not sure I can do this, I think once again.
Just over there being less than fifty metres away.
So close I can almost smell the honey soy chicken wings my beautiful husband has prepared for us.
But for this moment, I don’t know where the footpath ends, and the road begins.
So I stand stock still, and try to listen.
I listen for the space, which means the park is on my left, and just ahead.
I listen for the wind rustling the autumn leaves.
I listen for the car tires slowing down as they slide around the roundabout in the middle distance.
I listen for the unmistakable thunk of the units beside me.
I listen for the gap, which tells me where the jumpy outy tree lives.
I listen to the reseeding footsteps of the person who has just past me in the hope they will provide the vital clue I need for my brain to begin working.
But for now, I am suspended in this space of overwhelm and befuddlement.
My feet will not move, even though I am literally mid step.
And there ladies and gentlemen lay the problem.
I had been doing fine, well sort of, until I had heard the sound of someone else’s shoes approaching from behind.
Originally, they had been on my left, but at the last minute, they had switched to the right.
In turn, this has thrown me completely off my game.
Headlights and taillights zoom past me too and fro, as I try to get my barings.
The sound of the cars only serving to confuse me further.
I want to cry, and can feel the tears pricking the backs of my eyes.
But I will not cry.
I will not cry.
This isn’t worth crying about, I tell myself sternly.
I am so close now.
It is only a walk home.
I can do this, I continue with my inner monologue.
The person with the footsteps is too far away now for me to follow their trail with any kind of surety.
It had all started forty-five minutes earlier when a very self-important mother using her pram as a bulldozer, rather than its intended purpose, almost barrelled me over as I exited the building.
The cityscape has changed in the last eight years since I began regularly coming in and out of the city.
Peak hour has extended in every which way, and everything is busier.
I used to like working late, because it meant the streets would be empty by 7:00PM, but this, this was like lunchtime.
She held that aura of I have a pram, therefore you will move.
In fact, I am so important, that I don’t even need to watch where I am going, it said as she hit my toe without notice.
The projection of her voice as she brushed past told me she was by no means watching where she was going, and nor did she have to.
Apparently, that was everyone else’s responsibility.
I didn’t think too much of it, and continued to tip tap tip tap on my merry way.
Shit like that is always occurring in my world.
I mean what can I expect when in a hustling bustling central business district.
Sometimes I wonder if I am being too precious.
I mean it isn’t as though I am made of glass.
Not physically anyway.
Although sometimes emotionally, I feel like I am going to shatter into a million pieces.
Sometimes the vulnerability is so acute, and so raw, that there is nothing else in my world at that moment other than overload.
It feels as if nothing but the fragility and shyness of a small child exists within me.
It was dark, and everyone around me was eager to get to their destination.
The city was busier than usual I thought, as I tonked tonked tonked down the metal escalator stairs. My cane in one hand and my other resting on the rubber rail for guidance.
Put your listening ears on, I thought as I reached the base.
Unlike most evenings when I finish my job, everyone seemed to be headed in the opposite direction to me.
Just be aware, I gently told myself as I continued to tap across the tiled floor.
Remember the standy uppy rectangular signs in the middle, and the pole slightly to the left, I continued in my inner realm.
Past the fishy smell of the sushi place, the screeching sound of the key cutting place, the cue for the cake place, the silence of the money exchange counter, and so on.
Hmmm, what is it about the Lush shop that seems to make people blind, I wondered as a couple making a b-line for its’ heavily scented entrance crossed my path, and had not batted an eyelid as the man clipped the edge of my stick.
It was as if I didn’t exist.
Do you mind, I asked a little too crossly.
However, it was as if I had not spoken.
That kind of thing was always happening to me outside that particular store.
It didn’t seem to matter what time of day I passed, or how sparse the crowd, someone would always cut me off without acknowledgement.
The tick tack of my cane echoed among the bustle of shopping sounds as I walked.
Sometimes making a tock tock sound if I hit an area, which was hollow underneath.
That in itself was somewhat disconcerting, as I had only begun to notice it in the last few days.
I bet sighties wouldn’t ever guess they were walking over patches of hollow ground; I chuckled as I moved along.
Sometimes it is nice to have one up on them, I smiled, as it so rarely happens.
Even if they don’t know about it.
Music came from all directions, spilling out from shop doorways, cafes, and even overhead.
Each different from the last, but all designed to be loud, upbeat, make you forget your troubles, and spend more money. Thereby creating a cacophony of sound, which shimmied through the atmosphere.
Coffee machines powered, plates clattered, people chattered, and still I walked.
Weaving in and out of the throng wherever possible.
What planet do you live on, I silently questioned the threesome who were walking at the most awkward pace possible and blocking the entire area. Surely, it is not that hard to sense there is someone trying to pass, I thought as I squeezed by between them and another decorative pillar.
Up another set of escalators, I travelled; dink dink dink sounded my cane with every step.
Most of the time, unless I am absolutely shattered, or completely relaxed, I find it easier to walk up and down escalators rather than wait, as you never know what you will find at the top.
And by this, I mean it is usually a crowd of oblivious people, who think that the exit of such conveniences is the best place to doddle, look at their phones, adjust their bags, or generally have a good old hens meeting.
For me, momentum is the key.
Just keep moving.
And own that sucker.
Because if I stop, or have to adjust too many times, it means that the rhythm of echoes I am using to orientate myself within the environment also change and I have to consciously take another hard listen and assessment of the situation all over again
Not that I am not constantly doing that anyway, but it does add another dimension to the cognitive process.
For just as the scenery evolves as you pass, so do the sounds, smells, temperature, and vibe.
When a ceiling is low, the sound is much quicker to bounce, and can almost have an urgent but stifled thud like quality to it.
It comes back quicker than it almost left.
While if a ceiling is super-duper high, as in three or four stories, the sound is more crystalline in its character.
It is slower to respond as obviously, it has further to travel, but somehow it is also more playful as it bounces off a greater variety of surfaces.
However, it was here I was able to relax a little as the crowds thinned slightly, and I could glide along the stout walkway with confidence.
I was on a mission to get home, and sometimes those five seconds I make up by walking a little faster where possible, is the five seconds between hopping on to a waiting train, or having a fifteen-minute wait.
I was minding my own business, and following the same line of the tile pattern as I always do, when things began to unravel.
When it comes to orientation and mobility, most blindies will tell you that consistency is the key.
I follow this particular line, because it makes my life easier.
I follow it because I know there will be no barriers in my path.
I follow it because it always remains the same.
I follow it because it has the best contrast between light and dark.
I follow it because because because…
It is not enough just to walk the same path the same way; it is far more nuanced and intricate a craft.
It is an art, which takes practice, trust, experimentation, humour, and a smokin’ pair of brave girl jeans.
Because holy shit, sometimes it ain’t easy, and it can push you to the limit of human endurance.
Each of us developing our own set of personal cues and tactics to let us know where we are at any given time.
However, the trick is to be flexible enough in one’s approach, that if something as uncontrollable as the weather changes, a girl is not thrown for a loop, and can still get to where she wants to go.
This means understanding how the rain scatters the sound with its drippy drop drops, or how the wind swirls it all around with its chaos.
This is why taking new routes for the first time can elicit a secret internal response of terror.
I know I fret about it for days if not weeks before hand.
I run through scenario after scenario, to make sure I have covered all my options.
But not just the practicality. As in the how many modes of transport, roads to cross café chairs to avoid, toilets to find, stairs lifts or escalators to navigate, doors to count, or any number of other check point items.,
I also have my emotional crap around it to deal with.
I inevitably flip flop about whether or not to attempt it at all.
I will repeatedly talk myself in and out of it, making excuses, justifications, ambitious plans, hopes, dreams, and impossible things.
I use a dizzying array of broken record gnawing’s from my personal embroidery life patterns, and either get over myself, or not.
I cannot tell you how many things I have started with the best and bravest of intensions, only to back out at the absolute last minute due to the fear and anxiety of going somewhere new.
There is so much, which needs to be taken into consideration.
Sometimes I will even make it within a block or building of my chosen venue before I give up and go home.
Although on the same token, when I do make it somewhere new, the sense of accomplishment and pride in myself I feel would be considered inflated or out of perspective to an able bodied person.
And it is that feeling which drives me to try new things.
Because the satisfaction is addictive.
The crowd thickened once again, and person after person either knocked or jumped over my cane at the absolute last second as I arced it back and forth in front of me or side swiped me with their bag or shoulder, but again with no acknowledgement of the interaction.
I wasn’t even sliding it, the way I prefer on those smooth surfaces, because I wanted people to hear me.
I was giving that Parisian inspired bad boy a run for its money.
I know pretty cane, you’re not made for this kind of rough housing, I telepathized as I loudly tapped tapped along.
Tapping actually takes more work than sliding, which is why I prefer not to use that particular technique unless absolutely possible.
Each time I was jolted or jostled, it would reverberate through my being like a harsh reminder of my invisibility.
Not to mention how it affected my stride, my barings, or my sense of safety.
It was as if I were a peace of garbage to be carelessly discarded and kicked out of the way without any thought at all.
Eight or so times this occurred within a fifty-metre stretch.
Finally finally I reached the safety of the way finding markers which would lead me to the ticketing barriers for the train station, and was dutifully following them when some chick in very high tottery heels decided to skip ahead of me, as in literally skip to get in front of me and got her tottery heal caught on my stick.
This was the second time in as many evenings, I thought as she struggled to stay upright.
This time, like most of the others, I swallowed my words, and said nothing.
I just wanted to get home in one peace.
I don’t think she even looked back.
Are you ok, the gate attendant asked as he waved me through the silver gate.
I’m fine, I sighed as I continued along those handy little raised lines strategically placed throughout the station.
I mean what else was I going to say.
Umm, actually I am not. I have had a shit of a walk to get here, and I am not sure I can do this.
That alternative was not an option.
Because that would mean being stuck in Town Hall station forever.
I fantasized about Michael picking me up from work in the car, but that wasn’t going to happen.
As it was, I hadn’t picked Wynyard, which is in the opposite direction, and actually slightly closer, to home because I wasn’t confident with the new renovations there, let alone the directional ticketing barriers. And besides, I would had to have walked the two blocks in the relative darkness and choppy lighting on street level to meet it.
Not to mention who knew what was going on with those George Street road works.
As it was, I hadn’t found the new crossing in the daylight the day before last, so I wasn’t about to attempt it tonight. I had reasoned that if I had chosen that particular option, it would understandably provide more opportunity for people to bump into me.
Therefore my thinking had been, if I took the Town Hall route, which was slightly less in terms of distance, I could avoid all traffic lights and cut under the Queen Victoria Building in the relative safety and ease of a well-lit mall, just as I had done.
However here I was, on the verge of a meltdown.
I had to get home, and the only way forward was forward.
Click click click click my cane sounded as I hastily trotted down the stairs in a bid to hear what the electronic announcement was saying.
There are two trains, which leave from my platform, and then branch off at a certain point.
Where possible, I prefer to only embark once, because it makes life easier.
So it was important I caught at least some part of said announcement.
The problem is though, there are three platforms on that level, and as you descend the stairs, you can hear the muffled low computer generated voice of all the announcements across the network.
Couple this with the stupid multimedia advertisements, and it is not exactly easy to keep track of everything.
Let’s just say, a girl has to have her wits about her.
However just as I reached the bottom, the gentleman before me abruptly stopped, presumably to read the board and I ran into him.
Sorry sir, I said politely as he moved without looking back to see what had happened.
What, no that’s ok, I thought as his imposing figure stepped to the right.
Of course not. Because I don’t matter.
What, you’re not even a little bit curious about what that was between your legs, I continued with my tirade as I turned toward the tracks in a bid to find the next set of navigational markers on the ground.
Through the maze of commuters, I navigated as I made my way down the platform along the breadcrumb trail of raised spotty dotties, which indicate the drop down on to the tracks is near.
I breathed a big sigh of relief as I took up my position in my usual spot; just after the railing and before the white harry Potter door under the next set of stairs, beside the bright orange sign, and approximately thirty paces from where I had begun my entrance on to the long skinny thoroughfare.
Not only was the next train mine, but I had made it through the first part of my odyssey relatively unscathed.
I was a little shaken, but nothing a seat on the train, and the knowingness that I was going home would not fix.
Or so I thought.
I rested my hands on the handle of my cane, which when upright is about chest height.
I had tucked it in nice and close to my body, so that the people walking passed, would not have cause to trip over it, but hopefully they would still be able to see it and thus be mindful of my predicament.
I mean isn’t that part of why I carry this eyesore? As a symbol to others that I don’t see well?
However as the train was pulling in, one tall drink of water managed to kick it with his foot.
Hey, I said before I could stop myself.
You’re really going to hit my cane and not say anything.
By this time he was three paces ahead, but at least had the graciousness to turn and apologise.
Thank you, I responded.
An apology was all I needed.
I didn’t notice you, he replied.
But you have to notice me, I said.
This is a crowded platform, there is a lot going on, and I don’t carry this thing for fun you know, I nervously retorted.
I could barely believe I was saying something.
Let alone the exact snarky unedited commentary that was going through my mind.
I could feel my cheeks flush as I spoke.
I was a shamed of myself, and didn’t even try to make eye contact as the interlude unfolded.
I had other things to worry about.
Things such as the lady in the white skirt who was barging in front of me, risking the safety of herself and other passengers in the process.
Things such as the student beside me who pushed me, causing me to lose balance in that weird way it sometimes happens, where although you know for all intents and purposes you should be upright, but your centre of gravity strangely shifts, and suddenly you are not in control of your faculties. Thus how I found myself almost falling without the ability to stop myself between the train and the platform.
I think it was at this point that the tall drink of water retreated, and found another carriage.
In hindsight, I wish I had done the same.
But I was on a trajectory, and simply needed to find the edge of the door, carefully step up, and then suffer the micro humiliation of asking for a seat.
I am always well-mannered about it, as I don’t think acting like an entitled brat is the answer, but it is by no means the favourite part of my day.
People crowded in and out of the train without regard for one another.
Are there any seats, I asked cheerfully as I entered the vestibule.
At first nobody moved, so I simply held the pole, and held myself together.
I would ask again if need be.
I don’t even try to stand up on a train any more.
Therefore, usually I will do what it takes to gain a chair.
Finally, the little old lady on the opposite side of the carriage said that she would move.
Are you sure, I asked her as I reached for the pole opposite, and began to slide into the seat.
I felt terribly guilty doing so, and hesitated when I realised that she was in fact older than I had originally anticipated.
I will happily give up my seat for the elderly without exception, or pregnant women. However, everyone else can stand as far as I am concerned.
I wondered why nobody else had moved or answered me.
Why on earth would it be the frailest among us who thought it necessary to inconvenience herself and not the seemingly able-bodied person sitting closest to the door I had entered, or any of the other figures surrounding me.
I was busy being baffled, yet again, as I am every time this happens when the little old lady answered with a resounding yes.
I am getting off at the next stop anyway, she continued in a softer tone.
Finally, something must have clicked in the collective, as the onlookers realised that if a little old lady could rise for the disabled woman, then maybe they too should make an effort.
It was as if a ripple of conscience had passed through the group.
everyone was going out of their way to move.
Phrases of sit, here, no sit here, oh no no, I am ok, echoed through the small area, as people rustled and bustled their bags, picked up their jackets, and shuffled their feet.
That is quite a hubbub, I thought, nestling myself into the corner, and fluffing my nest; Placing my cane in an upright position next to me wedged against the railing, where it is out of harm’s way, yet still provides a signal to others that I am not hogging the disabled seat without justification.
So if I don’t respond to your death stairs…
Then I put my backpack under my legs where I knew it was safe, and twisted whichever foot was closer to the cane around its’ base in order to farcin it in place.
Otherwise, it has a notorious habit of falling over at random times.
This is also one of the reasons I wear jeans or shorts if on public transport, as it makes crossing one’s legs rather awkward.
I mean if I wear a dress, then I sort of have to tuck my cane behind my backpack on the floor, along with my feet so I can cross my legs like a lady, but then it exposes my bag, and I don’t feel as safe.
Which in turn then means instead of a backpack I need a large tote, to carry all my crap, and that then needs to sit on the seat next to me, because there is no way I am putting that baby on the floor.
Which in turn means that I take up a little more room than I ought, which causes its own set of problems.
Not to mention, I no longer have a nice big arse tote for such occasions.
Not that it matters, because mostly if I am in a dress, I am with Little, and use her nappy bag for hauling our stuff.
Even though it goes against my cardinal rule, and doesn’t always match my outfit.
But stuff like that happens when you’re a blind mamma, doing the best she can.
I was unusually shaken up as I settled myself for the ride.
So many people had inadvertently touched me in such a short period.
I felt violated and worthless.
Next thing I knew, some lady enters the carriage and decides she needs to sit down.
However, there isn’t enough space for her arse to fit in the seat between the next person and me.
Yet still she insists on squeezing her bum in.
I cringed at her touch, and obvious lack of social etiquette.
She didn’t even say excuse me as she wiggled that thing in, and attempted to push my thigh out of the way with her elbow.
Fuck, I think as my discomfort accelerates at an alarming speed from ewww, to fucking get your body off me bitch before I scream.
Apparently, this lady had no self-awareness at all, and continued to wriggle and squirm, even though her arse was practically hanging off the chair because as I said, there literally was no room for her.
All the while, she looked intently at her phone, and either didn’t notice my presence, or pretended not to notice the person squashed up against the side glass barricading the bench seat from the doorway.
Sometimes people think because you cannot see them that they do not have to see you, and can treat you accordingly.
Surely, she must be able to feel me, I thought, as my stress levels rose to new levels.
This continued for eight or ten minutes, and still I stayed silent.
The truth was I used all my courage on the tall drink of water earlier.
It is difficult to explain, but as a person with a disability, I feel there is an invisible pressure to always take the moral high ground in these situations.
For I know, that unless I present myself well, and with grace, dignity, and eloquence, I am not going to be received by the collective in the same way that an able bodied person suffering the same indignities would be.
People are very quick to blame something on my blindness, rather than the actual problem.
Therefore if I explode, which is really what I want to do, I will be perceived as the mad blind woman, and not someone who is merely having their body space invaded to such an extent that it is bordering on harassment.
Truth be told, I wasn’t sure I could control my tone.
As it was, I felt embarrassed to be in such close proximity to a stranger when it clearly wasn’t necessary.
So I bit my tongue, and hoped to god that she got off the train sooner rather than later.
Because heaven help me if she didn’t.
By this time, I am screaming, as in absolutely howling on the inside with despair, frustration, and fury.
I want to knock her phone out of her hand, I think as she rests her elbow and forearm on my thigh, and cuddles up even closer.
Several times, I go to say something, but I am not brave enough.
What will people think, I think as I open my mouth and then close it again like a guppy.
I find it difficult to confront people when I cannot make eye contact.
And I cannot make eye contact; therefore, it is difficult for me to confront people.
I was enraged at her lack of consideration, yet all I could do was internalise my sense of being violated.
I just needed it to be over.
All of it.
One of the reasons I don’t work late very often, is because I am finding it increasingly difficult to navigate in the darkness.
And although I promised I would never let my blindiness affect my life in such a powerful way, I do.
I absolutely do.
To be honest, I just don’t have the energy to fight.
As it is, knowing that I will have to walk home in the dark is a massive task, which I need to factor into my daily allotment of energy usage.
It is hard enough to find reward within my job, let alone tackling the trip home as well.
Maybe if I was doing something more meaningful, or with a greater cause, then exhausting myself would not be such an issue as there would be a greater payoff.
My best friend Kris says that my putting food on the table, keeping a roof over our heads, and making sure Little is warm is awesome, noble, and beautiful. And I shouldn’t worry about how I go about it, but rather aknowledge that I am doing an amazing job.
This too shall pass.
But things are what they are right now, and it is all I can do to keep it together.
It was a rough walk through the Queen Victoria Building, the Train Platform wasn’t any better, and now this!
I just need some space, I thought as my chest tightened, and my anxiety crept through every cell in my body.
Finally someone else moved, which created a little more room on the bench, so the intrusive lady resettled herself.
But not without causing maximum bodily contact between us.
Just when I thought I had my space back, she rested her upper arm against mine, and her thigh touches me again.
Do you want to sit in my lap? I ask her angrily.
Jesus Christ, you may as well, I continued with my torrent.
She says nothing, but continues to play with her phone as though I haven’t said anything.
Fuck, I think again, but even more loudly to myself.
I want to get off, but that would take so much effort.
The worst thing is the carriage isn’t even particularly crowded. I am fairly certain she would have found a seat either upstairs or down stairs if she had bothered to take a look.
I was seriously considering my options in terms of disembarking and waiting for the next train, when she grabbed her bag, and got off at the next stop.
It was either going to be you or you, me stupid rude bitch, I thought as her lazy arse shadowed across my vision.
It was all I could do not to trip her over on the way through.
Some people have no idea, I thought as I breathed deeply.
However no sooner had I done this, when a businessman sat down beside me, and put his elbow momentarily on my thigh.
This was almost enough to make me punch him in the face.
However luckily for him, he moved it, and must have sensed my edginess, as he was very careful not to let his leg brush against mine, and he was physically broader than the stupid bitch from moments before.
My relief was palpable as he to disembarked two stops later, and then the train announced that it would be an express and the next stop would be mine.
Yay, I thought, as we hurtled through the darkness.
That was a lovely surprise.
I was nearly home, and all I had to do was get through that five-minute walk.
As I stepped off the train, and the cool winter air hit my chest I felt free.
Maybe I should ask a random to walk me home, I mused as I crossed to the scaffolding, which would take me to the lift.
Oh God, I counteracted almost immediately. I can’t be that blindy.
I cannot be the blindy who needs to be picked up from the station every single time, I continued mortified at my previous thought.
I will not be that blindy, I decided as I approached the silver
After all, it was bad enough I was taking the lift in the first place, I continued with my self-talk as I waited quietly.
It wasn’t that long ago that I would scoff at those lift hogs, I thought as the shhhffft of the doors slid open in readiness for their cargo.
The reason I like the stairs is because I feel more in control.
What was I doing here, I asked myself as people began to encroach my body space for the zillionth time.
A lady in a white coat stepped back as she saw me approach, and gave me plenty of room to walk in and find a suitable position near the door for easy access to leave.
I was so grateful to that small act of kindness that I was about to say something when her friend interrupted and started chatting with her in a foreign language.
As I exited the lift and turned left to walk across the concourse, a couple stepped in front of me, and the lady tripped over my stick.
Oh my God, I exclaimed.
You are the sixth or so person to do that in under an hour, and I am just not coping, I tried to explain, as so many people around us had turned to examine the scuffle.
I was being generous, because I didn’t want her to feel bad, I thought as she fumbled and stumbled to get out of my way.
Normally I try to be nicer to the people in my suburb, as you never know when you will see them again.
However, I had been sharper with my tone than I had intended.
Her husband understood, and was very apologetic.
however, within three seconds she managed to find herself in my way and trip over my stick again.
This time I said nothing, but carefully and deliberately walked around her and continued on my way with a big sigh.
The experience had rattled me so much that I couldn’t face swiping my ticket to tap off, and I had been so proud of myself for remembering to tap on earlier.
Still that is not a natural act for me.
However even that I have been nervous about, especially since the drunk guy incident.
Because in my reptilian brain logic, if I tap on while heading home then I am going to have to tap off at the other end, but if I tap off, it will slow me down, and maybe I will run into the drunk guy again.
And if I run into the drunk guy again…
I can’t do this, I thought as I trudged down the ramp toward the zebra crossing.
I have to do this, I argued.
I can’t ring my husband because he is putting the baby to sleep, and I don’t want to interrupt, I think sadly and rather too desperately for my liking.
What has become of me, I wonder.
I considered ringing my friend Liz, because I know she would understand if I confessed that I don’t think I can get home, even though I am only two hundred or so metres away, and I just want to sit in the middle of the footpath in a puddle of tears instead.
However, that would have involved taking my phone out of my pocket, and instructing Siri, which again, was all too much for me at that point.
I just needed to put one foot in front of the other.
For I feared if I stopped, I literally wouldn’t get going again.
And how undignified would it have been to be stranded just up the street?
No no, I was not going to be that person.
I would do this.
Come hell or high water, I was going to do this.
I would not make Michael walk up to fetch me. That was ridiculous.
If I say I can’t, then I won’t, I continued with my self-lecture.
Can’t isn’t an option, so yes I can do this I can do this I can do this, I correct as I walked across the crossing toward the two tiny shops on the corner.
It is all a matter of mindset, I think. Trying to talk myself into a more positive frame of reference.
If I get my psyche in the right place this is more likely to get me there, I tell myself.
So just keep going.
Listen for the cars, remember the low brick fence, search for the next gutter, and just keep going.
However tonight there is something different about the area, I think as I turn right and search for the small rectangular shape of spotty dotty way finding markers to let me know where the next curb is positioned.
But I have to listen for the traffic, and there is too much to concentrate on for me to put my finger on what it could be.
Nope, it’s safe, I say under my breath, you can go, as I step out on to the next road.
This one being much darker than the last.
But then it dawns on me as I hit the next set of way finding markers opposite; it is a street light.
They have finally fixed the streetlight over the zebra crossing, making it much brighter and safer for a girl to cross of an evening.
Oh my God, now I have to ring Liz, I thought, laughing to myself.
About fucking time.
That thing has been worrying me for months.
I had considered asking for a streetlight on my NDIS application just to see what they would say.
Oh Boy the universe works fast, I chuckled to myself as I slowed my pace, adjusted my consciousness, and realigned my trajectory for the last leg of my journey.
Just keep going, I told myself with every step.
But again, I could feel my anxiety reaching out and threatening to take hold.
Good God I thought, this could evolve into a low-level mental disorder if I don’t get it together.
I brushed against a shrub, but rather than judging myself for it, I took it as a good sign that I was in the right place, and nowhere near the road.
In fact, I was almost happy to feel those scratchy leaves on my face.
For whatever reason the vehicles felt too close for comfort, making me extra cautious, and a little crazy.
I slowed down, again, took a second, pulled myself together, and then continued on my way.
I could hear someone approaching from behind, and it was putting me off.
If they were on my left, then surely I must be nearer to the road than I think, I concluded as their steps quickened and began to intrude into my orb.
However just as I thought they were going to pass on the left, they switched to my right and continued in what I felt was a strange direction in comparison to where I thought we were.
And this is where we are.
Someone pressed the pause button, I think as I notice my right foot still poised just above the concrete in readiness for the next step.
After what seems like forever, but is less than five seconds, I suddenly find my way.
It is as if something has shifted within the universe.
The heavens have opened, and all is clear again.
I know exactly where I am, and the walk becomes easy.
It as if the air is buoyant and happy, while my feet are floating on fluffy clouds instead of merely walking along an earth bound path.
Oh, the rough part, I am so close, I think as I hit the lumpy patch of tar being pushed up by the big tree outside our complex.
If only they put a light in the archway, I wish as I sure line to the step.
I’m home I’m home I want to shout as I skate down the walkway toward our house.
My nerves are completely frazzled, but I made it.
I actually made it I think as I approach our gate.
I am surprised it is closed.
I had expected Michael to have the gate open, the front light on, and the wooden door ajar.
He must be putting Emily down, I thought as I carefully lifted the latch.
Emily’s window faces the front fence, and she hears everything.
I am not particularly adept at sneaking in, which is why Michael usually prepares the landscape for me ahead of time.
I slide between the wooden panels and the brick wall like a cat.
Then I close the gate with an unusual degree of quietness, and then let myself inside.
There is nothing but the crackle of Michael’s radio talking to itself in the kitchen as I put my bag down beside the piano.
Hmmm, I think as I walk into the kitchen, half-expecting I will find my husband, even though I am sure he is upstairs.
It is almost eerie to walk into such stillness.
He looks absolutely shagged as he greets me five or so minutes later.
How are you honey, he asks with exhaustion in his voice.
Ummm… I respond as I kiss him.
It’s a long story…