Sunday, December 27, 2009

Home Alone

That's me, sort of. Consuelo's gone to the Philippines for 3 weeks so I'm on leave covering her at home. At work I'm covering absent partners or associates on a daily basis. Sometimes it feels almost as if I'm even covering myself while the real me's living in some other world out there.

It's been one big chuck fest so far. I have what I call a "best friend" hanging from a rail in the kitchen. It's a big Duty-Free plastic bag that's been helping me lug out countless bagloads of stuff to the common rubbish chute. A sturdy, silent, generous-sized best friend. Two years' worth of accumulated Happy Meal toys, kiddy drawings, done-ded sticker albums and crazy general whatnot that have added a ton of useless floor loading to our little flat are now finito. They make a great, satisfying noise clanging down seventeen floors worth of chute space.

The 3 big kids have been and will be going to stay over at my parents' place, coming back when Sarah has a ballet lesson or two. This saves me a lot of work, and we're thankful for the help. The quiet is very restful, but we're always glad to have them with us again. It's also holiday season so Sean has a good number of days at home particularly when the kids are back, so we're all managing to stay alive and fed and clean.

Rachel stays home. She naps beautifully (and longly) in her cot and we don't want to disrupt that. It's wonderful having gotten the hang of her daily routine. She responds so cheerfully and readily when all her needs are timely met, it feels almost criminal when we have to all go out and there's any disruption. Of which there've been several, given the festive season, but she's been sweetly accommodating of all those blips in her neat little baby life. She's also grown rather sticky to me. I foresee tears when I have to go back to work. Mine, not hers.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

My Favourite Flower

Some mornings on my way to work, I find freshly shed blossoms under a frangipani tree along the way. I gather some of the best ones and arrange them at the base of my monitor.

I once also left a cluster on my secretary's desk, thinking that she'd be pleased to find them when she got to work. Shortly after she arrived, she came in to my room, looking a little worried and, I thought, scared! I asked her if everything was alright. She asked me if I was the one who had placed the flowers on her desk. I said yes. Visibly relieved, she told me that it gave her a turn to see them because, apparently, according to custom, these are flowers of DEATH and she thought it was a sign for her! Yikes.

Anyway, this morning, among an abundance of fallen ones on the grass, I picked up a particular bloom that you see on the right. In all my life admiring the frangipani, some 30 years now, this is the first time I've come across a six-petalled one. It's an anomaly, a genetic mutation, that makes it different from all the other perfectly formed flowers. I couldn't help thinking of Rachel. I showed it to another colleague and she said it was even more beautiful than the others, the way the overlap in the petals showed up more distinctly.

I saw only its difference, she saw its own perfection. I think it's a sign for me.