A Fall…

Each night, Malia and I have a ritual.  We take out the rubbish to the dustbins.  We’ve done this since our first visit last year.  I don’t know why we attach so much importance to this little trip, but we do and we guard it jealously.

No amount of brain storming on how to increase bonding between mothers and their teenage daughters would have come up with,

“Make sure you take the day’s rubbish and recycling items out to the communal bins each night!”

How exciting is that?!

Nevertheless, this is what we do, it rounds off the evening, brings closure to the day,  ensures we go to bed in harmony.

One cannot do it without the other, we drop what we’re doing when we hear the words,

“I’m taking the rubbish out, are you coming?”

We put on our uggs or our bare feet, and traipse through the damp grass, under the willow tree, up the hill, onto the asphalt driveway and around the corner to the narrow alley, that runs alongside a pair of garages, opening up to the brick enclosure where  two metal dumpsters sit ready to receive any old rubbish, and six plastic bins await plastic, glass, paper and cardboard. Motion detector lights come on as we walk and our passage is traced by  curtain twitching neighbours who live two, three or four floors above us.

Hubby wants to join in the fun now that he is here too.  He offers, in his Southern gentlemanly drawl, to take the rubbish, which he calls trash, out for us.  We say emphatically,

“No!”  and he jumps back in surprise.

Recently there is another stop to make.

I noticed the fox one night disappearing behind a stand of thick, evergreen hedges.  She did not re-appear.  Curious I traced her footsteps the following morning, in daylight, and happened upon an enormous compost heap fuming under the tangled branches of several trees.  A proper hiding place for wild animals and children, a secret.  It smelled earthy and alive and was hot.  Unafraid I buried my hands in the grass cuttings and found soil, deep within its reaches.  I was reminded of my grandfather’s garden, fed by the rich soil of his compost, which yielded vegetables and fruits all year round.  My hands released a pungency that bespoke of fertility, all at once irresistibly alluring and unforgettably repellant.

Now Malia and I make the monitored trip to the rubbish and recycle bins and I go alone to the compost heap to toss coffee grounds,eggshells and tea bags, fruit and vegetable parings, salad and flowers.  Malia is afraid because she has heard rumour that the fox lives there, shades of the big bad wolf from her recent childhood that lived in the attic of her grandparent’s house.

As I approach I call,

“Foxie, Foxie, Foxie, it’s only me!”   I enter the glade half hoping I will catch her unawares.  She saves her appearances for full effect strolling nonchalantly across the lawn in the twilight with a mouse in her mouth, showing us she is worthy of our hospitality.

Last night I took to the bins and compost heap alone, Malia must have been very tired to pass it up.  The night was dark and I had a flashlight with me for the dark corners.  I returned across the lawn activating the lights and walked towards the open French windows of the lounge.   All of a sudden I trip.  I had forgotten there was a step onto the patio and fell face first into the glass door.  I gathered myself quickly and continued into the flat.

I was embarrassed by my clumsiness and wanted to be alone.  I was in pain, I saw no blood, only stars!

Today my cheek is swollen and tomorrow I may have bruising.

I have made the trip a hundred times and still I fell. A lapse of where I was?

This was my first fall since I was a child!  It comes as quite a shock.

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