I have in my mind a ‘box of pretties’. They are little gifts to me, and tend to be a bit like that old jewellery inherited by nanna. I know they are sometimes truly precious and at other times cheap tat. They are in my box because they are gold and pearls, emeralds and moonstone, ephemeral and true.
You could not open the box of pretties; they are intangible and only mine.
In my box
Getting the coveted yellow crayon on day three of prep. I made the sun!
Staying with Aunty Shirl and Uncle Ian and their four kids when I was five and Mum and Dad went oversees: loud meals! Children everywhere! Splooshy shared baths! Custard for dessert! Bunk beds!
A youth called Otis in my first car (yellow 1974 Volvo) stroking my thigh in 1989, parked outside the Metro on Russell Street, and groaning aloud.
My first wanted-positive pregnancy stick, in a flat in Elsternwick, three days after buying my first home with Chris: she was Violet-in-an-instant and she was GRAND!
Being on the library desk at StKilda when a very old Jewish man said quite suddenly “oh your eyes”. I felt very caught, and vulnerable, and just said ‘what?’ He kept my gaze and replied: “they are so big, and so sad”. I had just the week before miscarried my second, and I thought I had hid it so well, and his human-ness made me come undone in secret toilet-tears. But I felt such kindness.
Saying, “I’m so pleased to meet you” when the nurses laid a weird and bloody little alien across my chest almost three years ago.
A kiss under the fort in a park, a while ago now, but when I shouldn’t have. O- sweet cliché: the rain, a near stranger, some small talk, our moment: wet wool and murmurs.
An inscription in a poetry book by a man I held dear and would never touch.
Being allowed to make the Napolitana sauce for my Italian neighbours children; they turned up red-rimmed smiles to say ‘yummy’.
Holding my old cat’s paw, stroking him and telling him how loved he was as he passed on. And that same cat aged one ‘combing’ my very-long hair with those same paws while a fire crackled in the old room: OUCH!
I sat down to write with a small jewel-box in the lap of my mind. But it GROWS. Everything I write begets more treats for the box. As Dr Seuss would say in ‘Green Eggs and Ham’: “try it you’ll like it, try it you will see”
What would be in your box-of-pretties?