The morning sun has this sneaky way of waking me up. Like a leg leering out the slit of a petticoat, it streams through the gap in my golden tattered curtains on a Sunday, when I have nothing better to do that swim for hours in a soup of slothful stillness. My Guy isn’t stirred awake by much, and I selfishly cover his face with a thousand kisses until the creases by the corner of his eyes flatten out and hazelnut espresso swirls peer back at me from half under the duvet. I find myself positioning my hands as if they are about to "click" and take a snapshot of this moment so that I never forget it. Click.
The Egyptian cotton sheets we are wrapped in, make me feel like I am curled up in a cocoon of stability and opulence - you know that 'everything is going to be ok' sorta feeling. The truth is that the sheets were a gift from mamma bear and I know there are very few things in my apartment that are, in fact, mine. But, of course, for the delicious creature lying next to me, refusing to let me out of bed.
I put the kettle on and peruse Facebook, my real life Friends List Tabloid. All of a sudden I’m facing a timeline I wasn’t prepared to confront so early in the day, or in my life. With my news feed covered in the confetti of weddings and the coo-ing of baby showers, I can’t fight a niggly feeling that I might have missed my stop somewhere.
We do the word puzzle in the Sunday Times like a geeky cute couple and then decide to walk across the road to look at some of the apartments on show in my hood. It’s one of those warm, idyllic days and the road is lined with Jacaranda trees that stand at either side of us, listening as we talk about our dreams and ambitions. I look up at their dancing woody fingertips and ask that just for this moment, they let me get lost in the ridiculous notion that I may someday be one of those silly girls in a white dress too.
We step into the Architects apartment and give each other a silent “wow”. The price is R1.8 million. Swallow. Another silent “wow”. The New York-esque corner unit is beautiful with its wooden floors, white washed walls, open and industrial flow and vintage fittings. Sooner than I was able to call on logic and all things sensical I’m swept away... passed the brochure that tells of a R4000 levy, passed the hurdles of the first two years of a relationship, passed the first fight we’ll have, passed the confines of bank accounts, passed the tiresome search for my place in the world, passed the place he will one day put his hat up on. And passed all this, I vaguely allow myself to see us having a life together. Maybe, in a place like this.
I smile at myself and my childlike fantasies of playing house. I think back to when I was young enough not to fear this room in my head. When Barbie and Ken would go to The Ball and fall in love again every day. When I married Seany in the Wendy-house at the bottom of the garden and we took care of baby Jesus in his manger amongst a thicket of pine needles. When I was executive director of a million dollar fine dining franchise, serving Mud Burgers and Dirt Milkshakes with Kerri in Grade Two. When I’d walk around in my Gran’s fur coat and my mom’s high heels, ca-thumping with each step as my small and inexperienced feet tested a path I may walk along one day.
I lock the room again, and place the key somewhere high up where it isn’t so easy to reach. I don’t want to be tempted to go inside, not until time has allowed me to fill the space in those heels that still feel miles too big for me. Until the clumsy ca-thumping becomes an assertive click and the ground feels less like a waterbed and more like those gorgeous piney wooden slats lining the floor of unit 412, two streets down from my own abode.
“You're the first person I'm actually scared I could lose, Carly”
I don’t know why I love it so much when he says my name. Maybe it’s the same reason I love that we both hate roller coasters, that he always arrives everywhere whistling or humming a tune or that he says good morning and good night every day... even when we aren’t together.
"I guess the things we are scared of, are the ones most worth taking a risk for."
All my years of harnessing my craft as an actress and wordsmith are put to the test as I deliver the line without wavering. I’m not ready to let him see that underneath them, I’m just a girl walking around in shoes 3 sizes to big, hoping like hell I don’t fall on my face. That I’m as brave as a 5 year old on the first day of school or that in truth, I’m his already.
On the walk home, we pass through a sea of screaming toddlers and I immediately remember the thirteen vodka’s I’d had the night before. The door shuts behind us and we’re lured to our place on the couch to watch the food network and fall in and out of sleep all afternoon. Maybe I’m not at my stop just yet, but what good would this maddening intrepid journey be without a kick ass travel partner to do it with in the meantime.