Friday, February 28, 2014


I bounce out the door of my office at 2:30pm, calling farewells to my workmates as I sprint for the stairs. An hour earlier, I'd noted to a colleague that I always feel a little guilty about leaving so early on Fridays, despite having standing permission to do it, and buying it with two early starts, but here I go, careening down the concrete stairs at a rate of knots regardless.

Outside, it's warm, not hot; the sun is benign on my shoulders as I time my dash across the road to the carpark. On my car stereo, Jeff Buckley sings Hallelujah, and I slip into a not-unpleasant mental fugue, where work slowly slips like broken beads through my mental clutches and falls harmlessly away, to be replaced with a formless awareness of being in my body and how it feels. (This is something I virtually never notice at work, unless extreme pain or illness gives me no choice.)

I arrive at the school assembly as the kids are sitting down, the final strains of the national anthem still lingering in the air. I'm not conscious of it, fully, but my stance has shifted as I hang near the back with my school parent posse; I'm leaning in, not holding myself straight as I do at work. The kids see me, wave one by one; the principal commends the recorder group, and the toddlers play in the sand.

By the time we reach the car, I have absorbed a download of the day from three rapid-fire communicators. Apparently, a classmate of the 8 year old was knocked out cold on the oval at lunchtime today. She can't decide whether she's thrilled or appalled; curiosity wars with sympathy in a teeter-totter that's never quite resolved.

With the weekend afoot, we mark the occasion with a stop at the milk bar for icypoles; a school dad, also in the shop on an icypole mission, says "Oh, it IS you. I didn't recognise you with those clothes. Are you going out dancing or something?" I laugh, say, no, my sparkly pink and silver skirt and black fitted top are just my genuflection to slightly-more-casual Fridays, my one day not to wear suits and dressy dresses to work. We watch the combined seven children in our custody select their treats, and exchange the kind of smalltalk that school parents do - this cohort of people that you see most days for many years, yet may never know beyond the very surface.

Home, we eat our icypoles on the front lawn, dripping sticky drops on clothes and grass. Washing up, the 5 year old cannot wait to divest herself of all clothing but underwear, while the 10 year old opts to shower and the 8 year old and I talk. There is a peace born of tiredness, fullness, the weight of the week and the hope of the weekend, settling around our shoulders. I feel it as the kids drift off in their several directions to discharge the week in quietness - one to a book, one to a Minecraft session, one to a tea party with her dollies.

Borrowing my 10 year old's iPod, I go outside and march up and down my long yard, driven faster by Florence & the Machine and Rhianna, rolling more slowly to Fleet Foxes, Old Crow Medicine Show and the 10-year-old's old guitar teacher, who's an accomplished folk musician. Walking up a sweat makes me feel better once the endorphins start to kick in; half an hour of it has me shiny inside and out.

I stand at my kitchen benchtop cutting pumpkin for risotto and stare at the poem hiding in the garden bed through the window. It's only 5pm; most of my friends are still at work.

Now, dinner afoot, I pour my first and most likely only alcohol of the week - a glass of sauvignon blanc, crisp and bitey, shivering my tongue in pleasure.

Soon my husband will be home and we will eat our family meal, and later I will read to my daughters and tuck them in, then my husband will rub my neck and I will kiss his ear and we will mark the end of the week in the simplest and happiest of ways.

Fridays are my favourite.

No comments:

Post a Comment