Friday, 6 January 2012

the unbearable lightness of proximity

We woke up this morning - Megan, Matiu and me - at Anne and Michelle's place, where we'd gone for a 'movie nite' the evening before. After eating dinner together, the kids went downstairs and watched a kids movie on the TV while us adults sat up in the lounge and watched 'O Brother Where Art Thou,' a film all of us had intended to see since it was released in 2000 but which none of us had got around to watching.

It was a great moment which was all about proximity: the proximity of the Classical narrative of the Odyssey to the storyline set in the 1930s US South; the promixity of all of us in the house (great kids, dear friends, a sister and nephew); and the proximity - and distance - of memory... the movie reminded me of Dad, who loved the CD of the film soundtrack which he'd apparently played enough in my presence that parts of the film felt very familiar.

Today was also about proximity: after a lovely lazy morning at Anne and Michelle's place, Megan, Matiu and I spent the day together shopping and catching up and spending time. I had a shopping task I wasn't looking forward to, and Megan (and by default Matiu) came along as my moral support... Matiu wanted to check out a toy shop... and Megan wanted to visit a shop whose merchandise she'd only seen in magazines. We felt close together, the three of us, and caught the train to meet up with Nadine, who was in town today and who we were meeting at a favourite Indian restaurant before coming home for cups of tea.

We sat in the front end of the one of the new 'rocket' trains, which are not made up of separate carriages but one long open carriage stretching the entire length. This was very exciting - Megan and Matiu's first ride on the new trains, and only my second! However, as the train pulled into a certain station, we heard (and felt) a thud and people outside became hysterical. Megan and I realised immediately what had happened, and worked together to ensure Matiu was shielded from realising the event which had just taken place about 3 metres in front of us. We walked up the train, whose doors had been opened, and exited, dragging him away from the scene and walking to the streetcar stop nearby, explaining that we had decided to take ther streetcar instead.

One day Matiu may well realise what happened tonite. But for now, he doesn't need to know. Megan and I met with Nadine, who was excellent and immediately clicked to not talking about it in front of the kid... after we ate dinner together, had tea together back at my place, and had a family session of The BFG (in which I read the chapter aloud not only to Matiu but also to Nadine and Megan), Megan and I waved goodbye to Nadine and came back into the lounge. Once we knew Matiu was asleep, we talked a bit - and cried a bit - about what we'd been so close to earlier this evening. So, so close.

Often, being far from home means I start to think proximity can only be a godo thing. But sometimes, it seems, proximity is not so innocent.

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