I came across a woman who kept tripping over her shadow.
If only it didn’t stand so close, she said, tripping over the shadow’s right foot.
She lifted herself from the ground and before she could hit full stride, the shadow tripped over her.
Fuck! It yelled. She keeps getting in the way.
It lay on the ground, grunting. I think I’ve twisted my ankle.
Here, let me help, I offered. The shadow was tall and spindly and so was relatively easy to pick up.
The sun went behind a cloud and briefly the two became one.
Then it came out again, and the pair went on their slapstick way, tripping and falling.
How they made it home was anyone’s guess.
She calls from one of the Northern beaches.
“We were going mad, “ she says. “We had to get out the house, You know what it’s like. You start twiddling your thumbs, staring at the wall…”
“Or even climbing it,” I add.
“Yeh, like a spider,” she says.
“Or even the ceiling.”
“Things look better from up there,” I say.
“You okay, granddad?”
“Yeh, I’m okay. You kids have a good time, Thanks for calling.”
And I crawl a little further along the ceiling. A fat, juicy fly has landed nearby. With one bound ,,,,
“Bugger”, says Scruff. “Bugger”.
He’s back to his old intemperate self.
“What’s got your goat now?” I say.
“How am I supposed to get to the top branch now?? You know how I love the top branch. Someone took the tall ladder away and replaced it with THAT RUNT!!”
His wing is pointing at the little ladder against the weeping myrtle.
“Excuse me,” I say, “but you can’t expect the gardener to consult with magpies every time he shifts a ladder.”
Scruffy has that evil look in his eye.
“Besides”, I add, “has anyone ever pointed out those two appendages, one on each side of your body? They can get you places.”
“Sarcastic snob!” he snaps. “I use them all the time like you your legs. Aches and pains. I prefer to hop up rungs.”
“Have it your own way,” I say, but my heart goes out to him all the same. “I know what you mean,” I add. “I’ll speak to the gardener.”
I notice a little spring in his hop.
She likes the new me, the gentler me.
The one that’s considerate and consoling.
The nicer me. The fun me.
The accepting me.
Not the old one
Who criticizes and condemns
From his high moral ground.
Though we all know the old me lurks
just beneath the surface.
The creature from the black lagoon.