They only live in the absolute present, the three second crystal lens that they are consuming and digesting every moment. So, Christmas trees are interesting, but as there are none here(yet) the Christmas tree lost out to a plastic horse with a bent leg, a crane and bedtime looming darkly within the adult conversations.
They didn’t want to go to bed.
Everyone one is out here. The evening is too warm and too light to be proper night, and young parents are sprawled, complaining gently about everything and looking forward to the next day.
I have a promising stack by my bed and have no problem with the night, except that it is too short.
But the little boys are unsure. There’s a matchbox car and three difficult blocks that won’t become a shed. Things to sort. The monkey tree is bent. A log of wood dragged inside to be a fence has shed bugs into the carpet. Someone tore Hairy Maclary, it wasn’t me.
It was Finny.
Is it Christmas outside?
Am I sleeping here?
I’m going to childcare party.
I haven’t got any apple.
Nanny, I haven’t got any apple.
Where shall we put the Christmas tree, do you think?
Can I have any of some more apple?
Two grandsons stayed last night. It was hot. They moved from sandpit to orchard to the place with two snails, one of them dead, and they played with a small rubber owl that represents them and is always in danger. They fly it from one end of the orchard to the other using swoops and dives and other very powerful ideas. There is a larger owl, too. This one, a plastic model purchased as a bird scarer, only takes part in some of the story. It saves the baby owl. Then it was abandoned under the bonsai tree table. Once it brought some food. Then it was abandoned at the shed door. Once they couldn’t find the parent owl at all, and everything stopped. Completely.
They played bikes. This means Noah riding about for a bit, and Finn following on foot because he is too small to find the pedals. It also means stopping still and talking to each other earnestly about many things. Once Finn acted out a message with moving robot arms and a slight klinking of the head from side to side, which Noah understood and answered in a similar way.
Once they met on the lawn and Noah asked, ‘Did you get any snails?’ and Finn answered, ‘Sometimes.’ They always park the bike across the gate to the orchard, which is the gate to soccer parkland.
They asked me to ring Max and find the lost part to the forklift and they asked me about gallstones. Noah showed me his moth bites and asked if he would die, and then he asked me why I was growing a beard.
Noah has a full agenda at the moment: it is summer, he is nearly two, his eyes and mind are booked up from wake to sleep with things to consider. But baby Finn is still unhooked. He gazes and grazes and dozes and every so often, Noah’s divine features swim into his view and slide into focus. The intensity of this experience organises itself across his face; his eyes widen and climb toward Noah’s eyes, the baby muscles of his face stretch to allow the new happiness a way out, his teeth are not yet hatched, there is just a line of pink gums. His feet expand and point toward heaven, which is Noah.
All day Sunday and no news.
Everyone who visits the shop today must stand and listen to my news; that there is no news. One couple went up Jeff’s Books and told Caitlin that there is no real news. Nevertheless, Caitlin offers to help me out when there is news. But still there is no news.
More visitors came in after lunch and asked me for this book and that book but I didn’t help them. I just told them my lack of news. One old lady forgot about the books she wanted and weighed in with enthusiasm. She applied consolation, saying that babies come when they want and never before.
Finn William Hood came in at 8.01 pm on Sunday night just when he wanted to, small as a dot and caught by his parents and swooped into a family of three, now four.
I visited and held the smallness and the folded up boneless limbs and the soft womb position they still assume. He drinks with eyes open and eyes shut, eyes flickering with living and milk and noise falling everywhere, Noah, still a baby and now a brother, leaning over and tapping gently the forehead and their infant eyes meeting for a fleeting, inerasable portion of one second, and then Finn asleep again.
Photography by Elsa Hood