There’s a couple outside my book shop. They are standing at the kerb looking into the boot of their car. She has lost her bag.
‘I’m looking. I’m looking.’
She has striped hair; pink, purple, white and silver and it is beautiful. Her shoes look like running shoes, and they are striped with pink, purple, white and silver.’
She says, ‘Give me the keys.’ He does. She disappears along the street. He comes into the shop. He says, ‘I’m retired now, and I have a shed full of engineering books where I spend all my time. There’s not enough time.’
He muzzles along the shelves for a while. ‘Very nice here. What made you do this then?’
‘Don’t know really.’ I have to put down Elizabeth Jolly to answer. Elizabeth Jolley has just said that old age is like flipping over pages in a book at a deafening rate and not reading any of them. I am shocked because this is true.
‘Don’t really know.’
‘Well. It’s nice here.’
Suddenly his wife blooms against the door with a sacred pink purple white and silver presence.
He shouts, ‘Are you lost, lady?’
‘I’ve just been over the lady’s toilets over there. I have to tell you what I saw.’
It’s cold. Her breath frosts on the door. They leave.
Yesterday at home I noticed that the windows have changed colour. I mean, the glass in the door holds different colours because it’s autumn. Maybe the light has a different angle. Maybe the temperature of the light is different. It was morning when I looked at the glass. Hot grape becomes cool rose. Thick sage thins. Hot lemon chills to its rind. Pink fades and becomes tough. I look at these pieces of glass all the time. With Elizabeth Jolley.
I went walking. It rained a bit. There is only six minutes to the edge of town. Then it’s paddocks.
On the way back through the short streets I saw the empty wheelie bins wearing their lids like yellow capes down their backs, and they sit there, mouths open drinking in rain that lands in their bin throats with tiny fast liquidy thumps.
A man is standing at the counter in the shop in front of me with Gail Godwin. I say, ‘Oh, she’s GREAT’. He asks me for Haruki Murakami because ‘He’s GREAT. Look what HE does with reality.’ I say, ‘Oh yes’. And decide to start reading Haruki Murakami. The man stands there beaming. There are no words to explain Haruki Murakami. This man has grey hair, worn long, and he wears a sapphire blue sweater and good boots.
In autumn where I live, the evenings are grey like steel and beautiful.
In autumn, unnecessary belongings start bothering decent spaces. We sort and prune like mad. I fill the green wheelie bin’s mouth with green stemmy food.
The grape vine is as yellow as a pair of bananas. Soft, and with conversations going on in black ink.
It’s not possible to keep up with autumn. The windows are an authority on what’s out there. Each colour has an opinion.