The young couple with a pram

She came into the shop, but he stayed outside with the pram and the shopping and all their morning stuff. She stood in the doorway and looked out at him, and he looked in at her.

‘Are you coming in?’

‘Maybe.’

He continued looking through the door, comfortable, leaning on the pram, ‘I don’t know. I might go get a bun. A cream one. Shall I?’ He stood with one foot resting on top of the other one, cars cross stitching the air on the road behind him.

‘Maybe.’ She had begun to browse from the doorway, her eyes running up and down the shelves. Their child lay in the pram gazing outward. I could see its dark eyes moving, listening, and not blinking.

‘Ok, I’ll get a London bun.’

‘Mmmm.’ She let the door close and they parted, tranquil.

Finn making eye contact

 

Finn is tangled up in a family Christmas event where there are four generations ploughing gently through the afternoon; eating, arguing, drinking, thinking. Finn, whose needs are profound and simple, seeks eye contact and joy. Luckily, he receives both at once in dizzying measures right across the afternoon and evening, each dose causing his legs to rise up, the bones to grow, his ears to fill, his head to balance and his hands to reach out and hang on to the day. A proper Christmas.

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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

Noah looks out of the window…

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Noah is looking out at his ordinary front yard at an ordinary road in a country town.

There is much work to be done. (But there will always be work to be done. Even at the end of the last task, there is still work to be done.)

There is a smooth lawn to be planted, a shed to be built, a clothes line, some trees, a sandpit and somewhere to leave his bike out in the rain.

There might be a pathway, a cubby house, somewhere for mud and water, somewhere to hide, somewhere for sorrow and somewhere for fury.

There might be a corner, designated for nothing, tangled and of no use, immensely valuable.

There will be a place to leave toys out to rust. He will help dig holes. He might hang washing with the hoist wound down, using 18 pegs for one small shirt.

When he is growing he might say with certainty: this place is shit.

When he is grown he will puzzle over and appeal to the curious things of worth.

And when he has a child of his own he will then begin with urgency, the ordinary lawn.

 

Blest, who can unconcernedly find

   Hours, days, and years slide soft away,

In health of body, peace of mind,

                            Quiet by day,

Alexander Pope, Ode to Solitude