Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Just Another Diamond Day

We all wake as usual, at around 8am. She is fishing around underneath the covers for a book she keeps stashed there. I doze for another 20 minutes as she pokes at my face and chats away excitedly about different types of animals. There are mostly Italian words, A few English ones, a few gutteral sounds (those are ducks) and alot of her own personal language. S goes to the kitchen to make an espresso which I drink in bed. Black. I stopped eating dairy this summer in Puglia and have been set free from the need to buy milk. I drag myself out of bed and get dressed. The mornings are getting cold. I'm wearing ripped, holy jeans and a long-sleeved, stripey T-shirt, a short silk dress under the shirt makes me feel a little more femminine. I'm always dressed pretty strangely these days. All my clothes feel disposable. We have a room full of boxes and two metal shelves which hold them all. Just to cover my body and keep it warm until we move to the other side of the world. We clammer down the echoey stairwell. Those same, wooden stairs with their smell of B.O, marijuana, and that husky that sits in the window box on the floor below us and wails when ambulances pass over the bridge nearby. We are back in our 3rd floor nest. It feels the same yet different, as it's now full of boxes and our oven broke the other day.

 We get into the car and do some errands around town, all three of us. Then Coco and I get on a bus to Salamanca, and she sleeps beside me the whole hour and a half. It's luxury for me to have that time to read something that isn't for Uni. I finished my last assignment for the semester last week when we were staying at my friend's country house/recording studio.

I look out the window while eating dark chocolate with orange essential oil from the health shop next to the bus station. I wonder about chocolate and if it's any healthier when bought from a health shop. I decide the answer is no, and shake my head at myself.

 I love travelling back to places already known and lived. The confidence in my knowledge of a place makes me feel efficient, and truly alive, having lived. Like using the metro in Madrid, giving directions in Melbourne, sleepwalking over to the internet point in Singapore airport.

Coco wakes as we pull into the bus station at Salamanca and begins to chatter again, still half asleep. Her personality is bursting through her skin at the moment. Her ernest little expressions and new phrases suprise me so many times each day. Sometimes I laugh and other times the love is too much, and I can't do anything. I strap her on to my back and gather my bag and camera, jump off the bus and walk through the familiar streets to the square. This town is just so damn pretty. Luisa is waiting for us in the square under the clock, like she used to when we still lived here. She is so familiar in her vintage dress and chunky boots, leaning against the brick reading a book with her wild hair covering her face. I hear Coco's voice in my ear calling her name. We eat lunch on lounges in a trendy cafe. Salamanca has these types of places to keep all the foreign students happy. Spanish cafes aren't really like that.

 We talk briefly and then head down to the river. This route is like second nature. Past the university and all the tourist shops, around the cathedral and down the hill to the basket shop with the terrible incense. We separate at the roman footbridge, and Coco and I walk alone across the narrow, gushing, river- its clear water and bright, autumn foliage. At the other side, we deviate from the well-known path, Coco is indignant, but I insist. Our ex land-lady had spotted us on the other side. She is convinced we owe her money for bills though we left her with our entire bond. Why do Landlords so often think that the bond is a gift from their loving tenants? She is waiting for us under our old house, as we circled widely around the park, coming up to Sol's place from the opposite direction, walking past the houses bursting with pop-flamenco and gyspy women using their public clotheslines. We ring the bell and slip into Sol's courtyard. Hers is the only building in the neighbourhood with a security gate.

 We'd been there just 2 weeks earlier for a late Sunday lunch and lazy afternoon. Her and I sat in her studio where she'd prepared her autumn birth alter as our men talked about work in the living room. Her belly was huge, more pregnant than I've ever been at 40 weeks, and she was rubbing it constantly, quietly willing labour to start. As I left her that day I'd felt so emotional about how my friend's home was about to change so dramatically. There is a secret that only mothers know about, and this is the first time I've shared it with another woman. It is that moment, when your energy is channelled entirely into the workings of your body, and things like amniotic fluid, mucous plugs, and bloody show become daily lexicon and bright, exciting warnings. Never are we so sweetly in tune with our bodies as in the preparation for birth. I heard about Abril's arrival around a week later as we were in huddled the recording studio working on a new album. My heart fluttered and I felt so happy, excited, relieved that she'd had the safe home-birth that Salva and I had helped her carefully and meticulously prepare. I was sad that the news came through social media, it never ceases to sadden me when I see big news in print instead of hearing it relayed by a familiar voice. I was sad that I no longer lived across the road, that the preparations I'd felt so involved with had reached the crescendo of birth and post-birth bliss while I was living in another city.

Inside, there are hushed voices and dimmed lights. Just as I remembered it. There is a glowing feeling inside any house where there is a new baby, but I recognise the sacredness of the space after a home-birth. The harmony of the mother and baby unit that havn't seen the outside since the wild night of the birth. We eat cake and drink tea. I'd imagined myself helping in some way, but Sol has everything under control. The house is immaculate, as usual. Coco tries to give Abril toys to play with, pressing them into her curled newborn hands.

Then, at 8pm, we say goodbye and walk outside to catch the bus to the train station. The stop is right in front of our old house. We arrive, get the ticket and go inside to sit on the train. It stops every 10 minutes at little villages. My favourite is called Cantalapiedra. 

I look down at Coco on my lap who has grown into such a little person, and I feel nostalgic when I think about how quickly she's growing. Then she snuggles against me, and falls asleep at my breast as I feed her, and I remember that at 20 months, she's still just a little baby.

We arrive at our stop and walk upstairs again. Salva orders chinese food. Coco wakes up to eat it from the plastic containers, and then we all slip into bed.