Cool, blossom-perfumed air from the window behind Dad’s chair entices me away from spider-watching. She hasn’t moved for a while now anyway. Her web clinging between the bread heater and the wall plug must be satisfactory. I jump onto the recliner, leaning into the groove Dad’s backside has made. The lemon tree on the balcony is in full bloom. I am happy to have the windows open again, especially at sunset with so many smells of people food. Mum and Dad keep leaving for days, returning, then going again.
I hear Dad clear his throat, so I venture to the bedroom. Mum is asleep. Dad is sitting on the bed’s edge, wearing the same t-shirt from his return that morning. His eyes are dark and puffy. I sit next to him, placing my paw on his thigh.
“Hey, boy,” he says weakly. “I’ve missed you.” He holds out his palm, and I place my paw in it. He gives it a gentle shake. My tail swishes over the bumps in the carpet.
Dad proceeds to check his watch before dragging his feet to the bathroom. I’ve missed him, so make myself comfy on the floor of squares. He opens the blind. “Clear morning,” Dad murmurs. “Clearer with coffee.”
He does all of the usual things he undertakes when he gets up in the mornings: empties bladder into the white bowl, washes face, brushes teeth with a stick and sprays stuff on his underarms that makes my nose tingle. This evening, he trims his lip-hair with the pointy metal things.
I follow Dad into the kitchen. My tail becomes active with the presumption of snacks. I presume correct, and can’t help but vocalise my appreciation.
“Shhh, you’ll wake mum,” he says, putting a finger on my nose.
Dad opens the cold-cupboard and takes out a container of eggs. “There were 11 eggs in the fridge. Where did they go while we were gone?” The lady who visits while they are away has been giving them to me. “Oh, well.” He cracks two eggs into a bowl. “Modest omelettes for breakfast.”
While the eggs are cooking, he opens the living room blinds. The peachy dusk has turned into the bluish-grey of early night. “Funny how the sky can look on different sides of the building,” he observes.
Now finished my meal, I sit on his chair, trying to find a star, but instead spot a banana-shaped moon. I’ve spent hours staring, wondering what the circle in the sky is that continually changes.
Ding ding. A tram rattles past. I tend not to notice them anymore. They blend in with the sounds of the city, but this one I detect—so does Dad.
“Huh?” he lifts his head up from his plate and heads to the balcony. “This isn’t London.” He compares his wristwatch to the clock on the wall and sighs. “Ahh…All this travelling…makes a person loco.”
Written for The Australian Writers' Centre Furious Fiction,