Every weekday afternoon I go and meet our son when he arrives on the kindergarten bus. It has only been a few weeks but I feel like I already know the life happening on that street corner. My new routine has been added to this piece of city, and like an observer I stand there in sunshine or rain, waiting and noticing what is going on. Of course I knew from the beginning that as I became an everyday installment waiting for the kindergarten bus, I would start to see patterns of life appearing, but I had not imagined it would happen so quickly.
A few minutes after I arrive, a mum in flip flops comes with her daughter, going home from the nearby nursery. They cross the street just where I am standing and I always have to move away, or fold my umbrella, to give them space to pass on the narrow piece of sidewalk where I am standing. Next comes a young man driving a scooter, entering the retirement home behind me, parking and taking off his helmet before starting his, I presume, evening shift.
By now, sometimes the kindergarten bus comes, but if it is a bit delayed, I can watch the construction vehicles coming home to their base after a day’s work out and about. And if I stand there a bit longer, I am bound to meet someone I am familiar with coming by, waving at me from the window of their car. When the bus eventually arrives, it is a happy but tired boy that comes out through the door, being helped by the teacher to put on backpack and water bottle. Before the bus leaves he says a loud sayonara to the teacher, waves at the driver and quickly takes off his water bottle and backpack and gives them to me.
Then we start our journey home. I have come to really enjoy these little walks we take together from the bus, past the rice fields, up the hill and over the greenery to our house. We take it slowly, looking at the tadpoles swimming in the ricefield, talking a little bit about how his day has been while watching the dragonflies play in the air. The other day he picked a few flowers he wanted to take inside and put in a vase. He had been playing with cars and and trains with a friend in the morning, and had curry rice for lunch. We almost made it to the house when he asked me to carry him, clutching the flowers in his hand. It seems to have been a good day.
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