The sounds of Saturday

The alarm sounds.

It’s 6am. I pull the blankets over my head, holding onto my dream, but then my eyes snap open, because today is Saturday.

If it’s summer, the day will have started long ago, a sticky blanket settling over the house. But in winter, oh winter is where the magic happens. When the night hasn’t broken and the streets are silent and the day is still yours.

The car is quiet.

We pick up speed down the highway. David, at the wheel. Riley with his head out the window, wanting to experience it all. Trying to bite the cars speeding the other way. And me, watching the orange glow outside. There’s a stillness to it, a quiet respect for this moment then the world moves between sleeping and waking.

But as we pull into the carpark, the sun is high in the sky and there’s a shift. Riley woofs, and we scramble for keys and wallets and leads, and the dawn is gone.

Happy birthday, Doug!

We’re at our local parkrun. Doug is the 80-year-old man who comes to watch. Every Saturday, he sits on a bench, just past the first bridge that runs over the lake. Today’s his birthday.

The run director tells us this conspiratorially. His microphone is broken again. But the message gets around.

My heart accelerates as I hit the bridge, finding my stride, and I smile as I hear the cheering and catcalling up ahead, my voice soon joining them. Riley gives Doug a lick.

And he just beams, this chorus of runners sailing by.

A busker, the sizzle of bacon, the hubbub of a crowd.

We wander market stalls, past hand-drawn signs that say things like lettuce turnip the beet and water for your dog; or people with low standards.

We optimistically overfill our baskets with fruit, away from the work week stress that turns our eating habits to mush. We debate $5 gerberas versus $10 sunflowers. We join the breakfast cart queues and balance plastic plates.

Egg oozes though our fingers, dripping onto the grass, and we don’t mind one bit.

Thud.

The soccer ball hits the fence again. We’re running around our backyard, playing Riley’s favourite game. Chasing him when he takes off with the ball.

We collapse in the grass, and watch as gum trees cast lengthening shadows across our lawn.

The TV is a soft murmur.

The house is dark, the washing up is done, and we’re curled up on the couch. A bowl of half-eaten popcorn balances on the table.

It’s almost time for bed, but not just yet. Our tired eyes watch as the flickering screen fades the final moments of Saturday.

What did you do on the weekend?

It’s Monday morning, and we’re gathered around the office kitchen. There are stories of parties and concerts and even a B-grade celebrity sighting.

I consider. Nothing really I hear myself say.

Because it’s nothing, really.

It’s everything, really.

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