Grand opening

She’s on the bus next to you in the morning saying Look at me! Look at me! You can’t figure out what it is about her you’re supposed to be looking at. Her back erect, leaning slightly forward in the seat, a knowing smile on her face, folded arms… wait, that’s it. Folded arms! Makes her look schoolmarmish in a miniature way, but when you say Are you copying Ms H? she says No, with a laugh — It’s Mummy and you! 

While N and S are off at a birthday party in the pm, you and didi take in the grand opening of the neighbourhood 7-Eleven after a week of expansion remodelling. 4pm for the ribbon-cutting. The shop’s filled with a busload of staff wearing company tunics, there to flog a vanload of discounted soft drinks and toilet tissues.

Balloons and banners outside, and the Seven-11 mascot is there in costumed person — a gnomic creature with an enormous medicine-ball head (scary Japanese cute) and inverted-U rainbow on top. Kids pose for photos with it, you do of course with didi too. Then some buzzy little tune with a souped up electronic beat is played and the mascot does its one-man line dance, surprisingly nimble and surprisingly funny.

You mosey around the neighbourhood for a while in the late afternoon sunshine, no longer so punishing as it has been until recently. Crowds of students heading towards the metro station after school. People shopping, browsing ad hoc clothes stalls, transiting stretches of sidewalk by motor scooter. This road is always lively until most people have taken to bed, but this is probably the most lively you’ve seen it. 4.30pm is seemingly its most authentic time of day.

A little later the pair of you have ridden the bus to Takashimaya to join up with S and N for dinner after their party. Walking the last couple of hundred yards up Zhongcheng Rd from the bus stop: twilight is in the air, though not yet present. A half moon, almost overhead, is bright and white in the late-day blue. A cheerful proliferation of colour from illuminated store signs and shop fronts. Headlights on too.

Straight ahead, where the road aims for midriff of the mountain, you see an ethereal still-bright glow of passing daylight. A pastel sunset light that is closer to white than it is to either blue or orange, though it has a homeopathically diluted drop of both. Beneath the sky and above the buildings undulates the silhouette line of the darkening mountain. You almost scent nature and feel the contentment of a day spent in useful physical action in collaboration with the elements.

Imaginary, of course, because what you’ve been doing is sitting around at desks most of the day, or riding buses and shuffling around at street level in the fumes of the city.


Hill top

Cooling in the twilight. You’re here 

And up there too

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