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Wednesday, 16 November 2005

That time of day

My favourite time of day, in this life I'm living right now, is evening time. I come home from the office, sling my work junk in the corner, and go find my cats. Their white coats are somehow always immaculate, like those starched-shirt missionaries who seem to repel the red dirt out here and fling it over the rest of us.

The cats smell happy, of dustghosts and sunshine, fur soft and warm on my nose. Neat little paws bat butterflies, chase chickens. Sometimes, I lay down on the forest floor with them. Tree bark and stones press into my arms and legs, are crushed by my back. Crickets jump over me, ants tickle the hairs on my skin.

I watch the unfettered skies overhead and fancy I can feel the earth beneath me breathe. Sticks and straw decorate my hair; some crazy lady. We play simple games, the cats and I, with twigs and leaves. We are in our own Hundred-Acre Wood.

There are no willows here for the wind to whistle in, but I have a blanket of fallen bougainvillea petals, crisp like parchment paper and a faded glorious pink. Bigcat emits a low growl; Wild Ginger Tom is crossing the edge of her territory. Littlecat pounces on my midriff, winding me. They both run off after a bee out past its bedtime.

I sit on a rock drinking a blue gin and tonic, watch rivulets of water run down the outside of the glass and over my hand. The heavy heat of the day is gradually peeled off by the cool night; the incessant clamouring of people fades out into distant drumming and the low crackle of fires, a gentle peace before the rising hum of crickets and frogs.

As the sky-light moves off elsewhere in the world I start to think about dinner. Sharp, pungent garlic will feature. And juicy mangoes picked fresh from the tree, sliced and slithery on the tongue.