Sep 242021

“It’s not happening again!”

Will looked up from his bowl of cereal.

“I can’t believe it. Up, down, down, up, up, up! When will it end?”

Alice seated herself at the table and opened her iPad.

“Why don’t you focus on something else? Those numbers seem to be getting to you.” She added, “The trees along the side wall need trimming.”

This was met with a withering look.

“I could help,” she offered.

Will went back to listening to the news.

“Eight lives lost, but who’s counting?” muttered Will. “I think I’ll go and get the ladder and the clippers.”

“Would you like another cup of tea before you start?”

“No, that would be two before morning tea at 11:00.”

The backdoor clicked. Alice sighed, at least she could read the news in peace.

Will settled on a log in the sunny garden. A couple of dozen bees buzzed among the spidery grevilleas, the pink tea-tree blossoms and the showy bronze candles of the banksia bush. Noisy miners, seven he counted, competed for the sweet-smelling nectar that Will could almost taste. Two magpies carolled softly on nearby eucalyptus branches.

Whilst drinking in the view, thoughts meandered to the morning, which was nothing out of the ordinary. Woke up before the alarm at 7:00, rose at 7:30 and showered. Meanwhile, Alice performed Pilates and as Will shampooed his hair, he mentally counted 15 arm raises, 15 openers, 15 squats, 15 sit-ups. Water cascaded down his body washing away soap suds before Alice handed him the towel. His time was up.

As Will walked down the stairs, the metal hands of the antique clock showed five minutes past eight. This meant there was still 55 minutes to go.

Each day he hoped – often this hope was thwarted. It was all so frustrating. First it was 110 days, now another 90 and still counting. What annoyed him the most were the hundreds/thousands who protested about the right to freedom, the right to make their own choices, while the rest were responsible, caring and embracing of the system for the good of all.

“Damn ferals, why don’t they come to their senses?” he growled before entering the garden shed and extracting the clippers and gloves.

Seventy-five minutes later, six trees trimmed, Will stood back to admire his handiwork.

“That looks better. Now we have vision right down the side,” said Alice handing her husband a cup of tea and three biscuits.

“Did you see the latest?” Will asked.

“Yes, they’re shrinking but not by much. Still, it’s a hopeful sign, don’t you think.”

“Probably. But I’ve determined not to be so obsessed with numbers – well, not for the next three days.”

“That’s a good idea but you’ve lost me,” said Alice picking up some of the fallen foliage.

“Saturday night is TattsLotto night.”