Picture: A photo taken on one of the first days at KVS. It was a very hot and dry summer.
(Now, after a year, the physical change is mostly visible in Alex, he is so broad-shouldered and mature. )
Walking down my street nicknamed KVS, I spot a woman and a ten-year-old girl heading towards the same entrance. Each of them carries some outils de menage, a broom, a spate, a bucket. I am a carrier myself; I just attached the bicycle to the stand, and I have a handbag and two bags of groceries. “You must be…” I start a conversation.
“I am Alice, the new tenant.” She promptly responds.
Oh yes, we all got a text message on the phones that a woman would move in soon and have her daughter living with her every other week. So now, faces are matched to the message. It is Friday late afternoon, I am happy the week is over, I feel a dull tiredness, physical and mental, as I pair the office work with lot of walking, cycling and yoga practice. I dressed June-like in the morning into a long pale blue skirt and sandals and a white tank-top, but it is rather cold outside, windy with fits of rain. So, I am not only tired, but also a bit cold and wet. Still curious, I am looking at Alice outside the entrance: a middle-aged woman with short cropped hair, she is slim and small and black, she has tired eyes and a nice shy smile. Her daughter is of a lighter complexion, with a broad face and I sense she wants to be a part of the conversation, so I turn to her.
“Can I ask you a little question?” The little girl asks me when she gets my attention. She talks in a very adult way, imitating her teacher, perhaps.
“When are we supposed to take out general garbage?”
Brussels with its precise days and hours assigned for garbage.
“Early Saturday morning.”
“And the paper bin?”
Such an un-child-like interest. I imagine these two are going to spend weekend installing themselves, cleaning, shopping, cooking, perhaps having some friends over for a warming-up, simply, being brave. I think I know – they have been through a lot. This is clearly a post-divorce situation. I see it in the tiredness of the woman´s sight, in the eagerness of the girl. Suddenly I feel a pang of shame. A very tiny one, but it is there. Like when you season a dish with saffron – you use just a pinch coming from the tiniest jar, and still, it will be very present in the food. I have been there, the divorce situation vis-à-vis strangers stirs up shame in me: I have failed something important.
I always preferred other herbs and spices to saffron: generous amounts of herbs of Provence, freshly ground pepper, spoonful of curry. But fine, there are many flavours to choose from. We do not choose shame, still, it is good to recognize and invite it – not in others, but in oneself.
I unlock the front door and wish the girls a good evening and weekend. Welcome to the KVS, it sure be a new chapter full of adventure.
For us, it´s been now a year here; a huge new chapter with lots of surprises, tensed moments, expectations, explorations, fun and sadness and joy.
Yoga being an important part of all, mats unrolled and rolled up, food prepared and eaten, sky observed in its ever-changing moods.