Earlier, my keys headed off in a direction different to the one I needed them to be in. I grumbled, I blamed, I cussed and I cursed. Me temper went foul, me temper went bad. And then with a little help from life, things started to change, and something oh dear what can the matter be, shattered as the sky roared delight. This is my latest post…
Whilst waiting for the cab that would bring my keys back to me, I took my daughter out to supper to a restaurant where I’ve wanted to take her a while. Evie enjoyed the space and the long staircase down to the loos, where she could run around and sing. But supper was a non event. So after two attempts at eating a good and filling supper we ended up under the jet black sky playing hide and seek whilst eating sugar infested banana cake. After about a 50min wait, the cab arrived. I asked the driver if he would take us over the bridge.
‘I can’t take you over,’ he said. So I think of pleading because it’s nudging 7pm and it’s cold and I worry because Eve’s tired, will the walk home be hell? And I don’t want her to get cold crossing, as sometimes it can be windy but I give in and give up and pay the taxi and start our journey home.
At the end of the street there is this man with his bike walking on the pavement in front of us really really slowly whilst speaking on his phone and I feel all frustrated as I can’t walk past him and then at the lights he and another man take a short cut across the street, which as I have the buggy I can’t do.
A moment later our little McLaren zooms to life and my daughter, pram and I do a mother daughter version of a James Bond car stunt when the car flips to one side to manoeuvre an impossible oh darn heck I didn’t see that kind of manoeuvre coming and Eve and I skiaddle past these two folk who have no idea they’ve been pitted as imagined competitors in a race they didn’t know even know was happening.
But I am in that kind of mood and on passing them I feel a mild sense of victory, ah ha! Then I’m walking over the bridge and I’m going pretty slow so the guys probably end up over taking me anyway because I’m distracted by the lights all around us and the spectacle that is Albert Bridge on a November night and after all it’s not any night, it’s Guy Fawkes night and my daughter loves the river and I’m thinking shall I stop so we can look at the lights and then I worry that all the people in the passing traffic will think I’m some crazy mother who’s incredibly irresponsible stopping on the bridge and then I think oh this is baloney and I stop and park the pram and crouch down to point the river out to Evie through the portals in the bridge who strains to go closer, to see more so I lift my daughter out of the pram into my arms and stand and we look at the river and the moon just one day away from being full and London looks extraordinary.
And then fireworks start zooming and booming in the air around us and Eve and I swirl around and I say bubba bubba can you see the fireworks through the trees, pointing at a tree behind where a multicoloured wizardry of fireworks illuminate the sky around us. Pink ones! Red ones! Green ones! And I look at my daughters face to see if she can see them and her face is this pure depiction of awe and after a little while the fireworks stop and Evie’s little voice whispers ‘more…’ And then more fireworks start zittering through the sky in the other direction towards the east, soon joined by others in the north and the moon looms high in the south east and aeroplanes and helicopters soar above us and stars twinkle and Eve watches her first fireworks and my heart is singing and wow, we almost missed this.
And so thank you thank you thank you taxi man for not taking us across the river… Andthank you thank you to everything else that contributed to this moment happening right now.
‘Fireworks everywhere!’ Delights Eve.
And whilst I point some more out, a couple walk past us, turning around to watch them too and strangers stroll by and I look in their eyes and we smile, the sweetness of the moment giving me confidence and they smile and that’s such a sweet lovely thing: to share a moment of appreciation with a stranger, to be standing on this bridge that has always touched my heart for some reason, to have my daughter in my arms in the midst of all this movement and light and splendour. Joggers and men and women returning from walking their dogs in the park pass us by, as do others coming home from work and this is a moment that I think I will remember for a while: the time my daughter saw fireworks. And maybe it feels more special as on Saturday night, the night that most places celebrate Guy Fawkes, I’m out with a friend and have been feeling guilty that I would be missing the chance to take Evie to see the fireworks, but here now we’re seeing them together.
This is my favourite fireworks night ever I say to Eve.
With a joy that came a dancin,’ life welcoming it through.
And when the fireworks stop we walk on over the bridge and then swivel around and watch again as some more crackle and boom behind us. And the view is even better here, because what was hidden before is now clear and brilliant and bright.
And I bend down again to see my daughter, her little open face imprinted on my heart, as we stand by the foot of the moon and this river that swells and sinks so eternally. A gift that seems as ephemeral as a whisper I heard in the beat of my heart. But blessed with a day and a name.
Happy Guy Fawkes everyone,