Tonight I walked home carrying three litres of milk in a glass jar with a plastic lid, so fresh it was still warm. It made a contented sloshing sound as I walked, and the movement inside the jar made me feel like I was carrying a living thing. The air had cooled off, and a breeze brushed my face. A friend pulled me into her shop to see the new jewelry she’d brought back from the city, strings of semi-precious stones polished to a luster, matching earrings and bracelets, all gleaming seductively in the half-light. I told her I’d think about it, asked her to put a string of jade aside for me, watched while she coiled them carefully into “sellafan” (guess what that means) and dropped them into a drawer. I went with her across the street while she showed a bracelet to Takhmina, my other shopkeeper friend, who was enjoying the leisure of the day’s end by indulging in vanilla ice cream on a stick. I bought two ice creams, one for me and one for James, and stayed to chat, still cradling my jar of warm milk in one arm. The talk in the shop turned to whether or not we’d stay here, for how long, and I found myself promising years I don’t know if we’ll have… Only God knows.
I left my friend, stood stock still for a moment at the corner, arrested by mountains faintly pink in the sunset, and walked home with eyes lifted to catch glimpses of the birds flitting in the tops of the poplar trees. Vanilla ice cream in one hand, I started typing this with the other… now that I’ve caught what I want, I’ll go outside to finish planting flower seedlings in the cool, moist dusk.