14. A Hot Child

12

While I was drawing this, I was distracted by something from the corner of my eye, and turned to see an older woman standing there watching me.
The woman, who was wearing a grey fitness outfit that looked like it might be made of fleece, was carrying an aluminium baseball bat, and had a small grey dog at the end of a long red leash.
She also had on big black ‘Jackie O’ style sunglasses, and what looked like a fortune teller’s turban on her head.
The dog, which was long and white and had very short legs, stood completely still looking away from us while the woman spoke to me and absent-mindedly tapped the end of the baseball bat on the footpath.
‘Is it empty that house then?’ the woman said to me as I put my *music on pause.
I told the woman that I had no idea about the house, as I was just here to draw.
The woman said nothing in response, so I elaborated.
‘No one asked me to draw it, that’s what I mean,’ I said, ‘I’m just doing it because I want to.’
The woman, who had a Caribbean or similar accent, I couldn’t tell, stared at the house for a few moments, and then looked down at my drawing again.
‘Nice,’ she said.
I said thank you, and she nodded, said nothing more, and walked away.
Then a few moments later I was distracted again, this time by a woman with a stroller containing a small child.
The woman, who seemed, even when standing still, to be in a great hurry, had long dark hair, was wearing a running outfit, and smiling and showing off some great teeth.
I said hello to the woman, and she said hello back, but when I said hello to the child its expression didn’t change, so I didn’t make any more effort with it.
‘Wow,’ said the woman who was shielding her eyes from the sun with the back of her hand, and looking back and forth from my drawing to the house as I watched up at her from the gutter in which I sat, ‘just wow.’
I said thank you to the woman, who continued to smile.
Then on the woman’s back I noticed there was another child, a baby, this one strapped on by a cloth.
The woman was slightly hunched forward, and the baby’s face was pressed flush against her back, and it’s eyes were open so I stood up to get a closer look.
‘Hello baby,’ I said, bending my head down a little bit and smiling and stroking the back of its tiny white left hand that lay just below the mother’s shoulder blade.
But the helpless infant’s expression didn’t change: the poor bound thing just stared back at me, intermittently blinking and squinting into a baking So-Cal sun.

Today’s music: Midnight Oil- Blue Sky Mining … and I found this about it.
Try this video from the ABC. Blue Death.

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