Wednesdays with Lois (Hat tip to Renee's WednesdayBusk - with a single recommended busk from her archive, here). 4 min read.
Summer, 2017. Lois has not long met the man she will swear isn't the reason. They're on the Blue Bridge Ferry heading south, deeper in. She tries not to dwell on the irony of being on a boat, with a boat, booked into boat-only accessible accommodation in the Marlborough Sounds. She'd once heard Billy Connolly describe boats as prisons with the possibility of drowning and she quoted him often, even though her husband always thought she was joking.
Somehow, Lois musters the energy to join the family on the top deck to watch the city shrink and disappear behind them. Her daughter clicks the polaroid camera setting to "sunny-sunny" and snaps a picture. Lois waves the photo in the air then inspects it. She looks young, miserable, and boxing-day bloated.
In the distance behind her, though she cannot see him and has no way of knowing it, the man she is trying to forget is sitting on the Petone foreshore watching the ferry sail away from the harbour, writing lines of poetry with the same compulsion he had when he was 16, which is to say: without wondering if he could or had any right to:
Churning cumulus chases the craft toward the cavity carved by Ngake
It was you, one Tuesday
Lois, being Lois, told her husband the same day she met him. It was at a reo Māori wānanga that her husband declined to attend on account of being too tired from working all week. He begrudged Lois going anyway but knew better than to say so.
Lois described the stranger who delivered the karakia in the wharenui, from the unraveling of his headscarf to his bare tattooed feet. "I thought he was an Arab," she said breathlessly "but he speaks Māori fluently."
They invited him over for tea. Lois made chicken curry with chunks of pineapple. She was both delighted and horrified when her new friend arrived dressed even more extravagantly than the first time they met. On top of the purple shirt and tie, he wore a camo vest featuring multiple pockets and velcro straps upon which a collection of PSA badges glinted cheekily.