She was all tuckered out, the last sunlight in her hair. Her hair spread across the pillow.
We had had a big day. We’d played in the park with our friends and their young family. Sandpits, swings and ziplines for the Eldest in his padded romper suit. The Youngest slept, but only for as long as I pushed her pram round and round the little paths. I could see my Lovely sat on a bench in the sun, talking secrets with the Mummy. I saw the Eldest playing near them with his trike and bright shovel. The Daddy had paused, perched at the top of the zipline ladder. He had a rare moment of peace, quite literally watching over is little family.
Then it was off to the river. Half the valley was full of colour, the other half had been silvered by the sun and mist. The Eldest has a fondness for the passenger ferry, so we sat and watched it for a cycle (toot toot!). The river was running fast, the boats were struggling. The gulls weren’t. The Eldest and I learnt lots of words for nature. My German is getting better.
There was more practice at home. We snuggled down, now alone, on our sofa. I read aloud from her favourite childhood book. Sunsets, cuddles and storytime. Bliss.
Bliss punctuated by sneezing. I stopped reading and tucked her up for a nap. Quiet.
But I wanted more time by the river. I changed into my leggings, snuck downstairs and sprinted down the avenue. Soon I was at the tow path, loloping downstream. The sun glowed orange through the trees. My running made a funny strobe of warmth, dusk, warmth, dusk, warmth. As I slowed for a walk break I heard a woodpecker. When I heard him again I ran again
I ran to the deer park. Two old ladies were smoking on a bench: a dad ran while his son cycled: two ladies kept up a cracking pace: an old man was doing interval training.
I turned, running up river towards home. I was a little behind a barge, powering against the current. I pushed myself to pull level with it. I surprised myself. I pushed on. The barge became my running buddy. I kept pace, then drew level to the wheel house, then the cargo, then the other end of the cargo. By the time I had to turn uphill, I was past the prow. I hadn’t taken even one walking break.
Back home, the sky was dark, but our window was light.