One summer day among others she disturbed me from my four year long afternoon nap. Like a 5-pointed star she skittered about side-on; the lead part in a cub scout musical and still wearing the green, gold-striped cap. Rosey, trumpet-playing cheeks and Felix the cat clock eyes.
I rolled half sideways and looked. The two star points as arms jittered up and down — wrapped around the palm of one hand was a blue-tongue lizard.
“Next door’s dog was trying to eat it!”
For a short, private moment this little creature and I locked eyes. Hideous, primitive and not belonging in a bedroom was my blanket policy on reptiles. Here was an exception.
“Hi”, he said and lowered his eyes. Was it a hint of social awkwardity there? Motion sickness? No, the faint blushing and tone of voice were of embarrassment. Held as a captive of this girl.
He grasped onto her index finger with his paws and curled his tail around the outer side of her little finger as much as its flexibity allowed, but he needn’t have worried, she wasn’t going to let go.
“G’day”, I replied quietly. He looked back at me and saw that I wasn’t mocking him. We were in the same boat.
I got up. We went into the kitchen and she eventually put the lizard down into a lidless shoebox. Each time it moved slightly she would reach in and straighten it up, keeping it neatly arranged — parallel with the side of the box.
We set him loose and he crawled under the house.
If a man is weeding his garden under the midday sun, it must be the devil because only the devil can trick the sun not to burn.
The infinite blue of the sky and the bright white shapes of dry clothes flapping lazily on a clothes line. I can hear the deep, constant rumble of a jet engine a million miles away and I drop gently from the top of our back fence into a southern european backyard.
I squat down in front of a raised garden bed, rock a little and slide into a cross-legged sit. I reach under the thin black netting, pick and eat strawberries one at a time, while watching the double-storey red-brick job for movement within.
The strawberries are tangy and as warm as the day.
The lizard slowly appears beside me. I keep eating but begin to notice his head turn ever so slightly as I ferry each one from the patch to my lips.
I hold out a smaller strawberry a little way in front of him. He cautiously takes it from my fingers and swallows it.