March 14 - Clouds
During our 12 months in Thailand, we lived in an apartment complex with many young families from around the world. My dear Canadian friend Reshmi and I would take our children to the swimming pool on the 7th floor, as we searched for ways to keep them cool and busy.
Not only was our year spent in a country far from home, but as a family we discovered the peculiarities of apartment living. The ease with which one child could be taken in the elevator to another child's home for a play date. The luxury of having a pool without needing to care for it, and the terrifying site of window washers hanging outside our rooms with their cleaning apparatus, 28 stories up.
Unaccustomed to living so high, the view from our windows never got old. A stream of traffic ribboned along the motorways and side streets without ceasing. Night and day. The only time we didn't see it so clearly, was when it rained.
And rain it did. Anyone who's experienced Bangkok's weather, knows shoes get wet and trousers need folding up if you get caught in a sudden downpour.
One such day I received a call from dear Reshmi. Her children were restless and wanting company. She suggested we hit the pool.
Torrents cascaded off the windows and walls. 'Today? In the rain?'
In my mind I imagined Reshmi move closer to one of her windows. And boy, did she have beautiful windows. She lived in the Penthouse Apartment on the 45th floor, with unmatched views across the sprawling city. 'What rain?' she asked.
'Reshmi, it's pouring out there. Has been all day. Where have you been?'
'Here. And I don't see any rain.' We laughed as she looked down from her apartment perched above the clouds, where even the showers fell below, without her knowledge.
We made different plans that day, even if I don't remember them. But I do remember, discovering there are people who really live above the clouds. Way above them. Not just in songs, with rainbows.
Back in Melbourne, and grounded by our realities here, we look up to where the clouds hang. Like most people, we know rain is falling when it hits us on the head.
Unless the day is fine and you stop for a moment to look up from your driveway, through your boys' basketball hoop, to the spot where perhaps, in another world, an apartment building may graze the sky. And there beside a freshly washed window, a friend may bask in the sunshine.
I certainly hope so.