Caught out. It was bound to happen, sooner or later. This is what comes of playing Juliet to my Romeo.
With a kiss and an embrace, Mr. Bill and I part in sweet sorrow, when he leaves for Whakatane Hospital, every work day morning. Desperate for one last glimpse of my beloved as he drives away, I have thrown social conventions to the wind, and stepped out in my bathrobe onto the balconies, of our various Beachpoint apartments, to wave goodbye. Until this year.
Ensconced in unit 36, we are now in the rear section, set back from the road and nestled into the bush.The balcony on this third floor flat, overlooks the Beachpoint courtyard pool and commands an expansive view of the sea, but alas, not of West End Road. When we lived in #23, we were street side and I could watch Mr. Bill enter the rotary from Villis Glade, sweep past the public toilets, drive to the end of West End Road and turn right onto Ohope Road: where I would lose sight of him, until he returned at day’s end. When neighbours Rae and Don, were breakfasting on their balcony, they would cheerily wave goodbye as well. When residing in #31, a corner apartment above the garage, I could hear the creak of the roll up gate, announcing Mr. Bill’s eminent departure. From the balcony, I would watch Mr. Bill’s car shoot out onto the ramp, with the window down and his arm extended in adieu. I would then track him, as he traversed the short distance of Villis Glade, entered the roundabout and passed the toilet block. When watching from #39, the fourth floor apartment on the third level, I lost Mr. Bill at the toilets. (If wondering how a fourth floor apartment is on the third level, please read the, “New Horizons” posted, June 2016. It will explain all.)
It was a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, when we moved into #36 in January, and I realised, that I could no longer experience, the latter part of our farewell ritual. I was bereft. How would I cope in the intervening hours, until Mr. Bill’s return? Love would find a way! The third floor apartments, open unto an outside corridor, which abuts the bush clad, Ohope Hill, and while exploring our new digs, we discovered a ‘secret’ stairway at one end of the passageway. At the bottom, it connects with a footpath leading to West End Road. Would I have to pursue Mr. Bill like the Furies, down the steps and out onto the street, to wave goodbye? Thankfully not. At the top of the stairwell there is a vantage point, with a view of Ohope Road. That’s the sweet spot, where I spy Mr. Bill. Every morning, when his car appears in the gap between the bachs next door and Froglands, we wave one last time, as he travels up Ohope Hill.
Birds serenade us when Mr. Bill takes his leave. Only the fantails, tui, blackbirds and the skittish, flightless weka, witness a quick peck on the cheek and a goodbye hug. When Mr. Bill descends to street level and disappears around the corner, my feathered friends linger, keeping me company, while I wait for Mr. Bill’s car to appear, heading up Ohope Road. I’m in my own little world each morning, as I stand sentinel with a cup of coffee, unconcerned that I haven’t yet dressed for the day. There is never anyone else about, all’s quiet, peaceful and private early in the morning. But never say never. There was that one morning, when a young tradie materialised, bounding up the steps, two at a time. I am not sure who was more alarmed, me or him. Me, for being caught out in a state of undress or him, for stumbling upon the ‘Wreck of the Hesperus’, standing like the figure head, of that ill fated ship. Poor dear, I could only feel sorry for him. I quickly explained, that I was waving goodbye to my husband. “That’s awesome”, he said with great enthusiasm, as he opened the gate, of the end unit patio. Then, being a true romantic, he gallantly stepped aside, offering to let me into my next door neighbour’s outdoor space, for an even better outlook. Suddenly shy, I demurred and off he went, across the neighbour’s wrap around deck, to access the roof- which would have been the ultimate viewing platform. But I lacked the courage to follow him. After all, how would I explain that to Mr. Bill?
Stepping outside in the mornings, just the two of us, Mr. Bill and I felt like we were living in our own romantic bubble. Little did we know, that come midnight on March 25th, our bubble would become our, COVID 19-Alert Level 4, lockdown bubble. Now we count down the days, until we can burst our bubble. I’ll even dress for the occasion.