I go for walks in the early morning. Before Tiger is awake. Before the sun is awake.
I walk around Hobart, from my home to the north of the city, down to the water. I stand at the water’s edge and breathe.
And then I walk home and Tiger is awake and playing with her daddy and I missed her while I was walking, so I hug her until she squirms, and I listen to her dreams and the day begins.
I love my walks. I love being alone in the city – some days, I am very close to being so. I love moving through the streets, feeling boundless and limitless and beautiful and full of so much everything.
And I love the other morning people I encounter. They are my people, the early risers. They seem peaceful and full of as much love for this city as I have.
Usually, I know them only by face, but I feel closer to them than that. We share the dawn.
Today, though, I passed a girl I knew once. She was a friend, of sorts, at primary school, though her hair was always better than mine and her clothes were always cooler, and she never forgot her hockey boots.
At high school, we weren’t friends. She had better friends by then.
At college we barely nodded in the corridors. After college, she drifted into air.
Because of social media, I knew before I saw her that the girl has a fancy life now. She still has cool clothes. She works in a glamorous industry and goes on expensive holidays.
When I saw her, she still had better hair than me. And she was wearing makeup and the kind of clothes rich people wear when they don’t want to look rich.
I don’t know if she knew it was me. I smiled, a bit, in case she did.
But as I walked away, I felt unsettled. I worried my clothes were too threadbare. I had no makeup on. My hair was definitely mad.
I looked dowdy.
Not beautiful. Not boundless.
And I was angry at the girl for stealing my dawn. I was angry at myself for giving it away.
I was angry that I still cared.
I kept walking, though, all the way home.
And Tiger was waiting for me. And she sticky-kissed my face and told me she’d just been to the space station.
And I hoped beyond hope that one day, when she walks in the morning, nothing can stop her from feeling limitless.