The weather has warmed comfortably, recently. It has been more comfortable than ever, at least since the year began, to take walks, to just go around to see if we can’t discover new things, new mock-worlds. We’ve been living in this city for years, so we know most, in a very general and vague sense, of what is about, what’s around such and such corner and what’s where. At times though, new boutiques or new buildings show up, at times seemingly out of nowhere for us because we hadn’t been to that part of the city in some time.
There still is some snow on the ground but after the big storm, as if because mother nature had changed her mind and realized she hadn’t meant to snow us in, we had several days of high heat where most of it melted away, leaving just enough to warrant still knowing we were at the edge of winter and spring.
Depending on the days and just how we fell, we take the twins with us. None of us are really aware of how much of the city they know about and we figure that walks in the warming weather to help them learn a bit more basic city-geography cannot hurt. Today we took the bus, headed almost to the other edge of the city. It had been some time since we’d last been there.
The results of our walk turned out to be very different from what we had been expecting.
“I guess this place has more kids than it did before.” His voice is quiet, thoughtful as he surveys the large playground. It had been there before when we last had come though it had been more a park than a playground. There had been no jungle gyms, no swing sets, no- well most of the playground had just been trees and greenery with some picnic tables.
“Well, they do have a new school built up, that wasn’t there two years ago when I was last here.” A large school, I didn’t really take note of its name when we walked past, it didn’t seem overly important. Though by the equipment they had set up on the playground, I have to assume that it might be an elementary school at the very least.
We both watch the twins go up to the jungle gym, the swings, the seesaws. They touch everything, their eyes wide and filled with curiosity. It’s so strange to look at these things.
I feel my feet move me forward and I go with. I didn’t have a chance to grow up like most kids do, at least how I assume most kids do. I know Quentin didn’t either and I’m pretty sure the twins never saw this place either. I wonder if either Alexis or Eoghan had that kind of childhood. It seems unlikely for how old they both are. It leaves me wondering about Zora and their new strange resident but I’m sure the answer is the same for everyone, though maybe not Zora. She might have had something of a normal childhood before her life went to hell.
The twins are at the swings now, despite the mud holes settled beneath them. We can always wash up a bit before we go inside, take off all messy garments. I’m not really worried. We took them out on this walk so we could discover the world. If this is what they want to do, I won’t stop them. They deserve to know what it feels like and I want to believe that this is a case of better late than never.
I look back to Quentin, he’s by the teeter-totter, looking it over. He looks confused, I guess he’s not sure what the point of it is and I laugh softly as I make my way over to him to try to explain it. I often saw kids in the bigger, better school not far from us in their playgrounds. I know what they are for, I’ve just never used them myself.
It is the rumble of our stomachs that pull us out of the playground and back on the brief walk. We spot a small quick-eating restaurant and buy ourselves sandwiches at the counter before we settle by the window to eat in companionable silence. It almost feels like we’re family in a strange way. We’re all together, just enjoying ourselves and appreciating the city and our walk.
Once we’ve eaten, we’re back outside, it’s still clear out, my watch claims it’s somewhere near noon. We decide to just keep on walking along the street we were on for a while, see if we spot anything new. It’s a beautiful day and a walk just for the sake of fresh air and discovery is beautiful.
The boys stop in front of an old book shop, their faces almost pressed to the glass and I laugh. They’re adorable honestly. I don’t really know how old they might be mentally, at times they seem mature for their age but most of the time, as they’re discovering the world almost as a whole, they seem so much younger.
“Zora book!” Mira turns his eyes up to me as he offers the words.
I blink and look down to the point he’s pointing at. It seems like an old sort of book but it might very well be in Hindi. I’m not sure what it is but if he wants to get something for his sister from this walk, I have no reason to complain.
Quentin looks down at the book too and I see something almost twinkle in his eyes.
“It looks like that old fairytale book I have at home, one of the bones you got me for my birthday.” I blink again as I try to compute this. We’re in France, we’re no where near India. I can understand that some old books get brought in by people whose family members have died and left behind things but this seems a bit far-fetched.
I shake my head and step inside with Mira, he picks up the book carefully and brings it to the counter where a kind old man doesn’t even bat a lash at the strange look of him (it’s not every day you see a young man with two-toned hairstyle that natural in a bookstore) and he wraps up the book carefully while I pay for it.
Mira hugs it almost fiercely to his chest as we step back outside. He looks pleased as can be. “Pay back soon.”
I shake my head and chuckle at him softly. I don’t know how he expects to pay me back since neither he or his brother work and I honestly don’t mind. We took them out on this walk so this is just natural for me.
The sun is low on the horizon when we make it back to our buildings, when the bus drops us off. We watched the twins head up to their door, Mira still clinging securely to his book. I’m sure it will make Zora happy. It’s something they got for her, maybe they’ll ask her to read some for them.
I tug Quentin back inside to our own home. Today has been a good day, filled with little discoveries and interesting finds. The food we had was simple but filling, it tasted delicious just the same. My legs ache a little from the long walk but I take that for a good sort of ache.
Once we leave our coats behind and make sure Areli and Lavi have enough food in their bowl, we just head off straight towards the pool. This is routine. Unless we have anything else planned, we tend to slip into the pool after long walks, it helps us relax and it just feels wonderful. We swim for a while, then settle on the floating mattress where I admit we tend to drift off for a while. We’re usually woken up by hunger.
I think it’s a good sort of routine, honestly.