I was awoken by a voice bellowing down from upstairs: "Auntie Jane? Are you up yet? It's a beautiful day. Want to go for a Real Walk?"
I was, in fact, not even close to getting up.
"Uh, yeah. I'm up," I grumbled.
"K. LET'S GO," she shouted.
"Give me a few minutes."
"BRING SOME WATER BOTTLES."
"AND YOUR WALLET." And then I heard her walk away.
Where the heck were we going? I texted her, "Should I pack my passport too?"
She ignored me.
I don't have shorts that fit. And my legs were hairy. But no way was I wearing pants.
I texted her, "Might need a few more minutes. Going to shave my legs."
That looked after, I found my one pair of shorts. And rolled the legs up by two full rolls. And then rolled the waist band over so they wouldn't slip down. I covered that with a spaghetti-strapped leopard-printed tank top. I tried bra-less, but those years are definitely over. So I put on my new black lacy job. Is it OK to have straps showing? Probably better than not having it on at all. Besides, her and I usually walk through trails and paths that nobody else frequents. Who is going to see me?
I grab my breakfast (frozen chocolate bar) and a water bottle. And put my phone, bank card and a $5 bill in my pocket. I'm ready to go.
She is lounging on the back of her truck, waiting patiently for me.
This is her gig, so I just follow her lead.
She takes off for the steep hill.
Half way up, the last bite of chocolate is still in my mouth but I can't swallow it. I can't hardly breathe. I am drooling, because I can't close my mouth or I will suffocate. No way my lungs are going to get enough air through my nose. I am mouth-breathing in a most unattractive way.
"Do you need to stop?" she asks.
I finally catch my breath, swallow the remains of my breakfast, drink half of my water, and say a prayer. We move on.
We turn right at the top of the hill. Then left onto 156th. And for the first time since I moved to Fraser Heights, I walk UNDER the freeway.
"I thought we'd be avoiding people today. Where are we headed?"
"So we'll be walking alongside the busiest streets in Surrey?"
"Yeah. No one knows you. It doesn't matter."
"Mandi? I grew up here. This whole area is part of my old 'hood. See that street, Brad lived there. And the road behind this one, Denise (Bummer's family) lived there."
"Whatever. It's not like anyone still lives around here."
"You'd be surprised how many of us stayed within 2 miles of the house we grew up in .."
Regardless, we walked along 104th, then down 152nd, and over to 108th.
I stopped to smell (figuratively speaking) the flowers along the way:
And whenever I need to stop moving, I take another pic:
We ended up here:
In Fabricland, on 108th Ave, so she could buy some thread:
I've probably been in a fabric store six times in my entire life. So this was like a high school field trip for me.
We walked for another couple hours, and made it back home at 3 pm.
My hip joints were starting to complain.
She and I both went into the house, she upstairs, and me to the basement and met back out on the driveway with even less clothes on. (The front of the house faces south. And that's where the sun was. The more private backyard faces north and was shaded.)
The two houses directly across the street from us are for sale and the realtors were having open houses.
"Way to go Auntie Jane. People come into the neighbourhood looking at multi-million dollar homes, and here we sit, like white trash, on the driveway, bringing down the value of the houses in our area."
(That's her on the patch of grass at the end of the driveway, right on the road, wearing an orange cowboy hat, stretched out on a hotpink towel, reading a book.)
And I sat here,
wearing my black and white polka dotted Costco bathing suit underneath my ten-year-old pink-striped Carebear pajama shorts and a magenta tank top.
I am fairly certain no houses were sold on our street this afternoon.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Long walks with talkative, patient nieces.
2. My Mexican pre-tan. Colour just pops right back to the surface, even with the whimpy April sun.
3.Pizza Hut delivery.