After the storm.

This year, the first day of spring did not start well.

I love spring, its pulls in closely on a tie with summer as my favourite season. Summer is glorious, spring is pretty. I like them both for different reasons.

I woke up feeling invigorated, the sun was shining and it was warm outside. I could hear all the little birds singing and the orchid plant we keep down in the study surprised us with two very beautiful blooming flowers as if to welcome spring itself.

I had plans to spend the day with my best friend bike-riding down to the beach to sun-bake and harboured an “it’s going to be a good day” attitude. So by all means, it really should have been a good day. Except that this spring day had ulterior motive, and try as I may, there was simply no avoiding it.

It was seven-thirty when I jumped out of bed and headed to the shower. I quickly yelled out to J (the best friend), that I would be ready to go within the hour and she said she’d be waiting. I washed my hair and shaved my legs. Moisturised from head-to-toe and straightened my hair. I was so close to being ready, but I never quite made the promise of an hour.

From the view of the bathroom window, I watched rain clouds seemingly appear from nowhere. The beautiful warm first of spring all of a sudden became a little dark and gloomy. And somehow, so did my mood.

No longer did I have the “it’s going to be a good day” feeling, it had been replaced with a sinking feeling and a sudden overpowering dislike for my own appearance. Its a feeling that’s difficult to describe, unless you’re a girl – then you’ll know exactly the feeling I’m talking about…

The one like a lyric straight out of Nine Day’s Story of a Girl (the perfect title, really) where clothes look ridiculous and the make-up doesn’t work. And don’t even get me started on the hair (you’d think straightening would sort it, but it was very apparent it did not). I ended up just standing in front of the mirror utterly confused as to what to do with myself to make myself look remotely presentable to the world. And yes, on this morning, I will admit I spent a ridiculous amount of time being this vain.

In the end, I pulled a face in the mirror as if to confirm the ugliness was here to stay and quickly thought to stop the double-chin-special-smile-one-eye-half-closed look before, in my mothers words, the wind would change and I would be stuck with it.

Collecting my all-too-embaressing vain personality and shoving it back in her box, I chucked on a baggy-T and a pair of denim shorts, and braved the day.

The skies threatened to pour down on us as J and I rode our cruisers towards the beach. We defiantly pushed on. We marvelled at the fact that the breeze was in fact a bonus in ensuring that we never broke a sweat the entire trip. We blasted J’s favourite playlist from her bike-basket and sung along to the happy tunes. For a moment, I was convinced the day was turning around.

We were about half-an-hour in and almost at the shore’s edge when we had to dismount our bikes and walk across a busy crossing. Usually, this is no task for anyone. But on this day, I was much safer aboard the bike itself it appeared.

In a freak-slightly-uncoordinated event, my bike caught on the edge of an island on the road and bounced the bike up to the curb. As I corrected the handle bars and brought the bike back down towards me, I made no account for the plastic pedal whose vengeance was immediate. The sharp teeth of the pedal devoured the skin on my shin, carving three long gashes in perfect parallel.

The blood made the wound look much worse than it was, but the swelling made harmony with the pain felt. It was easily the fastest developing case of the “Kankles” I’ve ever known. If I didn’t feel pretty before, well I certainly wasn’t feeling it now.

Luckily for me and my kankle, there wasn’t too far to travel before we reached the beachside and set up our towels to sunbake. There was still clouds overhung in the air, but every now and then the sun would poke through the clouds and bring enough warmth to make us doze. I remember thinking I could deal with the clouds, the messy hair and the kankle for those glorious sunshine moments.

That was until my phone received an angry message from the President of a local rugby union club, stating that I owed her $60. How? Well, it’s a long story better suited for another time, but essentially…. a ladies day function, too much champagne, an entire rugby team’s jerseys up for grabs in a charity bid, a sharpie texta, too many drunk friends and a set of leopard print cat ears. Cut the story short, I unwittingly won the bid for number 21’s sweaty jersey at a whopping $60, and having not paid the money nor collected the jersey, Robyn the rugby president had tracked me down.

Despite the fact that I definitely did not want the jersey, paying the $60 would have been fine… if i hadn’t had just bought a puppy four days prior and subsequently placed myself on the precarious border of needing to sell body parts for money. So I wasn’t impressed. In fact, a little frustrated that they would let champagne-indulged patrons bid in the first place! I mean, I was wearing a feather boa and leopard ears for goodness sake – seriously, lock me up. I’m a danger to myself when I’m sober, let alone a few too many glasses under with friends who think writing your name on the bidding board is a good idea and you agree.

But it was for charity. And a bid is a bid. So I semi-begrudgingly transferred through the money to the nominated account. Then spent a good fifteen minutes typing out a nicely-worded email back to Robyn so that maybe she wouldn’t think me to be an alcoholic hot mess.

Honestly, what could go wrong next? I did ask it aloud at the time. And I wish I hadn’t.

Then my phone vibrated again, this time displaying an incoming message from the lady who had originally arranged to drop the new puppy, Igloo, off on Sunday. Since we had already made the two and a half hour trip to meet him last Sunday, she offered to do the trip down in order to bring him to us. Unfortunately, her message went along the lines of her children being sick and not being able to leave them in order to deliver Igloo. She had requested that we collect him instead.

The problem was trying to organise mine and my Mr.’s life schedule (which already doesn’t match often) to find a time for us both to go up so that one of us could hold Igloo on the gruelling trip home. And Sunday just wasn’t going to work, neither were the following days of the week. In fact, the only time I had to possibly drive to pick Igloo up was there and then that Thursday afternoon.

So I sent off a message requesting whether this was okay, assuming that since her kids were sick that she would be home and available for us to come up. She didn’t reply straight away, but my Mr. and I had already banked on her saying yes and organised to leave as soon as I got home.

I was on my way riding home with my funky looking kankle and a whole lot of dried blood which made it look like a shark attack, when her reply came through. She was starting work at 4pm, so if we could get to her by 3.30pm – that would be okay, but otherwise it would have to wait. Looking at the clock which boasted 12.40pm, I suddenly was well aware of the 11km bike ride I needed to complete in 20 minutes. I’ve never peddled so hard in my life, and my legs knew about it.

Despite the odds, I managed to get home two minutes after 1pm. My Mr. and I pulled out of the estate by 8 minutes past. Finally, something good was about to happen! I was going to get my puppy!

We quickly stopped off at the petrol station before getting onto the highway when my phone starting ringing. By now, I really should have just turned the thing off.

It was my boss, she had rung to let me know about the CN position I interviewed for a week ago. I sat there in the car biting my lip as she told me I was a little too junior for the position and despite a good interview, didn’t quite have enough experience. And just like that, I lost my shiny CN shoes that I had hoped would be mine.

In all honesty, I knew this would most probably be the case. I mean, how would they ever be able to justify giving me the job over someone who has been a nurse for so much longer than me. But they had given me an interview so I had just hoped I was in with the chance.

I didn’t cry. I’m only 23. I’ve got plenty more opportunity ahead. But it did sting, and for a moment there I really let my heart sink so low I didn’t know whether even a puppy could bring me back from it.

For my Mr.’s sake more-so than mine, I kept my head up and hung all my hopes on the puppy. This day had been a nightmare so far, but I’d conquered worse, so I soldiered on.

We had been driving for 2 hours when we hit road works. Time was getting away from us rapidly, and the big red stop sign wasn’t helping us reach our destination any more quickly.

By the GPS’s calculations, we still had an hour and a half left to drive – which gave us a ETA of 4pm. Way too late to pick up Igloo. We were in a conundrum, trying to decide whether to turn back now, or just attempt to make it on time and hope there would be no more road works.

We chose to just keep going and hope for the best. It was all I had left to do.

By this point, I was just trying to simply comprehend how so much bad could wriggle it’s way into one day alone. Could nothing go just a little bit right?

Finally, my phone vibrated with good news. The lady had organised for someone else to be there when we would eventually make it to pick up the puppy so that the journey, fuel and time would not be wasted. It was the best news of the day, and I started breathing a little easier knowing something was going to my way.

We picked up Igloo at 3.58pm on the dot. And he was everything I needed and more.

A little 3kg bundle of fur, with bigger brown eyes than mine – and he was perfect. Yapped for the first twenty minutes of the drive home relentlessly before passing out in a deep sleep, but was pure bliss in every way.

He was the rainbow after the storm. My little golden lining to the worst first day of Spring I’ve ever had.

He’s my proof that there is always something good in what is percievably bad, and my fluff-ball reminder to keep following the light at the end of the tunnel through some of my darkest moments.

Igloo is a handful, but I love him more than words can say. And as for all the rest of the events that happened on Thursday? Well none of that really matters anymore.

Keep going, always.

d x



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