He is a slender man with skin the colour of roasted coffee beans. In his late twenties, I estimate quickly. His taxi is as clean as his simple blue shirt. He settles into the driver’s seat and lowers sunglasses over long lashed eyes. I know he has caught my gaze in the rearview mirror. When he smiles he is a boy again. His dimples are deep. I like him immediately.
As I close my eyes and sink lower into the backseat, he turns on the air con and asks if I’m comfortable. A thoughtful gesture that makes my eyes glisten in a world of competing demands. I enjoy the solitude for a few seconds. Unable to tolerate the silence he blurts out, “I remember you. You are the lady who works very hard for her family.” I try and minimise my lifestyle amid his insistent, “no, no, you travel a lot”. He remembers our previous conversation in vivid detail. He asks if I’m going to Broome again. I now remember him, as among other things, we had talked about camels. He is from the Middle East and as a child was a witness to the unspeakable terror of war. I’m ashamed he has remembered more about me than I have of him.
He talks impulsively. Recalling our previous conversation, he tells me he too has a bucket list now. He wants to provide for his young children like I have done for mine. It is possible in “this beautiful country” to achieve this, “if you work hard”. I sense this is his daily mantra.
He has no other plans than to give his children a childhood they remember rather than one he tries hard to forget.
I knew I liked him the moment I met him. This time I don’t want to forget him, so I offer him a home where I live, the space between the keyboard and screen.
And, perhaps, in your thoughts, when you meet or see someone like him.
Until next time,
a dawn bird