Reminder: there are more Phuket pictures in my last post in case people missed them.
I am currently flying from Toronto to Hong Kong. Yes, while Hong Kong endured torrential downpours, I've been in Toronto, Canada enjoying gorgeous, late spring, Southern Ontario, weather. I arrived Friday night and left Tuesday night. While in Toronto my sister Penny asked me, "what did you do on the flight here?"
"Well, I didn't write. I just didn't have the energy," was my reply. "The bug tried to take me but I fought it hard."
Penny knows, as may some readers, that being on a plane unleashes a tornado of creativity in me. Something about being cut off from all input (such as e-mails, phone calls etc.) uncaps my creative side. Lord, help me now, though... I am on the plane back to Hong Kong and the creative tornado has me by the throat courtesy of a fantastic introspective Toronto visit and some new music on CX.. so it's time to finally write about The Red Ball.
Last summer after the Toronto Camp Comok visit, I left the island a day ahead of everyone else to return to Toronto and then Hong Kong. Keith (bro-in-law) and I drove down together and Keith dropped me off at my Dad's house where Dad has lived for 44 years (and where I grew up.) My sister Carolyn has been helping Dad clear out the house in preparation for an eventual move. A whole bunch of my stuff had been placed in the basement to be either claimed or thrown out by yours truly. It was one of those Catch-22 situations... if nothing was claimed it would be thrown out. If too much was claimed it would be downsized. If only a few small boxes remained, I'd be home free. I ended up with a few small boxes and was in the clear.
But none of this is the point. The point of all this was what happened to me while alone in the house. This was the first time I'd been alone in the house for any length of time since my mother passed away four years earlier. That was a challenge, not for emotional reasons, but because I was very aware of my past and the passage of time in an eerie way. That afternoon two things happened.
First, while going through one of my boxes I found something that had been missing for 14 years: my piano sheet music. Prior to living in HK I lived in Vancouver for several years. When I made the move out there two things went missing... a large pot roast container and my music. The pot I couldn't care less about but I searched high and low for the music. Gone. I reported back to Toronto about the missing music. My family searched everywhere to no avail. I filed a report with the moving company who came up empty handed. I failed to comprehend how this bag went missing and each time I visited Toronto used to sift through what few things I had in my parent's home, again without success.
The missing music deflated my motivation to play the piano. I'd picked up a few pieces of music since then but it was still not the same. Access to a piano was easy through church when no one was listening, but I sort of gave-up. Then there I was last summer on the floor of our basement when I popped open a box, removed a few items only to find Nat King Cole, Pink Floyd and Elton John staring me in the face. I was gobsmacked. Part of my logical mind believed it physically impossible for the music to be in the house but at this point I wasn't about to turn away this gift after thinking it missing for so long. I quickly extracted my favourite books, setting them aside to return to HK with me. (Unfortunately, I still haven't spent much time in front of the TV, but that's another story.)
I was under a time constraint that afternoon... I had to pack everything up, including items into boxes that Tess and I had bought prior to heading north to Comak with the family. All this had to be done in time to meet a very good lifelong friend of mine, Anne (Sebastian's 'darling') and also a good friend of Tess. Anne and I were having dinner prior to my catching the midnight flight back to Hong Kong.
In the middle of the packing commotion, the awareness of being in the house alone, the creepy but welcomed discovery of my piano music, another old friend passed in front of my eye to say "hello." I remember this friend from the beginning of my time... it has been around the house since I was at least two or three years old and family members claim longer than that. The story was that this friend had lost his bounce and for a long time I thought that possible. Now of course, I know this just means add more air.
Yes, the old friend was The Red Ball. I held the ball in my hands, not only had the ball not found its bounce, but was even softer forty years on. "Wow, my friend," I said to it, "there is an organizational hurricane coming up behind me and you're not going to survive that storm."
"Then blog about me," it replied, "and take a picture, too." Okay, I thought, I will do that for you. Into the garden I went to find a sunny spot for The Red Ball's pose. A few minutes later The Red Ball was immortalised in digital form. I returned into the house, placing the ball somewhere inobtruse but prominent. I stood there for a moment remembering the years when, despite the lack of bounce, the ball could still be tossed back and forth between little hands or kicked by little feet.
Eventually the heaviness of the afternoon became too much for me... but not from an emotional perspective. I just get so melancholy and don't know why... why do you suppose that is, lurkers? I quickly packed up the remaining items - including two dozen boxes of Kraft Dinner that is 3X more costly in HK and harder to find. Around about the time I was finishing up Anne arrived. We had a fabulous bottle of red wine with dinner at her place and then Anne dropped me off at the airport. My sheet music sat in my checked luggage destined for Asia while The Red Ball sat in the silent darkness of my parents' home.