No-man’s land between New Year and pay-day is the least hospitable place of the year. Forced to count in coppers as coins small and smaller regain their status as legitimate currency. Even the ducks can’t be arsed making the modest swim across the mirrored pond to accept our offer of stale bread. The new bike is wearily abandoned mid-cycle in solidarity with them so we walk it back to the car then bundle ourselves into the house with a collective relief none of us own up to.
For every set of speakers blasting Bowie across suburbia this week there must be the same in neighbours wishing someone would turn it the fuck down. Consideration for ours is fleeting with the volume creeping upwards incrementally with each passing video. Our girl’s not sure if he’s a boy or a girl but gives up caring eventually. She claims every song as her favourite. I think she’s lying; it’s Starman. We debate the merits of Bowie versus Michael Jackson. She looks at me pitifully when I suggest there’s no contest. Don’t be silly, Mum. She hasn’t learned to eye-roll yet so laughs instead. Her musical loyalties are taking shape, another marker of her move further into the forest of independence. And wilful disobedience.
No-man’s land between New Year and pay-day was probably the only time of year Bowie could depart. Nature has the grace to be grieving already. The light respectfully hangs at half mast giving sufficient visibility for small hands to grab older ones to swing one another around the hearth to wake the dead and ourselves momentarily up out of the January fug.