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A Writer's Life: Limo Service
by Joanne Arnott

“Your life isn’t boring!” Theo protests, as I push him on the swing. I am doing this as a personal favour: he is far too big and capable to actually need my assistance with this.

Isidore chimes in, “You’re an Author!”

Jules wanders too close to the arc of the swing. Shouted warnings, attempts to stop the swing, all to no avail. He is thrust to the dust with the helpless prod of his elder brother’s foot. No serious injury.

I am reminded how exciting my life really is...

My plan had been to put the kids to work, helping me to clean the apartment. I would then return the key to the manager, and ask him to call a taxi for us. As things turned out, however, the kids weren’t a great deal of help, and they inadvertently knocked a closet door off its moorings, in the bedroom with only three walls. I really didn’t feel like engaging with the manager at all. After cleaning the apartment to the best of my ability, I slipped the key through his mail slot, and skulked away in not-very-good humour. I carried the vacuum, mop, broom, the bucket of rags and cleaning agents, down to the street. I instructed my young sons to watch for a taxi, reminding them what a taxi looks like, and asked that they let me know when they saw one.

We watched the stream of traffic pass, pause for the nearby lights, and pass some more– buses, trucks, cars. No taxis. My tension, already high because of an ongoing custody struggle and the usual turmoil of moving house, was mounting: the boys’ father, my ex-partner, had agreed to watch the baby while I did the cleaning, and we were running late.

My son Harper noticed a long, white limousine gliding through the traffic. He began energetically waving at the driver.

“Harper!” I snapped. “That is not a taxi!”

The traffic lights changed, and the limo slowed to a stop across the street. The driver looked over at the three of us, standing at curbside, mops and bucket in hand. He unrolled his window and shouted to us.

“Hey, if I pull around there, will you clean my car?”

“No,” I responded, tired and embarrassed. “But you can give us a ride home, if you like.”

“Where’s home?”

We were moving into a subsidized apartment, provided by the Vancouver Native Housing Society. “Not far,” I said, and shouted the particulars to him.

“Just a second,” he said.

The lights changed and we watched as the limo pulled through the intersection. One of my sons asked, “Is he really going to give us a ride?”

No better informed than he was, I said, “I don’t know. We’ll see.”

The driver pulled his long sleek vehicle around, half a block down, and slowly approached us again, on our side of the road this time.