yesterday afternoon. The traffic was noticeably lighter than usual, indeed barely there, as I rode off to the other end of an adjacent suburb. The car park in the shopping centre was only half full instead of filled with circling schools of cars waiting to devour the spaces left by other people.
I returned some library books. The memorial park at the library was completely empty. The library is on the main road and I avoid pedalling along that but yesterday I could have done so safely.
I slipped into the back streets and made my way to the meeting I was attending. Compared with the outside world it was noisy and busy, filled with activity as preparations began for another event in November. I did my library duties there and then returned to the almost silent world outside.
It was one of those perfect days, a comfortable 21'C with a cloudless blue sky and no wind. People should have been out of doors. I passed the oval which would normally have a game of football or cricket in progress. There was nobody there at all. The big park with the wonderful playground equipment was completely empty. There was not so much as a dog being walked around the perimeter. One car passed me and then it was silent again. I crossed the major road that leads from the seaside to the hills without encountering any traffic.
Two people were silently pulling garden weeds behind a half closed gate next to the narrow lane which forms part of the bike path. They did not look up as I passed.
I went on - and on. I went on alone.
It was the replay of the Grand Final that had ended in a draw last week, there was a local Grand Final and some other Grand Final. I can only assume people were indoors watching.
I turned into my own short street and heard tired crying coming from our neighbour's garden.
The mother and two children have been away in Europe visiting her parents. They arrived home yesterday morning. Life is back to normal.