Forbearance enjoys tending a fresh crop of hyacinths, irises, black-eyed susans, bluebells and kitchen herbs. She has read somewhere that to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow, and loves watching them drink in the warm summer mornings through her back window, as they come into their fullness. She remembers what it was like to be strong, to feel the glorious wind billow out her brave, blond hair as she dashes up the impertinent coast. She has found herself equal to the urgent summons of a man’s arms, the needful press of a child’s, the sway and dip of dancing. She is no stranger to the sudden bitter quarrel, nor the slow, sweet making up after. She has mourned family, seen children grow up and leave home, taken on new names. Forbearance is a veteran of fickle weather and has mastered the diplomacy of storms. Few things surprise now; fewer still faze. She has learnt to take her time, and to let some things be.
Mostly she wishes the carelessly young could know what it is like to grow old. How they love to shoulder past or stare! The streets tilt steeper every time she steps out of the house, and she must go gentler on that one foot ever since the accident. There was a time when, waking before the birds, she would hop up the nearby hill in the dark to watch the sun come up. She has always had a knack for keeping still and listening quietly. Some days she wishes those sheltering, immortal gums she used to sit under can tell her what she is waiting for.
Every week Forbearance and her neighbours, Compassion and Grace, sing in a choir to cheer the forgetful and forgotten. They keep each other company, and awake. In their presence, her house loses a little of its hollow music, shakes off shadows. She brings in fresh cut flowers from her garden, arranges them in a vase she has kept and loved for years. Sharing another of the many tales only Forbearance could have earned, her eyes gleam with an ageless light, as she sets aside her tiredness and remembers Hope.