Tim C Taylor copyright 2012
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At two in the morning, company is rare, especially for cleaners. The night routine breeds a different type of friendship borne of solidarity and Fay watches out for the familiar faces; she knows they will look out for her. Even though the most she usually shares is a nod or a wave, Fay fabricates the lives of her ‘night patrol’ as if they are intimates.
Romana begins her morning walk at three preferring to exercise the sleepless hours away. The shadows on her now-empty bed conspire to recreate her husband from the strands of longing webbed across her pillow. Up when even the cats have given up on the night, Romana carries large red-and-blue-striped, plastic zip-up bags ready for the accumulation of refundable cans and plastic bottles. The left hand bag is filled with strips of Messenger newspapers. She layers these across the goods to muffle the noise as she fills the right hand bag. Once this bag is almost full, the remainder of the paper will be placed on top, ready to pass back. A brisk ten kilometre walk yields about five dollars each day. ‘Not bad!’ she chuckles, ‘Almost as much as the pension and I am as quiet as a mouse.’