The timing of my maternity leave seems all wrong. It is misplaced, out of synch with the rest of this city's schedule, where roads have filled up again and shops are stocked to the ceiling with school supplies.
As kids pass through the streets, with loaded backpacks of fresh notebooks and shiny new pencil cases, I plod on. Pulling my cardigan as far around my bump as it will go to protect us against the autumnal wind, I slow down as everyone else gets back into their routine.
My diary thins out as others are filled with meeting times and appointments; my legs carry me increasingly slowly, as others, tanned from summer sun, speed up, jogging to be on time; my thoughts turn to new challenges, the storm that will follow this calm, just as others are plunging into new lessons or next year's priorities.
They have all started, launched themselves head-first into their new cycle. We are still waiting. Waiting to be launched into a new world we can't even imagine but that will change everything.