Tuesday, July 23, 2013


It was a warm night. It could have been early spring which it was not.
The late night air of the inner city park was filled with the fugitive   scent of high quality hydroponics. The park was in an ancient gully that had been grassed over,  its steep boundaries held in place by huge trees which floated out  canopies of branches. From where she was waiting   in the car  looking down, she could imagine as it had been when it was a sewer and midden, the old time citizens flinging shit out, getting rid of stuff they didn't want, squatting in rough shacks on the ridge above  until querulous letters to the editor drove the city fathers to do something. Once something was done they had named it in their own honour. It was their town after all.

Quartets and trios of people in light clothing stood under the sodium lights talking quietly to one another.  Down at the bottom of the gully at the feet of giant marble replica of a ever brooding Moses,  three drunken boys  shouted, threw themselves down and  picked themselves up again increasing in volume as they did so. She then remembered the old double story boardinghouse villas which had sat  on the cliff up above them. To visualise them was to bring to mind a chunk of time that had its own specific sadness. The sadnesses were bottled each in their own vintage. This one contained these houses which she realised  were like dead friends whom she now realised she had never really known or appreciated. In the heat of her first summer here they had been part of the city's  underlying tropical aspect. People had sat on the verandas looking and calling down to the park, their possessions, washing and lives on show. Now the white  facade of an office block formed a rampart of small square windows.

Toby slept only a few hours and was gone  before she woke and would not be home for hours. She
would be alone all day.  In the dairy/convenience snacks  section of the supermarket, a tall transvestite on high platform espadrilles and skinny jeans was stuffing items into a large paper sac labelled "PROPERTY OF PATIENT' in blue lettering. She was slender with a bruise on a lightly beaten face and was still wearing a hospital id around her wrist. She moved speedily down the aisle  and up again rapidly selecting items as if shopping urgently for a impromptu dinner party. The sac
was filled to bursting and she had to throttle it to get a proper grip. She marched quickly  to the self check out aisle, passing  right through to the exit  doors. As she arrived  on the curb a white taxi drove up the hill to the corner,  a companion  leaned across the back seat to open the door and they drove through the intersection and out west.

On the way home, a song bird in the pensioners' housing garden was singing to itself quickly and delightedly, an old school  typewriter turning out a real page turner.

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