Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sights for sore eyes

So we were having breakfast at Pepper Cafe with Dan this morning, watching half the neighbourhood pass by on their way to the shops or up the steps at the train station heading into town for the Essendon and Carlton game when an Easter Bunny who was eight foot tall appeared.

"Helloooooo! I'm Jive Bunny and I'm here to thank you for shopping locally! Have an Easter Egg!"
She was clearly on stilts and had thighs that - no, not me this time, but Sapphire - said reminded her of Hannah Gadsby. In other words, they were 'womanly' and assisted in this case by a sumo-suit fan.

For some reason this caused my eyes to tear up. I realised that I knew her; knew half the people who were taking photos including the old dude with the oxygen tank on wheels and the druggie couple who said, "Any fags in that basket of yours, Easter Bunny?" and the family across the road who were doing their damnedest to stop their youngest from becoming a blonde pancake on the road in his quest to run up for his share of the chocolate spoils.

It was the second time that morning I'd cried in public. The first was during my run around Debney Oval.

The Achilles has healed up a treat and it's been wonderful to actually run alongside Sapphire this past fortnight instead of walk, but today she met her friend Tao and they strolled around chatting as Milly and I surged ahead and even lapped them a few times.

By lap eight (or 4.8km by my reckoning), I flopped on the park bench by the wheelie bins, tried to ignore the condoms and KFC wrappers nearby and waited for the girls.
An elderly Asian couple power-walked by. I said, "Good morning," like I do to anyone that I pass by on that oval (the shared camaraderie of anyone 'getting out there' and walking or jogging when they could be sleeping in is always worth a greeting in my book) and the man started singing.


"I am from Hong Kong," he yelled. "British Hong Kong. Army song, see?" He did a march on the spot to show me.

"Nice one," I said.

"My wife...." he gestured, as she'd continued on ahead, "Is my new wife. .She Chinese. Communist!"

"Ah," I replied, "But it looks like you're happy?"

"VERY! Ho is my name. Like Ho Ho Santa! My wife is beautiful and I happy!" And off he walked, still singing, to catch up with her. To her credit she neither looked surprised or embarrassed and waved cheerily to me from the shade of the plane trees.

The young couple playing a rather relaxed game of touch rugby on the grass smiled. "Interesting bloke," the girl said.

"I want whatever it is he's having," I said, clicking on Milly's lead and hoping that they wouldn't see my eyes welling.

After lunch, it was all systems go at our place. Love Chunks was No More Gapping in the bathroom, drilling in the shed and planning the meal for tonight. Sapphire was in her room, bravely going through what needed to go into the Garage Sale pile, the Keep At Grandparents pile and Suitcase Headed for Geneva pile. My job was clean Skipper's hutch, tidy up the back yard and weed the front garden.

Our fence is pretty tall and through the chinks I saw a BMW four wheel drive pull up. No-one we know has such a car. The window was down and he was speaking as loudly as my new friend Ho.

"Look, I don't want to come home right now. I've had it; this is the end for us. I'm tired, you're tired and we both need to face the facts. We're over."

I was in a bind. I desperately wanted to stand up and straighten my protesting back but didn't want him to see that I'd witnessed one of the sadder turning points of his life. I made do with an awkward squat-walk to the garbag each time I needed to throw in a handful of weeds. With an internal plumbing system currently under extreme duress every step forward was accompanied with a little 'parp' of exhaust.

After half an hour of recriminations, sighing, accusations and agreement he eventually drove away. To the pub or the divorce court I'm not sure, but I stood up gratefully, hands on my hips and stretching, head bent back looking up at the tree fern.

"I can hear your back crack from here mate," said Mr Divvy Van as he wandered past with a plastic bag of Red Rooster and a six-pack.

I cried again.
I love Flemington and as I sob over everything from a forgotten baby photograph lodged behind the printer to a pair of shoes never ever worn, I'm grateful to feel like this. So much better than 'good riddance' or 'thank god we're going.'

Oh bugger it, me eyes are at it again......


The Elephant's Child said...

And drat you, you have my eyes welling in sympathy. I love your story of the guy not afraid to shout his love, and his partner not embarassed to hear it in public. Have decided I would rather be a weeper than a cold hearted bitch. Though sometimes I am both. Do you cry for happy things as much as for sad? I do.

River said...

I know you'll still be with us through the internet, but I'm sad you're leaving Australia.
I am looking forward to posts from Geneva though, with lots of photos please?

Marie said...

Oh yes, I empathise Kath and shed a quiet tear myself reading your post. It brought back the same mixed feelings I had during those last days; wandering around my neighbourhood (Rose Park) and my favourite haunts - places like The Three Benches at Dulwich, Central Market, The Parade, Burnside Village, Hutt Street, along the beach with a gelati, out with friends at Cibo or The Jerusalem... I confess that I almost got cold feet as well and wondered if I was completely gaga to be leaving this all behind. I love Adelaide and I love my friends there and I miss them terribly, even though I am also really happy over here. Adelaide is always a part of who I am and I think that you'll carry a bit of Flemington with you to Geneva.

Sadly, there will be many more of these moments in the coming weeks - and even some in Geneva as you adjust to the change of culture. But there will be moments of pure joy as well and the knowledge that you, LC, Sapphire and Milly are all together on this adventure.

And think of that river of chocolate....

Anonymous said...

So how long are you going for?

B Smith

Elisabeth said...

At least when you are gone Kath, you will still be able to blog and that way some of the loss will be reduced, but you can't take the geography r the people with you. I'm not surprised at all those tears.

Lidian said...

Another misty-eyed reader here. Thinking of years ago, newly married, leaving my favorite city ever,in moving truck bound for Boston (and for a weird basement apartment we had only spied through its weird dusty windows, so desperate were we to find a place). I cried and cried as we drove away, all my friends and favorite places and Best Apartment Ever were gone. Now my oldest is about to leave home for university and I find myself tearing up (and trying to hide it) at all sorts of odd times.

Thinking of you, yes indeed. BTW, you are one fabulous, fantastic, amazing writer.

Kath Lockett said...

EC, yes I do. I cry during television ads...! Have burst into tears of frustration at Sapphire three times today and twice again at the lovely essay she wrote as part of her Geneva school application.

River, blogging completes me, so you'll be reading and seeing a helluva lot more to come.

Marie - I'm nostalgic for Adelaide after reading through your list (although we had a Norwood focus living as we did in Trinity Gardens). I could go a pepper pie and a Farmers Union iced coffee right now with a Balfours Frog Cake chaser.....

B Smith - two years to start with, but the likelihood is 4 to 6. If it all goes to shit, we come home but if Sapphire's happy at high school and LC loves his job, then we'll try our best to see that she does the whole of secondary schooling there and ends up with an IB to take anywhere.

Thanks Elisabeth. Marie has summed up the feelings pretty perfectly. I'm big on photos and emails so the memories, news and contacts are up to me to keep strong and fresh.

Lidian, now you're making me cry all over again! Good crying, if that makes any sense.....

River said...

My gosh! You're going to be so far away from Farmers Union Iced Coffees! I hadn't thought about that. No more hopping across the border for a quick fix.....

Kath Lockett said...

I know, River :(
I'll just have to drown myself in Lindt fondue instead :)

Kath Lockett said...

I know, River :(
I'll just have to drown myself in Lindt fondue instead :)

Maxine Beneba Clarke said...

The park scene you set is so visible I could envisage his white trainers and navy tracksuit. Beautiful.

Andrew said...

You won't be gone forever. Your house will still be there for your return and all the familiar things you know. You should start to get excited soon.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Aww! Poor you. Men don't cry - we just occasionally get things stuck in our eyes - or suffer from hay fever - or catch a cold - or choke on something - or ...





franzy said...

I hear Flemington is very dusty at this time of year.

Almost as dusty as this stupid office.

Seriously, though, I am literally choking with jealousy.

JahTeh said...

At least it's your eyes leaking this time.

You do realize you are moving to the home of chocolate?
Care parcels to Australia will be welcome, we'll make sure you have our addresses before you leave.

Kymmie said...

Oh, you're going to miss that easter bunny and all those lovely familiar things. Will you get back much? Will you be there forever? Thank GOD for the internet. At least we can hear all about your exciting adventures right here... xx

Vanessa said...

Oh good, so you should be there long enough for me to have a visit! Man I am jealous! Really happy for you actually x

Kath Lockett said...

Thank you Maxine - that's a real compliment coming from a performance poet like yourself! (damnit, these eyes are letting me down again)....

Andrew, I am getting excited. Things are starting to get ticked off the 'to do' list and the reality of snow for Christmas is starting to seep in. And the chocolate. Oh, the chocolate....

Plasman, even LC sniffled a little the other day. A mixture of 'what the hell are we doing' with 'I'm glad we're doing it' and a hug over the morning coffee.

Franzy, I hear that fondue and hot chocolate are good cures for dusty conditions. And jealousy.

JahTeh, you've unwittingly planted a seed. Fancy taking over GoneChocco?

Kymmie, actually we're spending this Easter in Singapore - a rather 'big deal' for us that we planned a bit earlier that is now becoming a bit overshadowed by Geneva..... However I think when we land in Changi and feel that humid air hit my face I hope to relax, soak in the sights and not think about the 'to do' list for a few days. Oh and eat my body weight in chili crab....

Thank you Vanessa - I think this humble blog will be quite the lifeline for me.