April 24, 2017

24:04:2017

I think I’ve shared music by Tony Anderson before but it’s so good I thought I’d share some more. His is all instrumental, ambient, and heart swelling. I find it very good to write to. This one is called Dwell.

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Current chain of writing days: 24

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I had a very full weekend, just past. Very full. Fuller than I thought, and I wanted to write the details down because while it was a very full weekend it wasn’t necessarily a momentous one – one of those ones where something so big happens you know you’ll never forget it – and I believe this weekend deserved to be remembered. No doubt my brain will file and sort the details somewhere into the already extensive back catalogue of days and weeks that exist inside my memory bank, but the usual result of doing so is that, while it still exists in my head, I’m unlikely to think of it until sometime in the future when someone says “Remember that weekend where we…’, and I say, ‘Oh, yeah.’ So, to hold onto it a little bit longer I’ve decided to write it down.

Now, I didn’t want it to be a ‘I did this and then I did this’ kind of thing and so I thought I would just give snapshots, describe single moments in time that occurred throughout the weekend that when combined together give a pretty good synopsis of events. A kind of flash nonfiction.

That’s probably more than enough preamble, so let’s get into it.

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There’s a man on stage holding a book, and another one holding a guitar. Both are English. One of them, the one with the guitar, has shaggy blonde hair, an easy smile and a bit of a paunch that’s most likely been brought on from recent fatherhood. The other, the bookholder, is balding, bespectacled, and ready to fire witticisms with extreme emotion, comedic timing, and a vocabulary that would put any standard dictionary to shame. Around the room there is laughter. The man with the book is telling a story, the second of three, which is humorous and heart filled, and that, by the end of the night, will combine with the other two of it’s ilk in a way both complete and satisfying. Interrupting these stories at appropriate intervals are songs, likewise funny and well written, performed, unsurprisingly, by the man with the guitar. In front of the stage and looking up at the two English gents are some three hundred plus people, all sitting; who, in this environment, are known as an audience. In the fourth row from the front, directly in the middle, sits a woman, Holly, and a man, Damian. It’s roughly nine thirty at night on a Friday, and while these two heroes are starting to feel the fatigue of a long day at work combined with their evening outing they are undeniably having a wonderful time. This is because the show, while long – it’s been going for a two and a half hours at this point and still has one and a half hours to go – is excessively entertaining.

It’s two hours later and Holly and Damian are in their bedroom, both dressed in pyjamas. Damian is setting an alarm on his phone while Holly sits, hand posed over the switch of the lamp, ready to turn it off as soon as Damian’s job is complete. He sets down the phone, she turns off the lamp, and they both lie down to sleep. In just over four hours the alarm will go off.

Fire blares above their heads with a thunderous, and often conversation interrupting, roar. Holly and Damian stand squished into a small wicker basket. With them are their friends, Caitie and Stephen, as well as seven other strangers; one of whom, in this environment, is known as a pilot. The pilot is an older man, slightly weathered, with a ready smile, and even readier facts about their current mode of transport. He gives another turn of the handle, the fire roars again, and the hot air balloon moves further away from the ground. All in the basket look out over the rolling hills on the Yarra Valley below, or, at the seven other balloons gently floating through the air around them. Camera’s click and the scene is fixed into pixels of various colours and various amounts, to be shared, and commented on, and remembered.

A little over an hour later and the couple and their two friends now sit around a table. In front of each of them sits a glass of champagne, customary after a hot air balloon ride, or so they are told, inside the restaurant of a winery. Two and a half others join them at the table. They are Courtney and Josh, friends who were unable to partake in the balloon section of the morning’s activities due to the final ‘half’ member of the group. He is Rupert and he is two weeks old. Rupert sleeps soundly – too soundly, his parents are starting a sleep schedule and he’s meant to be awake at this moment – as he is passed around the gang to be squished, and tickled, and lovingly stared, a perfectly common yet miraculous miracle. The upcoming digestion of champagne, and talk, and food, and coffee, and laughter will do much to restore our sleep deprived protagonist’s energy levels.

The coffee table is laden with a wheel of brie, salami, hummus dip mixed with jalapenos, rice crackers, and four glasses of iced coffee; appropriately affording the table its name. Dominic, tall and lean with sandy red hair and an even redder beard, and Nikki, sporty with wide eyes and a wide smile, sit in the lounge room of Holly and Damian’s house, joined, of course, by the two themselves. On the walls around them are photos and canvas prints of people and places visited; some, ones of snow and puppies, include Dominic and Nikki. The four family/friends sit and eat and chat. They will plan futures that may or may not exist. They will talk of work, and home loans, and potential trips together; the inevitables photos of which could one day join those on the wall.

Damian lies asleep on the couch that hours earlier he had shared with Dominic. His phone, which had quietly been ticking away the last half hour, alarms, and he wakes. He doesn’t want to move out from under the blanket Holly has put on him. She sits, working, on the opposite couch, having had her half hour nap before him. He looks down at the floor to see Holly has also brought out their rabbit, Morrie, who is happily sniffing and exploring his way across the rug. Damian’s fingers tap the ground and Morrie rushes over to get his head scratched and his long ears stroked. Damian smiles, because in this moment he feels entirely complete.

Sue and Peter Robb sit in the booth across from Holly and Damian, who are now dressed in what they consider their ‘going out clothes’. Sue and Peter could well be an older version of our two leads, somehow crossing time and space to meet them here, in this restaurant; a situation Damian wouldn’t be disappointed with. They are also his parents. The four talk. Catching up on the news of each other’s lives as well as simply discussing whatever else their conversation leads them to. The restaurant/bar they sit in is located in a hipster laden suburb known as Fitzroy and while perhaps a little pretentious is cozy and comfortable. As they talk several members of the larger Robb clan pass through to give their hello’s to the table of four. To Sue and Peter they are their nephews – three in total, all brothers – and to Damian, his cousins. Their appearance is not happenstance. This is because the two couples have met for more than just dinner, drinks, and a catch up. They’re also there because one of the brothers three is performing tonight.

Forty minutes later with their bellies now containing food that was both well spiced and cheesy, Holly and Damian sit in a dark movie theatre. The theatre is small, with a roughly thirty seat capacity, but extra chairs have been brought in to fill any and all space available. Along with Holly, Damian, Sue, and Peter, are a crowd of mostly hipster twenty somethings. Their dress style is aggressively unfashionable; including worn boots, tight pants, and the kind of t-shirts only found in second hand clothes stores. For the most part they pull it off. In front of the crowd stands a man; skinny, and tall, with hair that runs past his shoulders. He is Tim, he is Damian’s cousin, and the crowd are applauding his arrival. In a moment he will begin to pluck at the guitar in his arms because tonight the theatre is not a theatre, but a live music venue. As Tim sings Damian’s hand will find Holly’s, and he will listen to the music, and he will think about the man on the stage. About a time when they were both just boys, sitting on a veranda, each with a dog in their laps, talking into the dark of the night.

It’s the next morning. Holly is in the back room, working hard. It may be a Sunday but teachers rarely get a day off. Damian, meanwhile, is lying on the ground of their lounge room – the same lounge room that yesterday housed both a cheese and meat filled catch up and two quality nap – while a woman pushes and prods his muscles. She is Angela, she is his sister, she is practicing Thai yoga massage, and she is quite skilled at it. Music fills the room, the kind of music you would expect to play during a massage, soft, calming, with a woman’s voice singing in a language Damian suspects in Indian. As his muscles stretch then relax under Angela’s practised hands he wonders what she is singing about.

Raging suns burn light years away. So far, in fact, that from the current distance they are mere specks of light, only visible when the side of the planet sits in shadow. The shadow is called night, and the specks are called stars. An infinitely smaller blaze currently burns inside the fire pit located in Holly and Damian’s backyard. They sit in front of it, each with a glass of wine in hand, breathing in the woodsmoke and listening to the crackle of the flames. In a moment Damian will open the book in his lap and start reading its contents aloud to Holly and himself, but for now he’s thinking about the rush of events of the weekend just past. He’s thinking about his hand on Holly’s knee as a comedian tells them stories. About a baby called Rupert who didn’t wake up even when Damian squished their noses together. About momentarily entering a cloud while attached to a balloon so that all around them in every direction was white. About the way his cousin’s fingers pulled music out of metal strings. About seeing the people he loves and the conversations he had with them. About a massage given as a gift, and the question his sister asked him during it.

Is the pressure okay?

It was.

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Talk soon

Damian

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