a night off

Imagine that I am saying this in hushed and reverent tones: Claire’s grandparents took her off our hands so we could go out for an evening.

We scampered to the Academy Twin to see Lost in Translation, then spent an hour in Ariel pawing at the pretty books, then wandered down to the Pink Peppercorn to meet Mister Pesce and Miss Emily and Emily’s Jeremy for spectacular Laotian food (roast lamb, salmon with fennel and dill, searingly hot laab chicken and prawns.)

We talked about swordfighting with cadaver parts and the internal composition of the human penis (“spongy”, says E’s J.) We talked about art deco furniture: E and J picked up an oxblood leather club lounge and two matching chairs from a neighbour for the princely sum of $200. Score! We talked about London and New York and San Francisco and Los Angeles and Sydney, comparing the real estate market and quality of life in each: species of spaces.

E’s J had to go home to study – he’s practically a doctor now. The rest of us wandered through Surrey Hills to discover that Mark’s yuppie apartment block is built on a warehouse where Emily attended a rave in 1994. From the roof garden and pool we surveyed the city lights and the incoming weather.

Mark’s one-bedroom apartment is a stunner, with a huge Northern exposure and wraparound balcony and hardwood floors and, at present, almost no furniture. Very Zen. We drank chamomile tea and deconstructed various mutual friends to three or four decimal places, and then I found that it was 9:30pm and I missed Claire with a violent pang. And so to the taxi stand and back to Cooper Park.

C was moderately pleased to see us. She’d had a long snooze and endless games with her grandmother. Lost in Translation made me a little sad for my old life, with its business trips and high-rise hotels and late nights talking to intriguing strangers, but then there was that lovely line when Bill Murray’s character pointed out that your children are the most delightful people you will ever meet. A night off every now and then is plenty.

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