wild new year’s eve party, in bed by nine

When we arrived at Currawinya everyone was already out on Mum and Dad’s new screened-in back deck. The horses next door were walking through their paddock. Drawn to them as if by a magnet, I purloined an apple and went down. The horses had no interest in the apple, had clearly never been given apples as treats before, but were happy to stand with me and breathe their warm breath into my hair. Thoroughbreds in beautiful condition, their muscles hard, their skin like silk, their trimmed hooves hitting the ground at precisely 45 degrees. Curious and friendly and respectful of personal space. Handled by people who understand horses and like them.

Ross and Julia came down to meet us and the horses and I walked over to the fence. “Their heads are big,” said Ross, as the horses inspected him and Jules. “Yup,” I said. “Make them go away,” he said. “They’re freaking me out.” I pushed their shoulders and they ambled off, then I piggybacked Julia up to the house where my Mum gave me a glass of champagne. The sun set, gloriously.

Dad made pappadums, bhajis, rice, dal, beef curry, tandoori chicken and his own potato curry. Everything was perfect, and there’s enough left for dinner tonight. Port wine trifle for pudding. As we got ready to leave I realized Mum and Dad don’t have a dishwasher, so I filled the sink and my brother Alain picked up a teatowel and we washed up together like two halves of a whole, as if we had done it a thousand times before, as if we had done it, in fact, with these exact plates and pans, all our lives.

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