SASSY TOWN FOLLIES by Felicity Appleton, no. 19 May 20

Ferry Trips Around The Harbour

Even though it was a work day, and there was work to do at work, I wasn’t at work. I was on a Sydney ferry on Sydney harbour. I sat outside at the pointy end of the boat – you know, the front – and just watched the world go by. The bow – that’s what the front is called – my dad would kill me if I didn’t get that right, and I did almost forget, but it just came to me then. Shows you what years of weekend sailing as a kid does to you. There are some things you just can’t forget. Like the sweaty patch which formed on Sean Montague’s back when he was tying up ropes and so on. (OK. I have forgotten a lot of the sailing words!) Sean was six years older than me and his upper body had bulges in the right places, although just a few, and I looked him over for other bulges, if you get what I mean, but I never found what I was looking for. But he was beautiful. The Montagues used to go sailing with us. Hector Montague, Sean’s dad, worked in insurance, and there were many rumours about him, although they were all lies, my mum said, although it was true that he did spend quite a lot of his time in court.

Anyway, there I was, sitting on my own, on a grey and windy morning, the only passenger on the ferry silly enough to sit outside. I had my new pink overcoat (Alannah Hill), and the collar was up around my ears, and I wore the scarf that Jonesy brought back for me last time he was on business in New York. I wouldn’t say I was warm, but it could have been worse. The wind blew my hair across my face and pulled it in all the other directions too. But I didn’t care. I was being alone and there was no-one to see me.

I thought about being a little girl and the men, like Mr. Montague, who seemed to enter our lives, and we would see a lot of them and then they would disappear. Mum got on very well with Mr. Montague. I don’t know what dad thought of him. But then dad was travelling for work quite often as well. We sailed on the harbour, as kids, and I remembered the beautiful sunny days, and taking a jumper, even when it was hot, because the wind can make you feel cold, and I remember mum and dad eating lunch at fancy restaurants with men I’d seen on the TV, only they were wearing boat shoes and shorts, and after fish and chips the kids would play in rock pools or run around one of the parks near the moorings while we waited for the adults to finish eating.

It started raining, so I went inside and gazed out the window, watching the drops of rain hit the window. It was warm inside, and the windows were fogged up. And I thought about the parties I’d been to on the harbour, on boats and in houses with amazing views.

It was good to be alone like this, thinking.

Or it would have been, if I was actually there. But I wasn’t. I sometimes imagine I’m on a ferry on a cold grey morning when Kikki is getting on my nerves a bit. When she whinges and won’t listen to reason. Rather than say, no, I’m sure he still loves you, when she’s convinced it’s over, I do some imagining, and while I’m imagining I say the things Kikki wants to hear and she feels happy to get it all off her chest. And I feel happy too.

Sean Montague was lovely.

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Published in: on May 20, 2013 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

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