Friday, 23 August 2013

Down with a crash more like...

We walked up the stairs leading up the side of another twenty foot high grass verge and into the Botanic Gardens. On the other side of a small road was a large gated fence marking the start of the gardens proper. We dodged a pack of cyclists and headed down the steps leading in. Immediately the greenery took on that of a jungle. While the grass and paths were well manicured and swept clean, the beds were packed with dense foliage, trees soaring into the sky, vines winding their way back down to the ground, caressing the wide trunks as they circled round their bases. Squirrels darted from tree to tree, adding an oddly clashing sense of an English garden to the proceedings. We followed a sign to the Bat colony and walked out into a junction in the road, forking in three different directions. Above us the breeze whispered through the palms and caused an occasional squeak from the colony above our heads. Looking up, I could see how many there were, hundreds and hundreds of little furry bundles. Occasionally one would toss in its sleep, stretch its wings to their full extent and settle down again, ensuring that their audience got an understanding of exactly how ‘not very little’ they actually were.
“I remember this place; this is where u brought me on my last night.”
“Thought you might recognise it. This time in the daylight though.”
I yawned. “Come on no stopping,” Tom ordered. We need to keep you moving before a food coma moves in and knocks you out for the rest of the day.”
We walked up through the western side of the gardens, back towards the far edge of the Domain, a large open park area used for concerts and festivals, down Bent Street and into the city itself. Giant trees were replaced with giant office blocks, soaring constructions of glass and steel, the sun finding chinks between them to glint and sparkle and dazzle as I looked up into the reflective windows.
On the corner of George Street we found a Commonwealth bank and getting an account was as simple as handing over my Passport and my letting agreement. Twenty minutes later and we were back on the pavement.
“Right, if I remember rightly the Tax Office is over on Market Street, so we need to walk this way.”
Tom and I continued walking through the city, through the bustling, suited business people in the CBD and into the pedestrianised zones of Pitt Street mall.
“That fountain back there, very familiar. But I don’t think I came down here last time.”
“You’ve seen the Matrix?”
“Of course”
“That’s Martin Place, they used it for a lot of the city scenes in the first one. You remember the scene with the woman in the red dress?” I nodded, “right there.”
“Cool! So that must make Sydney the model city of the future then.”
“Oh I don’t know I’d go that far,” he mused, “OK, we take a left here and it’s just on our right I think.”
He was right.
Once again I was amazed by the simplicity of it all. Ten minutes after walking through the door, I’d been given the correct form and handed it in to be given a copy with confirmation that I’d applied, thus enabling me to register for work as I wished while waiting for the official document and my Tax File Number to arrive in the post. I remembered the process that non-residents went through before they’d been able to work for Sainsbury’s and getting the bank account alone was nearly impossible.

All in all, we’d been out of the apartment this second time for three hours and I was dying.
“Let’s get you home, you look fit to drop.” Tom flagged a cab and once again we headed back to Potts Point.

Once back indoors, Tom and I collapsed onto the small green sofa. I looked out of the window through the buildings opposite at the green-blue waters of the harbour. Boats would flit in and out of the view as if leaping from one apartment building to the next; small sailboats, tour boats and the occasional small green ferry making it’s way over to Darling Point on the other side of Elizabeth Bay. I could see large trees blowing in the wind across the other side and people walking dogs and jogging in the park. Leaves were being swept up, the sun was setting behind us into what must have been a greying sky and it looked like it might rain.
I got up to slide the window open, I wanted to see if I could hear the water and a cacophony of people, cars and music rose up to meet me.
“It’s the caf├ęs on the street down there,” Tom said.
“At this time?” I turned to see Tom had stood too and was reaching for his coat.
“That’s when they come alive. You’re in a pretty vibrant area.”
“You off?”
“Yeah, it’s getting late, you should sleep. I’m off tomorrow, I took next week off too, I wanted to make sure you get settled and aren’t too lonely y’know?” He beamed another of those amazing smiles.
I moved closer to him, “I can’t thank you enough; you’ve been so amazing sorting this out for me, the apartment, and showing me around today and everything…” I put a hand on his chest, the other resting on his shoulder.
Tom took a step back. “I don’t know how to say this, but…” he sighed and steeled himself to speak, “I don’t think I want anything else, y’know the boyfriend thing, I don’t think I’m ready for that right now. I think... He stopped, sighed and then released the tension in his shoulders, resigned to my reaction, “I think I just wanna be friends.” He dropped his eyes and quietly spoke, “Can we do that?”
I pulled my mouth into a smile and shrugged, “Yes, yeah of course, I see, no that’s fine. It’s cool. Friends is cool. It’s probably what I need most right now anyway.”
He could see the disappointment behind my brave face.
“I’m sorry. I just don’t wanna set us up to…”
“No honestly, say no more. It’s all good with me.”
The sounds of the street below covered the awkward silence between us.
“Ok. You’re sure?” I nodded. Tom sighed again, relieved, “Well in that case, I’ll be off. I’ll call you first thing tomorrow. Your  UK mobile still works right?”
“Yep, I didn’t wanna turn it off until I get a landline installed.”
“Ok, well I’ll call you and you can come over to mine for breakfast and we can build a plan of attack, sort out what else we need to provide you with to get you all set up. OK?” I could tell he wasn’t really asking if I was ok with the plan of attack. “That sounds great and again, thanks so much.”
“The pleasure was all mine,” Tom answered, giving me a quick hug and heading for the door. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

I dropped onto the couch and watched the first drops of rain hit the window.
“Oh great,” I muttered to myself “Just what I need, pathetic fallacy. Thomas Hardy would love it! Well weather, don’t get all upset on my behalf, I’m too exhausted for emotion right now, maybe tomorrow.”
I stripped off my clothes, leaving them in a heap on the sofa, pulled down the bed from the cupboard and threw myself on top of the new quilt.
“Doona.” I reminded myself. “It’s too bloody warm for that even with the rain” I mumbled and promptly fell asleep.