a day in passing
The gate slid shut behind us as a white Kombie rounded the corner at the bottom of the drive. It pulled over to the side of the road about fifty feet away and threw a u-turn, slid in under a tree and parked.
Two heads inside. Men. Just sitting there, looking back the way they came. Looking at us leaving home.
But we stayed a while. Looking back.
Another u-turn and they were away, so fast it took me up to 100 kph through a school zone to catch them a kilometre away, get up close, read their muddied up plate.
Followed them all the way to Lismore. Lost them at the Cathedral roundabout.
‘Did you see?’ My wife asked.
‘The checkout lady.’
Rosaline read her name-tag. A short, stout woman, passing our shopping into the bags on the beep, regulating the load. Everything in its place. Fruit with veg, cold with frozen, boxes with packages. Eggs separate.
‘Do you have frequent flyers?’ She asked. Rosaline.
‘Two bruises, one under each of her ears, like someone had taken her by the throat with one hand and squeezed.’
We were in the carpark, packing things away.
‘Did you see?’
He was standing at the bottom of the moving footway, almost at attention, white-haired and white-bearded. A trim looking man of about sixty plus, pressed white shirt, raised epaulettes on his shoulders, navy trousers, polished shoes.
A collection box half raised. We caught each other’s eye.
‘Can’t go past one of you blokes without stopping.’
He watched the tenner go in. Smiled at me.
‘Is there a story behind that?’ He asked.
The salvo used to wind his way through the drinkers in the busiest hours of Saturday afternoon, collection box aloft, half-a-dozen Warcrys under his arm. The men would chaff him for being a teetotaller, a non-gambler. They sometimes thrust a full schooner under his nose. But they always donated.
Jill. About fifty, blonde-haired and open-faced. Pharmacist. She took my prescription, noted the address and sighed.
‘It’s so nice over there.’
Jill lives west of Kyogle, her house at the end of a three kilometre gravel track. Way to buggery. Jill was a city girl, moved up here some years ago with her husband.
‘Do you like it?’
‘Love it, ‘ she replied, ‘can’t wait to get home after work.’
‘But I must say,’ she went on, ‘when we hear a noise outside the house at night, something else, we have to get up and find out what made it.’
Lismore 29 August 2108