Abbie is about two and she’s with her family on the other side of the room: one older brother, one older sister, one about eleven the other eight, mum and dad with them. A family unit. Until Abbie decides to leave them and go for a wander .. right past our table then a hard right for the front door. Abbie waddles, quickly, and mum is right behind her but doesn’t pick up her baby, she just follows the scampering infant until it’s time to bring her back to the family table.
Sits her down with her Dad. She climbs over him and settles between her sister and brother. They appear not to notice the intrusion.
Two hugely obese men walk past, one inked up from forehead to ankles the other pretending to be a CIA agent behind his shades and cap. We think he’s staring at us.
And there she goes again, Abbie, scampering past, Mum in her shadow, the child has something in her hand and is chewing on it. Dad over at the table and oblivious to the great escape. Brother and sister heads down on an iPhone.
We watch. Mum retrieves.
Lunch arrives. Oily spring rolls, stale garlic bread, fresh salad greens. Winner. A TV screen across the way shows NZ and the Poms fighting out a test match .. someone is in and someone is out.
And there she goes again. Abbie. On the trot. Past us with Mum in pursuit.
Denise the waitress comes by and take our plates away, this is just after she’s delivered enough food to feed four men to a table of two – the tatts and shades – who set about devouring their lunch.
And there she goes again ….
Abbie on the run, with whatever is the thing in hand in her mouth. She’s bunged on the full scamper this time and mum has handed over the reign in duty to Dad who follows his small daughter all the way through the pub, past the pool table, the bar, the Keno operation, the door to the pokie room, the table of Brisbane bikers … all the way outside to the footpath, this kid is a junior David Attenborough she covers so much ground.
Later, when they walk past us on the way out my wife asks the mother what her child’s name is and what she has been chewing on for the entire period we have been watching her many escapades.
… a pickled cucumber she says.