Some weeks later, they were on holiday in the country. It was night, crickets and frogs were singing from the darkness, and Lucas was lingering on the porch. When Sîan called him to bed, he begged for time. A little while later, she ventured out to find him sitting, staring upwards through the moths and beetles, attentive to an electric globe hanging from its cord.
Sîan was curious. "What are you doing, Lucas?"
"Looking for grandma."
His mother was non-plussed. Lucas pointed upwards.
"Could that be the light? The light she lives in now?
I love this story, but have never had occasion to commit it to words. From a purely selfish viewpoint, Sails of Oblivion is giving me a chance to communicate, finally, all the stuff I've stored away as mental notes for plays or novels that may never materialise. Since I started the blog, I've not done much other writing, save for a fifteen hundred word precis for an article on my colleague and ex-lover, Lynne Ellis. It's with The Age at present and hopefully they'll give me the green light. If not? I'll just pin it to the Sails.
Sîan, of whom I spoke above, was at a small Melbourne Cup Day barbeque hosted by the painter, Zöe Ellenberg - a member of Jenny's closest circle of friends. The dryad Emely McCord was also present, with her clean swishy energies, her lean deer-like body clothed in colours of bush and paddock ... her ex, the jeweller, Kane; Shanti, mother of Polly's best friend Mia... But, no, too many names...
We sat in the mild sunshine, in a soothing beautiful arbour of succulents, epiphytes and espaliered walls. I drank light beer, took sensible tokes from joints of unknown provenance and absorbed the ambience as if I myself was a plant. It was a halcyon day. When race-time came, we cheered and shouted, and then subsided back into dreamy somnolence.
On the way in, we'd heard an extraordinary news article on the radio. Australian Toy-of-the-Year, the craft activity-beads called Bindeez had been banned. After the near death of a toddler, it was discovered that 'a drug with the effects of GHB forms in the stomach if the beads are swallowed'. GHB is an hallucinogenic, party-drug said to be used in date rape.
Apart from the people out there who'll inevitably have some bright ideas, think of those wretched mothers, wringing their hands. Already fear-struck by sharp corners, electrical sockets, stairs, multiplying paedophiles, terrorists, interest-rate rises, pitbull terriers and vengeful gods - now all their baby has to do is swallow a bead and - zap! - the little darling is on drugs!
I'd noticed that Zöe's region was targeted for hard-rubbish collection. When I commented, Jenny sighed - just more junk for our junk-constricted yard. Owing to my packrat-like habits, Jenny fears that one day A Current Affair or Today Tonight will arrive on our doorstep, researching for one of their occasional pieces on Australia's most shambolic properties ...
But I do find good stuff sometimes and I am trying to limit what I bring home. Most of our furniture was acquired this way, I remind Jenny... And she gives me her long suffering smile. Anyway, I excused myself from the party a few times and trawled the streets - without haste, without guilt - savouring the experience - and coming away with a nice little Indian lamp... or censer...
Tell me it's nice. Please.
Now - given my recent post regarding Di Gameson's talents as a hostess - I don't want to seem like a purveyor of profligate feasting, but Zöe, I have to say, really turned it on. The photo might give you some idea...
" ... some Pomegranate, which if cut deep down the middle, shows a heart within blood-tinctured, of a veined humanity..."
Of all the fruits of Earth, none carries the intrinsic poetry of the the pomegranate. To my mind, it is a primary symbol of decadence, the most licentious and indulgent of all fruits: favoured by the Old Masters of the still life; swallowed by Persephone to gain access to the Underworld; invariably present in Peter Greenaway's tableaux of gluttony...
Once contained in the liqueur grenadine, it is also the source of the word grenade.
I asked Zöe what the red things in the cous-cous salad were... the sweet little ellipsoids that burst wetly, sweetly in the mouth.... to discover that I had tasted of the mythical pomegranate for the first time in my life.
And her sweet red lips on these lips of mine
Burned like the ruby fire set
In the swinging lamp of a crimson shrine,
Or the bleeding wounds of the pomegranate,
Or the heart of the lotus drenched and wet
With the spilt-out blood of the rose-red wine.
~ Oscar Wilde