Written 30th June, 2020.
Marg’s first ever painted toenails, celebrating ordinary life opening again
We’ve been coming to our Darlinghurst flat to work through the day, for Marg says the internet is too modern for her! Yesterday, just as were were leaving, an older lady who I barely know apart from chats at the washing line stopped us. She’s one of those people ever y block of flats or village needs. She lives alone, and in the summer sits in the communal roof garden, tending to everyone’s pot plants, always ready for a chat or a game of chess. Anyone who’s sick, she’ll visit. She told us last night that since the virus, all the old people she used to spend her days visiting have “gone”. I didn’t dare enquire where. But, she said, “I’ve always been there for everyone. Now there’s no one there for me'”.
I sensed this was a cry for help,and when we got to Marg’s, I told her.
“Send her to me”, she said immediately. “We’ll go to the pictures together”. She enquired whether the lady could get on the bus. “We can have cups of tea, and go for walks. We’ll have a great time”.
Last night was my tango lesson, but Marg’s spare room is so crammed with the family’s clothes from the last 20 years, I’ve only been able to clear a square metre on the floor. So I did the zoomed lesson at Nicola’s, two streets away, a nurse and a fellow student, and Jeff, a very dear to my heart gay man who lives by himself in Kings Cross. In fact, Uma’s class is for same sex dancers, and i’m just a ring in. Sydney’s tango scene is cliquey and cranky, but Uma’s class accepts refugees. Uma drills us as he doesn’t in real-life lessons, while we hold onto chairs and try to do high kicks uncomplainingly. Nicola and Jeff were quaffing an interesting bottle of pale apricot wine while they kicked away but i had to refuse- my auto-immune condition, Sjogren’s, lames me if I do- but afterwards, Nicola made me a negroni, and I become over-excited and had to eave early. I walked home but I smelled so different, Sasha thought I was a burglar, and conscientiously leapt wiht all his weight on me before realising his mistake, and licking me instead.
Now I’ve written this, i will go down to the lady’s flat, and slip a note under her door, saying that there’s someone there for her.
The watch dog asleep