Written 23 May, 2020
Moxham’s late. He was due at 8 am to collect our rubbish, but where is he? We must boat to Brooklyn, to Homer’s, for our food box before a gale comes. I pace along the track at 8.15. Dy’s anxious, for he’s arranged that Moxham on the same trip delivers a brand new pot belly stove, bought for him from Bunnings by his big sister, Pink House S, she who taught me how to prise oysters off the rocks, and how to shuck them.
If Moxham does turn up, it’s T we have to thank, I say to ST, a neighbour from 2 houses the other direction. He would’ve insisted, in his gentle boyish way, that his rubbish must go.
He’s very charming, says ST. He can hold in his hand a roomfull of people.
I nod. I suppose he’s right. I’m always confused by charm, imagining the charming person has taken a special liking to me, rather than it just being someone who makes everyone feel loved. I want to ask ST: Doesn’t he like me especially?
To cover the moment, I talk to ST about burning off. I’m known as the local fire-nagger. Most people think that if a fire’s coming, they’ll just jump in their boats and leave. But what if the tide’s out? I always ask. As it was in summer: a tide so low no one could’ve got in or out at 2am when a huge fire front was 20 kms away, and 20 kms is nothing in a holocaust. ST offers tho show me their block, to see where there could be trouble. It’s a lovely fall of land, far nicer than ours, with steps all the way. We pass a mango tree.
Useless, he says. We’ll never get any mangos from it.
I find a mango seed among the weeds and he’s delighted. and I point out an old lemon tree that’ll give them fruit if they give it water.
At home, it’s now 9 am and GG’s anxious to go for the food box. I run to Dy’s and ask if Moxham does come, will he point out to the burly men Moxham always brings the rubbish on the pontoon, the mattress Dy himself carried down to the track, and the metal water tank bits near the burning off pit-? Three things, he counts on his fingers.
You won’t have to do a thing, I promise him. Just show them what’s what.
Later, at Homer’s, sipping a rare cappuccino while they tott up what we owe for the food box, I message Dy:
All good? Got your pot belly?
He messages back:
Moxham came solo. I tossed the metal from the burning pit down your 40 steps to the shoreline, and Moxham and ST and i carried it down your jetty. Then I helped Moxham with T’s stuff. And you won’t believe it,but T was throwing out a 1970s canoe-shaped garden bed. No worries- iI’s safe at my place.
He sends me a picture of the canoe garden bed, almost lost to the world.
On the way back, we pass Dy in his canoe. He’s going back to Michela in the Blue Mountains for a few days, and then to the city to see the professor, his doctor, about his pulmonary fibrosis, to check if there’s any hope in his prognosis. But what he shouts across the water is how lucky to have saved the canoe-shaped garden bed. I wonder if he’s thinking of keeping it our in the bay where there’s more sunshine.
When we get home, in embarrassment I run to thank ST. I explain that Moxham has never come before without his burly blokes.
ST assures me it’s fine.
Dy’s so easy to bond with, he says. I don’t have a chance for camaraderie like that, at home. I have to come to the bay to get it.
As I walk away, I’m crying.
It probably won’t do any good at all, but my friend R meditates and speaks into the stillness the names of people she thinks need support, saying each name as if it is the most sacred thing in the world.. She hopes I’m helped when she says my name. I’ll try doing that, and Dy will be one of the names.