Friday, 27 January 2017

The sun inside

On Saturday afternoon every man is Cary Grant and every woman is Grace Kelly.  As you set out on your afternoon long run with late-90s rock playing you go back to a day in your early twenties when you were younger and the world was wide before you.

You feel the power in your legs and arms and the sun in your back.  Just before you make the first of four turns you find you're again looking forward to a Saturday evening.  The one you spent with friends and your young wife on the waterfront in Adelaide drinking West End beer and eating seafood.  You don't just remember it: you're there, feeling like a successful man in a happy time.

Glenelg Beach, South Australia (Image from here)
You have something to look forward to as well.  This Saturday evening isn't the end no sir.  Tomorrow you and the woman you love are going to have breakfast together at the North Point Cafe in Brighton in Melbourne.  There'll be coffee, of course, and avocado and bacon and soft-fried eggs and crusty bread, and a whole day to spend together.  Maybe you'll spend it buying books in Bright, then go for a walk through Daylesford and finish off with chilled cider from the microbrewery in Coldstream.

It's a fantasy, of course: a pastiche of memories.  Soon - perhaps when you turn in for the night - reality will settle back in.  You'll again be pushing 40, divorced, scraping for work and living in a spare room.  But as you reach the first turn it's completely believable and you love it for that.

Halfway to the second turn the boundary gets blurred and you think part of it can be made to happen.  A fare to Adelaide from Shepparton is $63.00.  Beer and seafood perhaps $50.00 for an evening.  And if you sleep on the beach, you can save on accomodation.  In your heart you know it won't be the same.  You'll just be some guy having a meal after travelling to South Australia for no very good reason.

You pass the third turn.  Why did you feel so good if it wasn't the sea air and the grog and the calamari?  It is good if it was the people you were with.  It is better if it was because you could feel you had achieved something in the world and could take stock of your good things.  It is best of all if it was because you were at peace with yourself and had faith in yourself doing things worth doing.

Sunset, New Caledonia (Image from here)
Round the fourth turn.  You've found the sunlight, the thing you need to be happy.  Everything else is just details.  This is the last leg of your run.  Lengthen your stride.  Whip off the singlet.  Feel the sun and the air.  Everything is waiting for you now.


  1. Why don't you write novels, Stephen?

    1. I think because fiction was so much rammed down my throat in High School: it left me with a dim view of literature. That said, watch this space: I have an idea for a really good series of semi-fictional blogposts!