In lieu of spending time with our own mothers (who are in Perth and Milan) Luciana and I decide to take Lucy out to brunch at the Big Bowl. Lucy’s become our Petersham Auntie. On Thursday, I swing past her place to leave a note in her letterbox. On Friday she rings me back, very excited: “Are you SURE you want to do that? Because, you know… no pressure!” But of course we want to, we wouldn’t have suggested it otherwise…
We pick her up a bit late – it’s noon by the time we arrive at her place on Palace. While she’s getting herself together, I pop out the side door and say hi to Pepita, the big black dog, and I call for Lisa over the fence. We set out for the Bowling Club: two pairs of neighbours. Who said north and south Petersham couldn’t get along?
Tim’s waiting for us on the new couches – we’ve got the whole place to ourselves. We’re joined by Darrin and Liz and their little girl Delia, who’ve come all the way from Marrickville to visit. What with Fiona’s tunes blaring from the ghetto blaster in the kitchen while she cooks up a storm, our gang makes a pretty festive atmosphere. Fiona’s corn fritters are good, but its the slow roasted tomatoes that bring the house down. “Yeah, well, they get better, the later you come to breakfast”, she says.
Lucy is the life of the party, holding the floor with her philosophies derived from lived experience. “Sometimes,” she says, “people don’t like it when I say what I think. For them I am too critical. But I am just always thinking about life, and for me that is not a negative thing.” But we reckon her way of thinking is fresh and inspiring.
She’s pretty good at saying what she thinks in any given situation. Except, she tells us, when it comes to her sister and kiwi fruit. For some reason, her sister has a thing for generously bringing her big bags of fruit. Lucy doesn’t like kiwi at all, but she just can’t bring herself to admit this to her sister. She thinks she’ll disappoint her too much.
I suggest another possible narrative: that maybe her sister brings her the fruit because she’s under the false impression that Lucy likes them so much. Perhaps she goes right out of her way to find kiwis, even when they’re not in season, thinking that she’s giving Lucy a special treat. Surely it would be better to just come clean?
We part – the northerners up Palace, we southerners headed for the wrong side of the tracks. Lucy skips out into the middle of the intersection. “You know, I feel like my batteries are recharged!” she says.