Four Seasons in One Day

Mid-morning drizzle gives welcome way to lunchtime sunshine.  Melbourne switches her light off and on and off and on like a big tease, casting the fickle spring weather into an unpredictable burlesque routine.  She is stacked and packed with meticulously-planned incidentals: delightful laneways, places, squares, steps, cafés, bars, commissioned public art, more cafés, graffiti galleries, gardens, glances, yet more cafés.  Suits routinely lunch their staff in the same restaurants where they dine their wives.

Two personal assistants quickly clip up Collins Street, eyes trained on the traffic lights ahead at the intersection, lost in dead-set-serious wardrobe talk.

There’s no way I’m gonna wear heels today.  I’m gonna have to wear flats.

They slip into a polished shop to buy glossy, pastel macaroons, pumped with air, sugar and artificial dye.

Three mining corporates converge on the corner of Collins and William.  Two plus one makes three.   C1 and C2 glance at each other conspiratorially, turning in unison to inspect C3 from tip to toe to tip.  C3 looks good. He knows it.  They know it.  He modestly sports a natural tan from jogging Birrarung Marr and weekends sailing on the bay, rain, hail or shine.  Grey hair.  He is distinctive and disciplined, without even having to try.

Is that a new suit, Tony?

A pause; then silence. 

Tony always thinks before he opens his mouth, even before kissing his wife.  He is deep, too deep, especially for this duplicitous boardroom duo, waiting in vain for the main chance.

Mmm………Peter Jackson.

C1 raises his right eyebrow, lifts up his chin and frowns, blinking blind into the stratified sky.  The lights turn green.  They cross the streaming street together and apart.  The sensitive muscles around Tony’s right eye suddenly twitch, like fraught, fragile butterflies fluttering under a mesh net.  They can see where they want to be, but they can’t get there, blocked.  He walks tall and sure and confident, but still feels unresolved conflict.  It’s as if he’s not fully present:  forever passing through life as a detached observer, engaged, but not immersed.  He has been head hunted for his diplomatic impartiality.  Teams initially hate a leader who won’t play favourites, who actively and openly seeks solutions.

His involuntary tic, unseen by resentful colleagues avoiding direct eye contact, betrays anxiety, and he knows it.  He does not need counselling.  He does not need drugs, legal or illegal.  He does not need yoga.  He does not need a holiday.  He does not need to trek up a mountain to write pilgrim poetry.

Tony knows what he has to do, and he will do it, sooner or later.  He needs to go remote – just for a while – to connect again.  He needs to get red dirt on his steel capped work boots.  He needs to breathe fresh, clean, arid air.  He needs to hear the hum of the country, in the heart of the country.  He needs to go to where they call a spade a fucking shovel.

He also needs to flare up like a wild tiger when these entrenched pretenders least expects it, to affirm his sure, pure, understated power.

C1 and C2 break away, heading down for their weekly lap dancing session at the club in King Street.    The sun breaks through the clouds, but they have their heads so far up their arses they never see daylight.

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