A week after I arrived in New York I went to a party in the Rainbow Room at the Rockefeller Center. Wearing this dress (bought years earlier for $25), I looked down at that view and I could see exactly where I wanted to live. Thought I would be in that city forever.
A year later I wasn’t. I packed up this dress and flew to Thailand for a close friend’s wedding.
The wedding was in two parts. The first ceremony at dawn, the monks chanting for hours in blood-orange robes, the bride in a long, pink, fitted gown. The sunrise.
Then a second ceremony under the stars. Everyone got changed into something else. I changed into this.
Afterwards I travelled around for months with headphones and books as accompanists. Songwriters and authors, our favourites like familiars; the voices we carry with us. Voices voices, beckoning sea. Put the buds in your ears and they flower. Surrounded by people freshly in love, you start thinking wouldn’t it be fun to be in love again too! Wouldn’t it be fun to get married too!
All the while the characters you’re meeting on the road are whispering ideas into your ears: Natasha, Odette, Tatyana. Isabel Archer and April Wheeler and Kit Moresby. Telling you to hurry up, see how sad and dead we all mostly end up. And suddenly you have to rush home and tell him! That! You’re never gonna leave him!
But maybe you get home and he’s been places, too, and he got changed, too, into something else. All the flowers that you planted mama in the backyard.
And everything seemed really clear when you were at the top of a building in New York or on a mountain in Chiang Mai, and you could see the city spread out like the pages of a book below. But Melbourne is flat. Which is great for cyclists but not for omniscient narrators. Where can you go to see everything clearly, laid out in front of you? So you try to get on the level, try to see his perspective. And he just says no. No.
But then turn to the very last page and there is Molly Bloom again and she’s always saying yes, isn’t she, yes, yes forever, and it’s corny but it’s a comfort, just put the book in your lap and look down at it from wherever you are and that’s where your city is now somewhere like that where you can live always anyway yes why not that Yes.