Friday, October 23, 2009

we fall but we keep getting up

If you're out on the streets of the city at all hours, as I am, you see odd things, some unforgettable. I remember stopping one night about 2 am for a woman crying her eyes out in a gutter in Dulwich Hill. She didn't even register my presence. Another time I saw, in some dark street off the Princes Highway in Rockdale, what I am sure was a murdered man lying on his back on a concrete loading dock outside a warehouse building. That time I didn't stop but soon after passed the cops, sirens wailing, coming to attend to the scene of the crime. And now another one I won't ever be able to banish from my mind. It was maybe three-twenty on Monday afternoon, I was taking a Brazilian au pair and her precocious charge from his prep school in Bellevue Hill to the family home in Vaucluse when I saw, on a foreshore lawn in Rose Bay, in bright sunlight a street person falling as he tried to cross that wide verge into the shade of the fig trees beyond. Just the nondescript clothes gone khaki with age and dirt, the pale builder's smile blinking out the top of his pants and the helpless way he went backwards onto the sweet green grass: as if he would never rise again. All the sad debris he carried scattering as he went down. The Brazilian saw it too, we were conversing at the time, but although we both registered the moment, neither of us said anything about it. Maybe for the sake of the boy, I don't know.