I spend a week back in Bondi now and then, cat-sitting Rollo for Toby and Steph. I’m normally on my own and that suits me. There’s a place on Curlewis Street called Speakeasy, and I keep going back there for their meatballs, their 🍄 mushroom over polenta, and their yummy wines. Tonight I was reading The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams (a good read), trying not to be distracted by the gorgeous people, cars and motorcycles zooming or ambling by (I can’t help but look up sometimes).
I saw a slender woman standing on the corner opposite, not as striking as many around here, but charming in her own way. Middle aged, with snipped hair unusually fully grey, and a sensible, stylish casual dress.
I went back into my book and I don’t know how many minutes passed, maybe three mouthfuls of mushroom and polenta, two sips of wine, a page of the book.
A couple took a table next to me, and I looked up to see it was the same slender, charming, but not Bondi glamour lady and a slender, charming looking, but not Bondi hunk beau.
Not long passed and though I wasn’t going out of my way to listen, it was clear they’d literally come to Speakeasy to meet for the first time. I looked again and thought, these two look like match. His greying hair suggested a darker shade than hers in his youth, but placed him in an earlier quarter of middle age like her.
Not deliberately, I caught bits of their conversation. The proximity made it unavoidable. I cringed inwardly as I overheard him say, “You’re only as old as the woman you feel”, and though I hadn’t caught the conversation immediately preceding it, she gave an obvious response. Something along the lines of, “We’re not making bad puns already are we?”
She was a nurse, and following an awkward exchange after he’d asked her what type of nurse, he told her they could talk in terms of some medical acronym he was familiar with, as a result of some aspect of his life I’d missed. He used the acronym four or five times in the space of a few sentences, apparently the only acronym he knew from the world of nurses. She brushed the conversation gently in some other direction.
It is not uncommon for heterosexual men on the social fringe of a place like Bondi to seek opportunities to discreetly drop hints about their macho adventure lifestyle, or to drop them when the opportunity didn’t arise, as was the case here, and quite overtly. Scuba diving, something else, and his motorbike, a KTM 390.
“Is that a cruiser,” she speculated, demonstrating that while she didn’t know brands and models she knew there were types and she knew at least one of them. He explained that this one sat higher than a cruiser, but while KTM were known for their line of moto-cross bikes, it wasn’t one of them either. “Oh, so more of a racing style?” she said.
I was out of wine and meatballs so I paid and moved on. It’s possible the guy wasn’t a dickhead, but if not he was doing a good impression, and I could tell she was sensing it but still giving him the benefit of the doubt. I hope he was just nervous, that she realised it, that another drink or the right comment or moment dispersed it, set him free to be the sweet handsome beau still hidden inside. Part of me wants to believe they landed in bed together in a screaming heap of orgasms, but it was not looking promising.