Here's a poem and a small story that I wrote:Opal Days and a Garage Sale
Peering into boxes I notice
a collection of discarded jewellery,
earring from the Fifties,
an Om gracelet from the Global Village,
then I pick up an opal brooch,
stare into its blueness,
remember the gift you once gave.
Irridescent kingfisher days at Sorrento,
lovemaking on summer nights.
‘Look at that sea,’ you’d said.
When your vision darkened - Vietnam
The artist’s flame blew out,
The embrace perfunctory,
and far-away eyes chilled me.
I pack the tiny brooch
into the plain cardboard box,
four dollars a neighbour is asking,
but I walk away elated
by the clarity of memory.Garage Sale
Mervyn Proud asked me to go with him to a few garage sales as he was trying to set up his flat after the awful marriage break-up where the Ex had taken just about everything - and kept the house. I'd seen Merv's flat. It was bare, so bland. He'd left almost everything behind, he said. The books, the tapes, the paintings, the desk where he wrote his poems.
We'd met in a class at the Gordon. I wasn't his 'new flame' - just a concerned new friend. He'd torn out a section of the Geelong Advertiser, circled three advertisements. There wasn't anything worthwhile in the three sales we browsed through; he only bought a few pots and pans and cushions. Then I noticed another garage sale in the next suburb. He was reluctant, said to call it a day, but I persisted.
The drive in front of the nice Californian Bungalow was like an op shop, with splashes of hectic colour, succulants in pots, household linen, a bit of everything. Another person trying to tidy up a life no doubt. Merv stood at the gate. He just wasn’t interested at all as I browsed.
I picked about the junk but only wanted some recordings by the Seekers. I paid $2 for each of them. The sour-faced woman holding onto a biscuit tin full of coins sat behind a table. I noticed a small box full of jewellery in front of her and asked, 'May I have a look?'
A lovely ring and matching earrings drew my attention and I knew I must have them. There was a price sticker, $40, which was a lot for a Saturday morning browse, but I offered her $15 and she took it. Lucky me!
A border collie dog in the back yard kept barking loudly and the woman scowled and yelled at it to shut up, but it was smart enough to try to undo the gate latch.
A large oak desk was sitting on the verandah behind the woman and I thought that would be exactly what Merv might want. Just as I was about to call his attention to it, the black and white border collie dog, escaping from the back yard, lunged towards us. A fine-looking dog, over fed, but with intelligence in her eyes.
Even as I warned, 'Careful! Don't pat other people's dogs, Merv!' he was patting the dog and putting his arms around the slobbering creature.
'Hullo, Bonnie. Do you miss me?' he said.