She is a bit of a show off, my city. She is good looking and she knows it, indeed rests a little too much on those laurels. Less naturally attractive cities in this country that have to try a little harder have better theatre and richer, more vibrant arts and music scenes. But Sydney, with her harbour and white sails, with that huge coat-hanger that connects the opposing suburban sprawls, the big old sandstone buildings and blue beaches, she’s a looker.
I’ve been back now for 4 months and a lot of what I’ve written in that time has been preoccupied with settling back down in this town, reacquainting myself with all of its facets and layers, both tangible and intangible, the ones that make it my home. I have also found myself so sensitive to its colours and tastes and rhythms. Being away from home heightens everything about your attitude towards it. And dragging someone around, whose first time it is in your home city, is even better. Everything thrills. Everything bursts with feeling and colour and memory you are desperate for them to see through the same lens as you do. SG has been here for 2 weeks now and with every slice of Vegemite and cheese toast he eats, with every ‘no worries’ or ‘just a tic’, with every cup-of-tea-with-milk, a little part of me sings for both my country and my relationship.
I’ll leave her again soon and it will be harder than the first, second and third times, somehow more indefinite and definite at the same time. Until then, though, every colour, every scent, every moment will burst.
Here she is – or a tiny part of her anyway – on a cloudy, humid Saturday, showing off as usual.