Oz giveth, Oz taketh away

posted on January 16, 2007 in Australia,Travel

Worrrrdd up.

Last time I counted there was over 6 billion people in the world. This is quite a lot. The chance of meeting one of them is therefore pretty slim. And so this was the case with a certain girl. Only she wasn’t the random girl-from-an-aeroplane I first thought. It turned out that there was only four degrees of separation from me to her: Rosey – Rosey’s brother – Rosey’s brother’s girlfriend – her. Her being Lucy. Moreover, Rosey’s brother’s girlfriend also happened to be in Sydney. On a beach. With Lewis, Rosey and me. The world seemed to be getting worryingly smaller.

So we’re soaking up some rays whilst Ali (the third link in the chain) and her friend are chatting away, when I catch “Oh, and Lucy says she might come out with us tomorrow”. The hamster wheel in my head spins up to basic arithmetic level and gradually puts 2 and 2 together. A minute later I interrupt the two girls:
“Woah, when you said Lucy just then did you mean Lucy Lucy?”
Ali: “Yes, Lucy Lucy”
Me: “She’s… here?”
Ali: “Yes.”
Me: “As in Sydney?”
Ali: “Yes!”
Me: “And… we’re in Sydney?”
Ali: “YES”
I was a little overwhelmed and needed to sit down. Realising I was already sat down, Rosey suggested we go for some food. I spent the time it takes to eat a foot long chicken teryaki wondering how much smaller the already shrinking world could possibly get. At this stage I had no idea.

It was the time between Christmas and New Years so we thought we’d check out the Stock take sales – as the Aussies call them. We went to the large multi-tiered shopping centre at Bondi Junction. I bought some trainers. I hadn’t done any exercise for a while, but buying those trainers certainly made me feel a lot fitter. We were strolling along mulling over where to go next when Rosey suddenly calls out, “Lucy!” Sure enough, on the next level down, there she is. Lewis asked if I wanted to go say hello. I was all of a fluster but the guys managed to coax me onto the escalator. As we descend, Lucy and her friend Sophie spot us. Bizarrely they mount the ascending escalator. The result was that there was a 3 second communication window as the two escalators pass. I couldn’t muster anything meaningful, but Lucy says she’ll text us. I presume her phone had a fairly advanced telekinesis function as neither of us have the other’s number.

New Years Eve. We planned to spend the day down at Circular Quay and watch the famous fireworks before progressing to a night club where a one Mousse T was playing. We had got suited and booted (we even used an iron) back at our caravan park and were walking towards the harbour. All was well. This is when it happened.

“Lucy!” Rosey had spotted her again. I think he must have some sort of radar. After a moments coercion, I sidle up. “Hello”.

Lucy and Sophie are with a number of girls I don’t recognise. They are all dressed up and swigging alcohol from brown paper bags. My mind flicks over the possibility of spending New Years Eve with them. We hug and she apologises for the escalator incident. She says hello to Lewis, Rosey and Andy, then turns to introduce her new friends. I say hello to the first new person. I glance to the second new person. I pause. She’s not new. I recognise her. No. Dear God no. Thailand – buckets of alcohol – certain unmentionable indiscretions – memories that had been successfully erased, until now. How on earth did these two girls end up together? The world, that had already shrunk alarmingly, now seemed to be only as big as the plaza we were stood in. The next few moments occured in slow motion, akin to watching a car crash – I’m utterly powerless to stop the events unfolding.

Lucy is still in full swing, oblivious to the impending danger, “and this is Natalie”. The name hits home. I look right to where Lewis is. His expression tells me he knows too. He’s actually wincing preparing for the inevitable. Lucy continues with her introduction, “this is Ciaran.” There is a pause as her mind strikes upon something, “funny, Natalie was telling us about a ‘Ciaran’ last night.” At this point, somewhere off to my left, a hysteric laughter tells me Rosey had seen what was happening. I think this was when she realised. “Wait,” Lucy says, “do you two know each other?” I shuffle nervously. I think that was enough to constitute a ‘yes’.

“RIGHT! Come on let’s go!” Clearly the report Natalie had given Lucy the previous night was not a glowing one. Lucy quickly marches off, her new friends in tow, leaving only Sophie standing there. Sophie looked at me sympathetically but her voice carried only disappointment. “Oh, Ciaran,” she slowly shook her head.

Strangely, I didn’t see Lucy again.

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