Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Reaching Out To The City Lights"...Chapter Nineteen

Nine years had passed since Randall first left Australian shores. Many waves had caressed and lashed the coast during those years. For approximately three years during his absence I’d been married. A divorce followed five years after Mervyn and I separated. A few beaus crossed my threshold and as quickly stepped back out again making little or no impression upon my heart. Lengthy, committed relationships were of little interest to me. Then as now, I was contented living alone. My commitment was to my job with the Kolotex Group, where new lines hit the market regularly. Business boomed. Promotional evenings and events were continually being planned and presented. I was busy both at and away from work.

Gavin and Andrew, John and Shirley’s lively young boys were still major highlights in my life being a witness to many of their “firsts”. I took them along to their first pantomime, which I enjoyed as much as they did, watching the excitement and thrill of the spectacle reflected in their eyes and faces. A morning matinee of “The Wizard of Oz” was being played at the same theatre around the corner from where I lived. Borrowing the boys for the morning, the three of us joined Dorothy and Toto in her many adventures along the yellow brick road. I was there, along with John and Shirley to cheer on Andrew in his first “little athletics meet”. He had not yet commenced school or was in his first year, I can’t remember exactly. After the race had finished, with hoarse voices, we hid our smiles when Andrew, with tears forging a path down his cheeks ran across to us, holding the index finger of his right hand in the air claiming it hurt.

“I…I…I got a sore finger,” he spluttered soulfully. It was enough to soften the hardest of hearts.

His sore finger was the reason he came last in his race, or so it seemed!

Dreams I’d been dreaming for years were, perhaps, about to come true. With some trepidation about the unknown ahead of me, I climbed the front stairs at the home of Randall’s parents, not wanting to show the feelings I was concealing. His mother greeted me at the top of the stairs and then led me inside. When I arrived Randall was sleeping off some of his jet lag in the “boys” room, the bedroom designated for he and his brother when the house was built. However, it was soon converted into a sunroom-sewing room as the work commitments of both Randall and his brother took them far a field from the home fires.

His mother and I talked quietly for a little while. Taking a deep breath, I then ventured into the back bedroom to wake him. It wasn’t the greatest welcome as Randall almost jumped out of his skin, not having a clue where he was when he woke. After a most inauspicious beginning, we shared a spirited evening around the dining table. The conversation flowed freely. The intervening years slipped away as if nothing had changed in the interim. Two separate lives in two separate countries suddenly merged with barely a murmur.

Because Randall’s father was away on business until the Friday evening, we invited his parents to spend the weekend with us at “Anna Capri” Randall and his father could spend some time together. Rising early Saturday morning, we packed the car and headed north to the coast with his parents following behind in their car. We pre-arranged to meet up at Surf Air, then a hotel at Mudjimba, south of Coolum, en route to Sunshine Beach and “Anna Capri”. The beer that morning in the sun-lit beer garden tasted like liquid gold as we raised our glasses to the week ahead of us. For years I’d not had time off from work, other than when my mother passed away, so I was consumed by a carefree, holiday feeling. Being someone who likes to be prepared, the car was filled with grocery-laden boxes and an ice-filled esky of cold foods to alleviate the necessity of having to visit a supermarket upon arrival at our destination. The only thing I wanted to concern myself with once settled into “Anna Capri” was relaxation. Shopping was the last thing I wanted to think about or do. After purchasing some supplies from the liquor store at Surf Air, we re-entered the coastal highway and pointed the car’s nose northwards.

I jumped, let out a yell and whacked Randall on his left arm.

“You’re on the wrong side of the road!”

A car heading south was coming straight for us in the same lane. After nine years of motoring in the US, Randall, by second nature, had pulled out and commenced driving north in the right-hand lane. It’s not the safest thing to do here in Australia! Needless to say, we swiftly moved into the left lane, thereby surviving to tell the tale.

A pleasant day and evening was spent with Randall’s folks. I prepared a roast lamb dinner and the four of us sat around the table catching up on lost times. The folks headed off to bed around eleven. Randall and I moved out to the sun-room. We were still there talking when the sun made its re-appearance over the horizon to the east. I can’t say the same for the bottle of Cutty Sark Scotch. There was little appearance of it left in the bottle by that time! We were sipping on coffee when Randall’s parents emerged from their bedroom around 7.30am. They displayed amazement that we were already up, until we informed them we’d not gone to bed at all! After a lengthy breakfast, they departed for Brisbane, leaving us to our own devices.

“Anna Capri” proved to be everything I thought “she” would be when I first set my eyes upon the cottage on the hill. No neighbouring properties other than the roof of one home at the base of the north-easterly facing ridge could be seen through the thick vegetation, giving one a feeling of remoteness and privacy. Our peace only pleasantly interrupted by the sounds of the waves lapping upon the shore and birds flitting from tree to tree. It was heaven on earth.

I mentioned to Randall on the Tuesday night that I wished I’d taken two weeks off from work, not one. I felt we needed more time to ourselves to adjust before we went back to the real world. He agreed and suggested I telephone John the next day to ask if I could have an extra week. That I did and much to my surprise and dismay, John said “No!”

In the heat of the moment, I told him quite bluntly that I was going to take the extra week off, regardless of what he said. On the Thursday, Randall and I drove back to Brisbane and the office to ensure that everything was in order and that there no pressing matters needing my attention. John just grunted at me and proceeded to ignore my presence. I figured he’d get over it and in return, I ignored him! Making sure all was in order and under control I wasted little time in the office.

As I climbed back into the car, Randall asked, “How was it? Is everything okay?”

To which I replied, “It’s like Antarctica in there…let’s go. Sunshine Beach is waiting!”

The two weeks we spent at Sunshine Beach and Noosa in “our” little cottage were wonderful. The time spent soaking up the sun, relaxing, the freedom and the reacquainting ourselves was worth the upset back in the office. I would deal with that upon my return. I knew John would thaw, eventually. He’d become so dependent upon me throughout the years. I was always “there” and for once, I stood firm. I needed to get my life, my own “house” into order.

All too soon the real world reared its sometimes ugly head. The glorious fourteen days came to an end. Back to Brisbane and my apartment at Toowong we went.

John, as I expected, was soon back to his normal self. He was a bit frosty for the first couple of days after my return to work but he warmed and all was forgotten. There were clients to see, places to visit and work to be attended to, so there was no time to be wasted on trivial matters.

Randall moved in. Sasha, my big ginger cat, moved out! Smocka, my beautiful steely-blue-grey cat remained. He wasn’t the jealous type, but the “red-head” acted true to form! I upset more than just the “apple-cart” at work, but at home, too!

Within a couple of weeks, Randall gained employment as bar manager at the Regatta Hotel, which was just down the road a bit from where we lived. For the last couple of years or so in New York he’d managed a bar, “O’Brian's”, in the Upper East Side. Brian, an Irishman also owned a hotel, the “Sea Spray” out on Long Island. During the summer months, Randall would go there on the weekends and holidays to manage the hotel for Brian. The “Sea Spray” featured in the movie, “Network” which starred Peter Finch (who posthumously won an Oscar for his role as “Howard Beale”), Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall and William Holden.

Soon we were settled into a life of some kind of normalcy with Sasha looking on from afar. He’d packed up and moved into the property behind the apartment block. Nothing I did would convince him he still held a major portion of my heart. He would just sit there, refuse to move and just stare disdainfully at me!

To be continued.....


  1. What, no to be continued? Is it really finished?
    I want more. Obviously there is no Randall now, so????
    Isn't it funny how some people you just fall right back into ease with even after so many years?
    I have friends I went to school with and I see sometimes not for 10 years or more. But we always fall into a comfort zone with each other at once. Of course a romance is very different but it seems you managed it.
    Well if it really is the end, it was a good look into Lee's early life and very interesting too.

  2. No...I forgot to put "to be continued" on the bottom, jmb! lol I'll go back in and rectify that!

    It's nowhere near finished yet...I'm still here typing, aren't I? ;)

  3. I just reread the email and noticed it said latest and not last as I had first thought.
    Must be time to feed the sluggish brain cells.

  4. Hi Lee, I was more put off by the photo of the statue of liberty than the fact you omitted "to be continued"
    I thought you had skedaddled to New York to be with Randall.

  5. No...I never made it to New York, unfortunately, Peter. It is one city I would love to visit and stay a while, though. :)

  6. Hi Lee,

    A sweet reunion, and a cat will act like a cat, darn it.

    I'm glad to hear Randall returned.


  7. Hi, nice to see you Janice...where have you been hiding? ;

  8. And so again we're left waiting, drumming our fingers on the table and wondering if this will work out for Lee, or if she maybe kicked out the wrong 'cat'.

  9. “You’re on the wrong side of the road!”

    What do you mean wrong side? It's the right side. After all it is the right side. ;-)

    Lee, do you have email? I wanted to respond to your comment on my blog but couldn't because I didn't have a way to email you. I did take your advice about Wet Canvas though.

    P.S. I just noticed in your profile that you're a Scorpio. When is your birthday? Mine is 11/20.

  10. Lee
    As usual a very interesting read. Just because someone has a pc. of your heart does not mean they can be in your life. I think Randy will run off again. Maybe the cat will come back. AH the suspense.

  11. Hi Lee ~~ Interesting episode and I presume a very happy one for you. Glad John thawed out - you it seems became almost indispensable !!
    I hope your happiness lasted for a good while. Thanks for your comments, yes those foot and mouth painters are amazing. Never heard of a frozen keyboard before. (Led a very sheltered life!) Hope all is fixed again. Take care my friend, Love, Merle.

  12. Hey there Cliff...it's those red-heads you've got to worry about...my cat was a red head and my late mother had been a red head, too....fiery folk! ;)

    Robbie...I've sent an email to you at what I figured was your email address. I hope it gets to you and doesn't end up in Jupiter or Mars! ;) I was born on the 11th of the 11th...the eleventh hour, too!

    Hey Lady Di...stop biting your nails! ;)

    Hi Merle, I don't think anyone has heard of a frozen keyboard before! Takes me to cause one...it was very frustrating. I have no idea how I caused it to happen, but happen it did! ;)

  13. More, please! Have I missed something - the bit about "Anna Capri"? Is it on a post I have missed accidentally? Lovely tale. Poor Sasha! And love the bit about the little boy in the race with the "sore finger". Come on, Lee - we want to know the rest!

  14. Perhaps you missed Chapter Eighteen, Welsh...you'll just have to pour yourself a G&T, scroll back and catch up! ;)

  15. Ah, the days when your spirit could run free in life. I can't remember the last time I took two weeks off from work. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I ever did, family responsibilities and all.

  16. I know the feeling, Dave. I didn't take holidays either, so those two weeks were a welcome treat for me at that time. :)

  17. This is a wonderful tale....... all about timing. I will never understand the ebb and flow of things. But, you were given a gift.

  18. G'day, american woman...thanks for your comment. It's nice to see you. :)

  19. Another cliff hanger. I'm waiting...

  20. Hang in there, CD!

  21. I wondered when we were going to hear more of "City Lights". Glad to hear you and Randall caught up again and picked up so smoothly. I have had a very few friends like that.

    So...Sasha was jealous of the competition was he? Isn't that just typical of a ginger cat. I had one that did exactly the same thing...and just would not return home. Who do you choose, the lover or the cat? I know what my answer would be these days...lol!

    It was good to read another episode, Lee.

  22. Hi again Lee ~~ Glad you like the pictures I posted. And I hope it is
    raining where you are. We need somme too. Take care, Love, Merle.

  23. I almost commented before I even read this post as I was so excited that there was a new chapter...you are a very clever marketer..keeping us coming back !!!!

  24. Hi Robyn..Sasha really got his nose out of joint...and there was little I could do about it. He was a lovely cat.

    Not much rain at all, Merle...a few spits. It is predicted for the weekend, but I won't hold my breath.

    Sorry I've been so slack writing another chapter, Rebecca. Looking back, I did take a long time to write another episode, didn't I? ;)

  25. This chapter was to short I want to know more!

  26. Awww...I'm sorry, Shelly. ;)