One Day in the Life of John Dennis (part III)
8:45 Is whenever I’m with you.
The Dennis home is cute as. The only house on the block painted grey, today like the sky, it sits back from the street hibiscus bushes planted in front and a basket/backboard nailed to the telephone pole. The rim sags and is netless. His dad painted the house and he painted some too. It is a single story postwar home featuring a corrugated tin roof and wood framed windows without shades. He lives here, when he is here, with older sister who is a primary school teacher, mum, younger sister who is a professional surfer too, and dad. His ex-filmer, Les lives next door and his other best friend lives a couple houses up the street.
He pulls his car onto the ribbon driveway. There is a grey bungalow in the back, at the far end of the yard, where he sleeps, along with his filmer Pat. “I’m a twenty five year old man who sleeps in a bunk bed…” he says. Pat isn’t inside the room editing the clips from South Australia and Bali so he passes under the clothesline, around the empty hammock frame, goes into the main house to check the winds on the internet. There will be a surf today f’sure. He walks through the room featuring a day bed and that Magna Carta puzzle framed in gold, down the hallway, past his sisters’ rooms, and into the kitchen. His sister is there drinking coffee and gives him a kind smirk. It is school holidays. She is tall and lean with red hair that falls past her shoulders in wavy waves. His mom is cleaning the counter. She is not tall. And Pat is sitting at the kitchen table checking his email. Next to Pat on the floor, is his yellow singlet from the Quiksilver Pro. He was a wildcard in the event and it is framed except not in gold but rather black.
Pat looks up and nods his head. Blonde hair falls right above his eyes. He is of medium height, medium weight. Handsome but not memorable. “You wanna go oot and get some breakfast?” He is from Canada. Toronto. “Yeah, yeah. Ah’m down. We’re just gonna go eat, mum…” he says.
He goes himself to the kitchen table and there is a handwritten note from his dad sitting next to a stack of Moda stickers. Moda is his tailpatch/leash sponsor. The note has a circled 1, 2 and 3. Circle three has three sub-points. 1st, 2nd and 3rd. His dad leaves him to-do notes every day, when he is home. Circle 1 on today’s list is, “Close ANZ cards. Get a print out of June’s details and July details.” He chuckles about it with Pat before his sister says, “It’s really nice of him to do.” “Ah know. Ah know,” he responds “Ah need it. It’s just funny.”
Moving over to the computer, he logs on to windguru.com. The font is set to large, or something. It sort of warps everything. He tells Pat over his shoulder, “It’s probably going to be fun somewhere.” Pat asks which way the winds are blowing. “Straight offshore.” There is a walnut cabinet next to the computer chair filled with family pictures. Parents, grandparents, kids, cousins. His dad usually leaves for work at 4.30 am. Two nights ago he and Pat came home from a biggish night as he was leaving for work. He felt guilty.
9:00 He loves eggs benedict.
He and Pat walk out to the Dae Woo and drive towards Goldberg’s. Famous for breakfast. The edge to the blanket of overcast is tantalizingly close but still over Newcastle. Still in the distance somewhere south. Pat has pulled a black and white stripped beanie over his blonde and tells him that this cloud cover is going to sit over his head all day. “No it won’t…” he says. “Ah’ll drive to Sydney.”
Even though it is school holidays and Friday the roads aren’t full. It takes exactly four minutes from driveway to car park across the road from Goldberg’s. The sign is gold and bubbly cursive. The sun breaks through the second before they reach the door. Blanket pulled back and he lets out a large sigh, turns his face and lets the light swallow him. The streets look different. Everything looks different. Glorious possibilities instead of numbing depression. And breakfast? “Ahhhhh.”
Inside the walls are dark green, the ceiling is red and a large brass chandelier hangs low. It is dark. Ambient. All the wood, tables, chairs, bar, is dark. He and Pat are seated directly near the door. It is full but not packed. Buzzing with low level and certainly banal conversation. A Korean girl in the corner is eating poached eggs and tomatoes and is using her knife and fork like an Australian. Pushing food with the knife onto the back of the fork then putting it into her mouth. She wears a touch of lip gloss and her hair is black and straight.
He doesn’t need the menu. He has been thinking about eggs benedict with ham as soon as he saw Les’s description was not altogether accurate. The waitress comes with the menu anyhow and leaves. Pat asks him, “What’s good here, man?” He answers, “Everything. The eggs benedict.” Then he says, “It’s gonna be a good day today. I’m feelin’ it. That sun is telling me. What are you thinkin?” Pat, staring holes through the menu, tells him he’s not sure and he helps. “The eggs benedict with the ham.” Pat, distracted, looks at a neighboring table. “I wonder what they got?” The waitress returns and he says, “Hi. Can I get a latte, and can I please get the eggs benedict? With ham?” Pat orders it as well except he gets a flat white instead of a latte.
He leans back, folds his arms still encased in camel cable knit jumper and casts a casual glance over his left shoulder. Sitting close is an attractive woman. “That chick behind me is fine,” he tells Pat. Pat waits for her to turn around. She speaks using her hands.
Pat picks up a section of the newspaper and asks him aboot Rugby League. Does he follow? “I don’t know if you could live near here and not be into rugby. Lots of the guys live around. They go to that club Fanny’s. You know that one?” he says.
Pat asks him how in the world he can like Vegemite. “Ahh it’s all about the butter. You need to spread it real thin with heaps of butter.” he says. Pat tells him he just can’t get away from the Nutella.
Eggs benedicts comes hot and tempting. Laid on the table with care. Hollandaise sauce the color of fresh sunshine outside. Egg yolks too. Both dig in and eat like Americans. Just fork no knife. Cutting with the edge and not eating piggishly but certainly hungrily. Breakfast is so good! They drink their respective versions of the same coffee, eat, eat without speaking.
When half finished “ding ding” the iPhone sings. He answers. It’s Hoyo. “Yo what’s happenin’. Just uhh finished breakies. Yeah. Nahh. Where are you? At home? I’m gonna go surfing somewhere. Late.” He tells Patt, “Hoyo rang me to tell me I’m blowing it right now. It’s firing in Forster.” Forster is roughly two hours north of Newcastle.
He sneaks to the cashier while Matt is in the bathroom. And Pat wouldn’t have protested anyhow. He pays for everything without holding the slightest grudge. Generous to a fault, if such a thing truly exists. The cashier, a mid-twenties girl slightly portly smiles at him. His black beanie is pushed far back his forehead. and beautiful hair falls.
Exiting it seems as if all hint of cloud has gone. The air smells wet and there are puddles, which throw shards of light every which way, but otherwise there is not hint of bad weather. Of the misfortunes that have betrayed Newcastle for who knows how long and he and Pat since Bali. They climb into the Dae Woo. He turns up the stereo. Alive.
Everytime the moon shines I become alive.
And everytime the moon shines I become alive.
I’m feeling strange in the (hiss)