It’s been far too long since I stopped here. Stopped at all now that I think about it. The seagulls stand around me silent and sulky. Not a crumb from my pie falls away to catch their eye. But the sky is sunset grey and the harbour is darkening through green to black – its time to settle down after all. The background sounds are soporific. The traffic hums along behind Harry’s Cafe de Wheels (purveyor of fine pies and peas). In the distance sulphur crested cockatoos fight a raucous and strident scrap over nesting spots but they are far enough away to not be discordant. The US Navy is tied up alongside and the occasional drawling accent, softer than the Sydney woman on her cell phone, murmer past as pair after pair of young men with short haircuts make for the city lights. USS John Cain is lit from bow to stern with its Christmas lights as these warships do – painted ladies in port, snarling beasts on the high seas. Apparently visiting to commemorate a round-the-world voyage of the US Navy in 1908-9. The warships signal with the tinkle of bells and the tannoy clips its messages to the crew across the water. I can’t hear the instructions, but there a dozens of them. Orange lights scatter reflections down the harbour as the sun makes for Perth and lights in the apartments along the wharf start lighting up as people arrive home. One imagines a very convenient lifestyle there and I guess the warship announcements every couple of minutes or so would soon fade into the background. Water sloshes along the rocks at my feet – sounds that take me to childhood places vastly different to a harbour city of 4 million people. The homeless of them are drifting past with their trolleys, mixing with the suits walking with more purpose to their expensive apartments. But Harry’s is something of a “leveller” – one of the suits props beside me and eats a pie with a plastic fork and protects his garb with a paper towel. I could prop here all night but tonight has another purpose and I had best get on with it.
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