Back To The Outback

We have a long history with the Outback. This is a picture taken at the '97 SIDS Walkthon. Little Andrew is in front of the Wombat sign, having walked 9 miles on the Aqueduct Trail

Yesterday was Robert’s birthday. While he was at school I went to my yoga class. I enjoy the meditative quality of this class. The emphasis on breath and body awareness and the yogic poses quickly draw the attention inward. During the hour-long class I get a respite from the world and from myself.
Still, lying down in Syvana at the end of the class, images of Andrew flood my mind and overwhelming sadness floods my body. No whys, if this or if that; only ocean deep sadness.
On the way to my car, tears streaming down my face and past my sunglasses, I bump into an acquaintance. She looks familiar but through the tears and the dark sunglasses I don’t immediately recognize her.
“Esmeralda?” she says stopping in front of me. “It’s Amy.”
“Oh Amy, hi.”
“How are you?” she asks and immediately adds “Stupid question,” seeing that I am crying.
“It’s hard,” I admit.
“I read your blog every day,” she tells me.
“Oh,” I say shuffling my feet. “Are you going to Yoga?”
“Yes.”
“Nice to see you Amy,” I say. “And thank you for everything,” I add, suddenly remembering the help and support she offered when Andrew died.

When Robert came home from school, a few birthday cards with “goodies” inside from his granny and aunt from England were waiting for him. He opened them with great relish and was pleased with the contents.
Our young friend David, who left three weeks ago in the pursuit of happiness on the sea, had sent Robert a present and now he called him, they chatted for a long time and I could see that Robert was happy to hear from him. Then it was the turn of the Italian contingent to call to convey their “Auguri, buon compleanno.”
Eventually, when Robert settled down to do his homework, I sat at my laptop and didn’t get up until I finished a piece for the Huffington Post.
By the time Hugh and Florentina arrived from the city, it was time to go out for dinner. No arguing this time as we had done on Christmas Eve, we went to The Outback.
Reeling with memories from the moment we drove into the car park, I steeled myself as we walked into the restaurant.
“Andrew and I ate a whole blooming onion once,” Robert said, breaking the ice and lifting the awkwardness we all felt.
Stretching my arm across the table, I took the stack of beer mats and as Andrew used to do, I built a house of cards, it fell apart quickly, then Florentina had a go while Robert instructed her according to Andrew’s technique.
When the table was cleared, Robert got his Sydney Sinful Sundae. It came with a lit candle on top and all the waiters and waitresses gathered around the table to sing Happy Birthday to a blushing Robert.
But the celebration wasn’t over yet. A birthday cake was waiting at home for Robert.
Before blowing out the fifteen candles, he remembered his brother, I nearly burst into tears but Florentina kicked me under the table and I quickly steadied myself.

“I hope you enjoyed your birthday,” I said to Robert before going to bed.
“It was great,” he said stoically, and we kissed each other goodnight.

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