1. Ingrid travels a lot. Black roads and fruit picking. Friends made and friends left. When she told me she had surfed nearly every beach on the coast I trembled with interest. How I should like to meets these breaks, these waves, these places. The reef with the bulbous weed in the take-off zone. The creek mouth that serves up silver bream and tiny, yet perfect, left-hand peelers. The wave that bounces off the cliffs and creates a backwash that can be surfed back out to sea toward the horizon. Different instruments in different keys. I am old now. Bed bound. But curiosity refuses to confine itself to a place, one individuality. Instead, it is an irrepressible inclination to turn a single formula into variations that that are songs without monotony. Ingrid always leaves to collect new songs and bring them back to sing with me.

2. I often chat away the morning with her. We've got to know each other well. Or rather she has got to know me well. I talk. She listens. The years have come and gone and each morning during the season Shè sets up her van at the point. I even sense it when I know she will be there. Of course she will be there. It is the middle of the season and her van is parked. Shè is asleep in it and she is going to rise in the morning, pull back the blinds and say, "Come in, just brewing some coffee. Got wax?"

3. On the beach, there will be a scattering of small fishing boats. In their catch Sally will find the ingredients for her next meal: groupers, crayfish, or bream. The boats' sails will dry in the sun and provide Sally with shade. Sally will spend her days swimming, reading, playing games with the seagulls, riding waves, and talking to herself. At dusk, on a beach completely deserted, Sally will wait, wait, wait for the fishermen to come back. In return for the shade, Sally will help the fishermen shove their boats off to sea. That very evening Sally will barbecue the grouper or crayfish or bream over an open fire before disappearing herself into the dark. I never get to see where she goes. Mermaids are real.

4. At the end of each frond of the Melaleuca fat drops of rain collect and gleam wetly with reflected light until a wind-gust launches them back into the saturated grey backdrop of afternoon. Parrots, three, bright orange at chest and crest, a hint of green, turquoise dash past. All the birds are energised by the rain. A dozen sparrows peck and twitter at the edge of the bitumen. Two blackbirds chase a nosy yellow-wing. Rosa drives. The road, wet with rain, seems to dip and sway as rivulets race in crests across it. The act of driving is hypnotic. The engine shudders to a halt. Far, far below is a lineup. White horses as far as the eye can see. The radio plays softly. The windscreen is a fragmented still-life distorted. Squeak, squeak go the wipers. Rosa leaves the car, walks to the edge of the cliff. She leans into the wind and breathes deeply. Weightless like her first wave.

photo by Sebastian Potthoff
photo by Sebastian Potthoff
photo by Sebastian Potthoff
photo by Sebastian Potthoff
photo by Sebastian Potthoff