Friday, February 23, 2007

cinema under the stars on a balmy night.

The sun had already disappeared behind the buildings by the time we got there. This is the last pretty place left during this drought I sighed as I lowered myself down onto the grass. The lawns were filling up quickly, some families with their children in tow, a couple of lone spectators, girlfriends toasting the summer and couples snuggling into the crooks of each others necks. I notice the little knowing smiles on their faces. I look around at all of us, brightly animated, relaxed and happy. From above we must look like a giant patchwork quilt of colour.

E is swatting at her legs - the mosquitoes a menacing beast. L is busying herself with preparing the food and I am looking out over the wave of people around me. A group of men sharing a slab of beer. A couple smiling at each other. A father, rocking his young daughter to sleep in his arms. He looks at her adoringly. My eyes notice a young woman directly in front of me sitting alone on a picnic rug. Her lipstick is freshly applied and hair looks immaculate. She is a vision... waiting to be viewed. She rearranges the cheese platter a thousand times while looking at her watch, then at her phone and then out towards the entrance. I follow her gaze, hoping to see a man rushing, late, anxious - but there is nothing but more families and giggling girls.

The sky darkens into a hue of mauve, indigo and pink. People are settling into their rugs, lazily picking at their dips and crackers. E is talking about her new pup and L is offering sound advice to stop the night time whining. I am scratching the back of my legs. Stupid prickly grass. The girl with the shiny hair stares at her phone intently. She picks it up to make a call. Frown, hushed whisper, Where are you? But you said.. She hangs up and looks down at her cheese platter. She wipes at her eye - it is a fleeting movement - quick, embarrassed, frustrated. She turns away and looks at the sky.

This brightly coloured patchwork quilt of people are now shadowy silhouettes against the dusky sky and sad girl with the immaculate hair and lipstick looks so alone on her rug for two. A couple of bats fly overhead at the botanical gardens - the last remaining few of a colony relocated elsewhere.

The movie starts and I am staring at sad girl. I would have left by now whispers E. I'd be digging into the food and watching the movie offers L. I'm not sure of what I'd do if I was Sad girl. I think I would have started to cry, but pretended I wasn't.

The opening song has settled the children and there is a strange hush over the crowd as they watch, enthralled by the action on the large screen. Then suddenly from nowhere, there he is - bespectacled and casual. Sad girl looks up and the sadness disappears. I can almost see the lights of electricity dancing around her hair with excitement. He plonks down beside her and gives her a kiss on the cheek. She beams up at him. He will never know how sad she felt when she thought he wouldn't come.

Labels: ,