“We’ve got to go to the Opera House”, I said to my friends Sue and Heather tonight.
Although I’d seen my friend Sue (from Melbourne) the week previously, I hadn’t seen Heather for about seventeen years. She’s been living in the “middle of nowhere” and overseas a while. But as they were both from elsewhere, somewhere that featured a view of the Opera House just seemed logical for a 20 year catchup.
Although “Opera Bar” is a great spot with views of the Harbour Bridge, we went to the downstairs bar at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. A fair bit cheaper than Opera Bar, and with arguably, better views, it was a great spot to catch up.
And you know what it’s like when you’ve maintained contact with someone, but haven’t actually seen that person for a long, long time? It can either be awkward or incredibly wonderful…
Within minutes of seeing each other, however, we were suddenly transported back 20 years to when we lived together at university in 1985, 1986 and 1987.
But with old friends there are always some things you remember and some things you don’t. I don’t remember, for example, the last time we saw each other when I was living in South Australia. But I do remember almost every detail of when we lived together.
I remember, for example, the night I cut my foot in her room and had to drive to PA hospital with blood gushing because Heather couldn’t drive.
I remember also the night we had to call the police to report a possible break-in, and she declared to the police, “Don’t worry, the house hasn’t been broken into and ransacked, it’s always looked this way”. I said the same the thing to police several weeks ago.
I also remember vividly the story of when we were so incredibly superficial, and invited someone to live with us because they had a really nice couch. Within a couple of months, we told her we were moving out, when in actual fact, we just couldn’t stand how much she talked. Oh god, she talked!
Strangely I didn’t remember, however,, that I used to pick her up at the oddest hours when she was working at dinner parties looking after the likes of Wayne Swann and Kevin Rudd when they were complete nobodies. And then, when she recalled the memories, it all came flooding back. “Oh yes, I was there”, I recalled.
And there were some other things I didn’t remember, such as having gone to a night-club that featured lots of people in coffins which sounds very much like Brisbane in the 1980s. “Are you sure that was me? That sounds more like Cathy than me”, I said to her!
But overall, you realise then why you’ve maintained contact over the years. You remember there was something about them that you obviously loved so much that’s kept you in touch.
And of course, we had to have that reunion outside the Opera House!
“Here’s a drink to Jørn Utzon”, we said at one point. And then, of course, we had another drink!!