There’s nature in the city too. On a hot day at Manly a line of cloud bubbled above the horizon. To the north it turned into a bulbous mass, all greys and blacks and whites tumbled together. The blue-grey sea was flat, punctuated by surfers catching what they could close to shore. We walked around to Shelley Beach, looked longingly at a clear green rock pool, almost feeling its soft fresh water cooling us under our clinging clothes.
Later, sitting by my grandson’s cot, I watched the sky lose colour while flying foxes crossed back and forth, their slow heavy flap carrying them past apartment blocks and aerials, power lines and treetops. The closer to night we got, the lighter the sky, until suddenly it switched and I was looking out at darkness, and lights were yellow in windows. The little boy beside me slept, clutching the book I’d used to bribe him into bed.
Another night I packed my handbag with glasses and wallet, headache pills and phone. I tucked a few mints into a corner as if I was going on a trek, or packing my child’s bag for a picnic. At the Opera House the air was thick, more rain ready to fall. Laughter in the forecourt came to me muffled, and lights formed blurry haloes. Japanese girls took photos of each other with the bridge in the background, its beams in the haze forming a subtle geometry of triangles and vertical lines. Seagulls wheeled overhead, flying in and out of the spotlights like disappearing tricks.