Remember the roof top garden at the Victorian College of the Arts where water pours down windows like a million tears? Where the Art School once was? Remember when we drank tea out of thermoses? Chai tea, sweetened with so much honey it was thick and syrupy in our mouths.
We laid back on manicured grass, staring up at the sun through glowing, translucent fingers, our skin shining with yellow and hope. Ants bit at our bare legs, but we didn’t care. We were babies then, our hands were rainbow with paint spats, our hearts were full of naive religion and our brains were full of no ideas and full of the whole world.
We talked about men and god and painting and cooking and books and then we wandered back to art school, with its dope filled air and its corridors scrawled with edginess. Your studio space was next to mine. You were superb and inspired and I hoped some of your brilliance would rub off on me if I just stayed close enough.
Then life took hold of us and rushed us through its veins and we hardly had time to gasp for breath. You barely graduated – won prizes; whilst I got pregnant again and again and got cancer. You made my baby boy a rag doll, he still has it. We got hurt in ways we weren’t expecting. Pain seared our souls, disappointments came bitter and stale and left their taste in our hearts.
And now here we are, two grey women, drinking tea out of bone china cups whilst doors begin to close. Our skin is worn, our hearts are wrinkled and I look at you, across the table from me, sipping your tea and you are just as brilliant, just as glowing, just as beautiful as you ever were and I still hope that if I stay close enough a little will rub off on me.
So, don’t go far Sweet Maryanne, drink more tea with me.