Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Times past

In my last year at university I was friends with A, B and C, who were old school friends of each other, but not of me. My school was more downmarket....not only that, it was, yuk, catholic...(although I was not: an uncomfortable perch). My parents were less well-heeled - ie, poorer. Culturally, we were sort of the same : my parents'education possibly eclipsed theirs. Values,etc were in common, and traditional........ I enjoyed AB and C hugely.

A invited us to stay at her father's south coast getaway. We jumped at the chance: we were carried by her in her mini several hours south of Sydney, to stay in this tycoon's getaway - a fibro shack. It faced north, ie sunwards, across two vast empty inlets/beaches. Divine. There was no other dwelling in sight.
It was known but unspoken that A's mother had mental health issues: that's why A had a car: what horrible assault might happen if she had to take public transport?
A's mother, in her confusion, had insisted that A go on an "outward bound" course. A said that it had all been boring - if you had to abseil down a cliff, then you would abseil down a cliff, or do whatever silly physical stuff they valued - and that the only positive she got from the experience was that it was pleasant to swim naked.
So, we gave it a try. And, after initial coyness, it was very soporific, to wander nude along the pristine lengths of these two beaches: the untouched sand, the clean breakers washing in. Miles of beach and bush and emptiness: isolation, solitude. It was quite blissful.
Until the day we looked behind us, and saw waves of people gradually emerging from the coastal shrubbery as we retreated. We had forgotten that there are weekends. And, that on weekends people travel to surf and fish and whatever.
Today the whole place is, of course, a mass of development. I'm pleased that I remember it when, but I wonder whether there are any old locals who remember four naked young women loitering along the shore while the locals hid in the bushes.

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