Here & Now with S Sorrensen - Nov 5

My place Friday 8pm: I’m feeling, um, happy.

I have four friends around my dinner table.

Friends, food, a little something to drink... Lovely.

I’ve had a home-cooked meal. Cooked it myself. And a bottle of wine to go with... Who wouldn’t be happy? (Actually, plenty of people. Some people couldn’t be happy even if they had enough to eat, adequate shelter and a balmy night with a dust-free breeze nudging the wind chime into pretty tunes.)

The plates are empty now. The potato mash with steamed vegetables folded in (a speciality of the shack) is now barely a smear across the white china. One plate has tongue marks. (One chin has potato marks.)

The plates, their cutlery casually crossed or properly parallel in a relaxed, anal way, are just hanging about, seemingly in no hurry to get to the sink.

On the dark side of a (still) blue and green planet, in a little shack under the cliffs at the end of the world, in a cone of gentle solar-powered light, we five sit sipping from small glasses. Sporadic conversation gushes from the table like an occasional gas flare.

Outside, the sunset flurry of parrots feasting on ironbark flowers has quietened. Deaf to the flares of conversation, I hear only the stars twinkle and nurse my contentment like a drink.

We sip the liqueur that was part of my booty from last week’s raid on far north Queensland.

“That’s really good,” someone says, bringing my focus back from the stars.

“Hazelnut and macadamia," I say.

“It’s beautiful, darling,” says the woman among us. She has flushed cheeks and very clear eyes. I like her eyes. Very much. They smile at me.

Here and now, I feel happy. The constant restlessness that fills my life, that keeps me looking forward, that sometimes makes me miss the detail, has abated. So the dishes just sit there listening to the wind chime and the table talk.

“Where’s it from?” asks my sculptor mate from the coast.

The anger that triggers that restlessness; the anger that rails against, say, Australian oil spreading across the sea like a slippery pox, has disappeared.

I have a blessed life. Like the original hippie said, I’m the seed that fell on fertile ground. I’m lucky.

Lucky I’m not desperately seeking shelter, stuck on a ship in an Indonesian port as men of no consequence dither about in the boys’ own world of politics, too numb with power to feel compassion.

Lucky I’m not a Kenyan farmer with no food because the rains didn’t come this year and the land is so dry his grandfather can’t ever remember a drought like this. Meanwhile I pay for a sludge of suits to jet over to Copenhagen (first class) to negotiate better deals for polluters.

Damn. The anger, asleep a moment ago, seems to have awoken and stomps grumpily around in my chest giving me heartburn.

It’s a joke. Where do these ‘leaders’ come from? What sort of system is it that throws up people like these for us to vote for?

I wouldn’t allow these yobbos into my shack, let alone to sit at my table. Damn them!

All eyes are turned to me.

Why? Why are you looking at me?

My happiness has done a runner. The plates look anxious.

“Where’s it from?” asks my sculptor mate from the coast.

Even the chimes are silent.

The woman with the clear, beautiful eyes puts her hand on my leg, those eyes showing a smudge of anxiety.

“The liqueur,” she says, helping me.

“Atherton Tablelands,” I say.

And take the plates to the sink.


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