At dinner, I find myself surrounded by tourists from a geriatric bus tour who’ve traveled from the seaside town of Adelaide to see the Outback before it’s too late. Seated next to me is a soft-spoken woman named June. She has clear blue eyes; silvered hair she’s swept up into an immaculate beehive; and the kind of timeless beauty most women hope for as they age.
Between courses—a watery soup, a lackluster tossed salad, a presentable corned beef with cabbage and small roasted red potatoes—June tells me about her life. How her husband died a few months ago from cancer. How their only child, a daughter, lives a continent away in Kuala Lumpur. How much she misses them both, as well as her two grandchildren—a boy and a girl. How friends told her she needed to be with other people. That she should experience a bit of her own country. That a change of scenery would do her good.
By the time the apple crumble arrives, we’re almost family.
particle of light . . .
the gentle blurring of hands
when we wave farewell