Read the prologue of The Trivia Night here!
My dear husband,
I am at the place we used to come to, when we loved one another. Pen and paper on my knees, writing to you like I used to do, back in the day. Out front, waves thump the shore, turfing out early-morning surfers in their deadly roll, like debris being shaken from a rug. Heads bob up, followed by black rubber-clad bodies, invigorated by the cold and the ferocity of the swell. The dawn glitters off the ocean; how quintessentially Australian!
Behind me, the residents of Darley sleep as though drugged. Soon enough, the people we used to mingle with over cocktails and finger food, the creme of Sydney’s beach-lined peninsula, will stir in their linen-covered king beds, inside Balinese-styled homes, hands feeling out for switches to flood the world with artificial light until the sun makes its show. But here on the beach the light is real. A deep, rusty glow that blurs to peach slower than the eye can see (but blink and you’ll miss it), bringing with it a hug of warm air, a taste of the heat we’ve been promised. Summer is here again! The earth has done another circuit around the sun. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since it happened, isn’t it, my dear?
I can’t help but think back on it all as I sit watching the waves. Isn’t the feeling of cold sand sliding through your toes positively delicious? Each grain the perfect weight and consistency to make it flow like silk – until it is ruined by the weight of water. But everything beautiful is ultimately sullied, isn’t it? Like love. Like marriage. Oh, I can still picture it now. Eight adults – eight responsible parents – drunk on vanity and booze, eyes greedy, limbs poised, mouths frothing with innuendo. Eight lives merging for better or worse, like globules of hot wax fusing, irresistibly, inside a lava lamp.
There was something so utterly delicious about the predicament they were all in and I honestly believe it would have been remiss of me not to act, especially given what I’d been through. After all, I didn’t make them do what they did. I didn’t force them into anything. They did all of that themselves – I just helped a little afterwards. I just made the situation work for me. And didn’t it work, my darling? It worked a dream!
But I do sometimes wonder how things would have gone if Amanda Blackland had never joined Darley Heights Public School. If the trivia night had been cancelled for some unforeseen reason. If they hadn’t all been so selfish. Perhaps there would have been no funeral. No children standing at the foot of a polished mahogany coffin, tears spilling from woeful eyes and collecting sorrowfully at their tiny feet.
I guess we will never know, will we, my dear?