Observing in St Kilda
She lays belly down in the setting sun of the St Kilda gardens, the shadows of her straw bag and drink bottle casting long, romantic shapes across her shoulders. I wonder what she is reading. The wind seems not to bother her and her long brown hair sits comfortably wrapped, relaxed in a little parcel on the top of her head. The sun mustn’t bother her either because her sunglasses are also seated on her head, keeping her hair parcel company. What would she think knowing a stranger is observing her with wonderment and intrusive awe? All I want to know is what it would be like to be her and not me. What would it be like to be a beautiful woman reading a book on her own on February the 14th laying in the warm grass beside the sea? Maybe we have more in common than I think. I too am a woman, laying in the warm grass on my own, perhaps even observably beautiful to those walking past, though my mind is restless. She touches her chin gently as she lovingly turns the pages of a novel that for all I know, details a story she is desperately wishing she could be physically encapsulated within herself. Maybe, like me, she dreams of learning what the world is like from other eyes. Though I hope the book she is reading is one of a life very different than hers and mine. I hope the book speaks of tales and countries and times unimaginable to two young, Melburnian women living in 2022. I hope the book she has momentarily travelled into is one of love and friendship and heartbreak that those of us who live here, now, with our necks bowed and our thumbs more active than our hearts, can only dare envisage. Who am I to talk, as I type these very words into my notes app, the same one I write my shopping lists into, whilst Snapchat notifications appear at the top of my screen. The woman continues to read, blissful, oblivious. I hope she sleeps well tonight, wondering whether maybe, just maybe, a stranger who this evening will sleep somewhere else in this huge, unforgiving city has wished her a happy and hopeful life, full of books and love and friendship.