Letterbox Liaisons Part 2 (Feb 2014: Melbourne)

I head around the corner to Letterbox Liaison Lad’s movie night. I pass a group of rowdy teenagers and some hipsters picnicking by candlelight then I see a bunch of people sitting around a makeshift screen strung up in a tree. Someone I recognize waves me over to a spare chair next to him. I smile at the inevitability and slight ridiculousness of this situation. Who happens to live right next door to my Letterbox Liaison Lad? Who is in fact organizing this lovely communal neighbourhood film night? Tent Guy. We were both happy to see each other and had a short but relatively lovely conversation. I heard he ended up in a relationship with that girl he kissed that time. I’m glad I was blown off for not just anyone, but someone special. He was a good sport and made me very welcome.

When my eyes adjust I see Letterbox Liaison Lad lying down the front. I pass around the lammos and settle back in to watch the movie – ‘Searching for Sugarman.’ I’m trying not to look at the back of Letterbox Lad’s head and wonder if he got a lammo. Or liked it. When the Tupperware container comes back I eat the last one. Bah! The icing tastes wrong! The sponge has soaked it all up! Serves me right for trying to impress boys with baking, or for trying to impress anyone with anything.

It was a hot night. It was a good movie.

Rodriguez was the soundtrack to my childhood. The melodies have stayed in my subconscious from the records my Dad used to play when he took time off work to look after me when I was little. I remember the smell of bread rising on the windowsill, the dust dancing in the sunlight, the feel of the carpet. One day in high school the car radio played a Midnight Oil song I thought I’d never heard but somehow knew all the words to. I didn’t know the Rodriguez words but I found myself humming all the tunes.

I looked around at the others gathered. A middle-aged couple with glasses of wine and deluxe camping chairs, a young couple with a sleeping baby on a picnic rug. Tent Guy said they were all neighbours. I thought I’d left that sense of community behind in small towns, I was glad to discover it still existed in the city.

During the movie I received a text from a guy I’d been set up on a blind date with, but more on that later…

“So you did make it after all!” said LLL after the film finished. I chatted a little with his friends and neighbours then helped pack up.

Out the front of his house I told him I still wanted to see a movie, but if we were going to rely on letters the movie may stop screening before we actually make a time. Letters are lovely but it’s a rather slow form of communication.

“Nawwww, but they’re fun!” he said, then we exchanged phone numbers.

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