I drew a line, it was all yellow
The story so far: Labour Party activist and Wellington housewife Harriet Wakefield, who lives with her daughter, her mother, and her Chinese partner and his daughter, has met an old flame at a literary talk given by Eleanor Catton - and stepped too close to the fire ...
Chris said, "Good morning." Her voice woke me up. I could see her eyes glowing in the dark. We kissed, and she said, "I have to go to work. I'll be back tonight. Love you."
"Love you, too." I went back to sleep. It was nearly midday when I woke up again. I poached fresh eggs and made some coffee, and walked around the property. Chris had rented us a cottage for the week at Matahua Cottages in Mapua, near Nelson. It's a lovely, quiet place in the country. Apple trees shone red with fruit, and the grapes were luscious on the vines. The cottages are beside the Waimea Estuary; the tide was out, and I decided to see whether I could cross to the other side.
I took my cup of coffee and walked barefoot over soft, dark mud. There was a channel but the water was only as high as my ankles. I got to the opposite shore and sat down on a log. A white-faced heron screeched in the pale sky. It was beautiful but all I thought was: what have I done?
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have broken up. She's called it an "uncoupling". My Chris said, "What a stupid word."
I said, "I'm sad they broke up. They seemed so good together. Both thin and frail and wan."
She poured us another wine. We sat on the porch of our cottage. Dusk was falling. I said, "I love it here. But why don't we just stay at your place in the village?"
She said, "It's messy. I wanted something special."
We kissed. She touched my face. The night sky was glistening. "Look at the stars," I sang. "Look how they shine for you."
She said, "Is that a song, or did you just make it up?"
I didn't want to tell her it was Coldplay. She'd only express a harsh opinion.
Hinemoa called after school. She said, "Mum, when are you coming home?"
I said, "Soon, darling."
"Soon. Hey. Did you watch Good Luck Charlie? The final episode!"
"No, the final's next week," she said.
We're big fans of the Disney sitcom on Sky. We know all the words to the theme song. I could hear it playing in my head: "Hang in there, baby ..."
She said, "Mum? There was a bit on Monday's show where Charlie meets a friend and guess what? She has two mums."
"Two mums," she shouted. "Mum? Am I going to have two mums?"
I couldn't get the song out of my head the rest of the afternoon. "Hang in there, baby..."
The estuary reminds me of Raglan. We went there in summer - Chenq Qi and his daughter Yuk King, me and Hinemoa, the modern integrated family, happy in the sun. "You can't have been that happy," Chris said. I changed the subject, and said wasn't it disgusting that Kim Dotcom has a signed copy of Mein Kampf.
Chris poured herself a wine. She said, "Actually, I'm a member."
"Of the Nazi Party?"
"No, the Internet Party." The heron screeched. I poured myself a wine.
I drove the rental car into Mapua this afternoon and mooched around the wharf, eating fish and chips, gazing at the tide. Once again, I was reminded of Raglan. I wanted to phone Cheng Qi, but what was there to say? I walked through the village, and turned into Tahi St beside the inlet. There was Chris' house, and there was Chris' car on the front lawn. But I didn't recognise the woman who I saw with Chris when I snuck around the back of the house and opened the French doors to the bedroom.
"I swam across," I sang. "I jumped across for you."
Diary of a Housewife, the creation of Steve Braunias, features the satirical musings of two contrasting Kiwi women, Aucklander Danyel Southwark and Wellingtonian Harriet Wakefield. firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter @SteveBraunias.
- The Timaru Herald