The queue for visas at the border was not orderly. Just a desperate mob of refugees, clawing at the razor wire-topped fencing, pleading with armed guards to be let through the padlocked gates. The smuggler had warned the group this would be the case and showed them the alternative on his map.
The sky-blue swell pounded the breakwater at Borthel on Sea in a steady rhythm. John gazed out at the mountains across the broad bay and drew a deep calming breath. The anxiety that had built up and wracked him in recent months and on his spontaneous long drive from the city eased its intensity.
Growing up in the 1970s in Perth, WA, I once had a primary school teacher who was a lay preacher on the weekends. He started class every day (at our supposedly secular state school) with the Lord's Prayer and gospel readings. And his favourite scripture topic was Signs of the Second Coming.
Three minutes into the performance, and I stifled a yawn. Crammed in the front row with a clutch of fellow bored hacks, I hoped no one had noticed. However, the acclaimed actor and playwright and recently appointed head of NATS, Barry Lazarus, turned and fixed a beady eye on me from centre stage.
We hit the road at sunrise. Anna complained about packing the bikes in the pre-dawn dark. But we had to make up for the kilometres we'd lost yesterday to punctures and her mishap. Our reward was a crimson landscape when the sun crested the horizon. I rode ahead, and Anna fell behind, as usual.
"Happy anniversary, Darl." My blank look doesn't wipe the smile from his face. "It's our double anniversary, remember?" he prompts, presenting me with a single red rose. "Nine months since the party and six months since you moved in." My nan taught me to tell the truth. "Of course I remember," I lie.