If you haven’t read him, you should

dogs at birthday party

Today is my birthday. I’m not thrilled with the idea of another year older but it is what it is. When I think about how old I am, it shocks me.
I’m 49, the age I remember my father being; the age of slippers and responsibility.
Yesterday, in my mind, I was in a pub on Darlinghurst Road, enjoying a cold beer the morning after a night of flashing neon and cheap perfume. I close my eyes, hear the sobs of a woman, lonely and remote, crying for the childhood she never had. I smell the smoke of the barroom, cheap tobacco, mingled with stale alcohol, stinging my eyes as I light my own. The siren in the distance, police, or ambulance, I don’t know, heading in the direction of St. Vincent’s, the hospital of The Cross. Marty slaps me on the shoulder, telling me a story about his night shift at the club, downing his beer before the punch line. He shakes his head when I order another, Marty only ever has two, and I wish I had his discipline. A few more and I’m tired, tired of The Cross, and tired enough to go to bed.
The memory fades and I come back to the present day. My eyes open, and they start to mist a little, not from nostalgia or sentiment, but because I have a life today, so different to what it was then. I’m glad I wrote my book, to put the memories of Darlinghurst Road, in the museum where they belong.
I’m glad I’m 49, old enough and wise enough to appreciate that life is a one-way trip that needs to be enjoyed, every darn moment of it. I know that this has been an indulgent and rambling post, of no importance to anyone but me, but I can bend the rules, today is my birthday.

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