that summer of 2002
on the eve of the new year
I was in Tasmania
sipping red wine with a priest
and my father
in a caravan park
his name (the priest’s not my father’s)
was Felix, or Sebastian,
something like Father Felix Sebastian,
visiting from India, on a world tour.
he said ‘the young people here are very mature’
he said this looking at my wine glass.
‘yes, I suppose it’s exposure to a thing
that matures one,’ I said, looking at his wine glass.
we downed our blood. the priest enquired
how many glasses I would tolerate
before I lost my mind. father assured him
that I was a rather mature young man.
soon after, the priest and my father retired
to separate cabins. it was new year’s eve
so I scuffed around
for something to do.
I switched on the TV,
ate many bars of Tasmanian fudge,
watched Monty Python’s
The Meaning of Life
as the clock ticked over to 2003
in a cabin between the priest’s and my father’s –
father snoring on one side,
the priest, perhaps, turning pages on the other.
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