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A Flower for Vicky

July 21st, 2010 by the_lifer

Winona trails home from work, lingering all the way. The winter evening feels like spring. She browses through a few stores, the sale racks full of rejected clothes for 22nd-century space nuns, and leaves empty-handed. Her walk home takes her through Courtenay Place – not packed with munted rowdies, as it will be on Saturday night, but flowing with cultivated crowds, eager for the film festival’s rarefied offerings. Restaurants and cafes are buzzing. Nobody has chundered on the sidewalk recently. It’s the city that, when she was growing up in Kelburn, everyone grumbled that it could be. The Wellington of her dreams is all around her. Or is it?

She is in the city she longed to return to, well employed. Still, as her nan would say, “The gilt is off the gingerbread.” She returned to Wellington to be closer to her family, but in the meantime, her family seems to have gotten along quite well without her. Hm.

At least she’s found a circle of friends who fit with the rhythm of her child-free, mid-thirties life. Willow has recovered from her recent temptation by her vile ex-boyfriend, and settled into the townhouse she has bought. Wazzer, her bogan bartender flatmate, has been rather too quiet lately. Winona wonders what she’s up to.

Her partner Will, always quiescent, seems happy enough, and has let his London brittleness slough away. He’s seen a bit of his best mate Wayne these past few weeks – Wayne’s baby isn’t keeping him away. Winona wonders if it’s horribly selfish of her to bring up children again. Thirty-three doesn’t last forever. She decides that she’ll see how well they get through the ski weekend, put together by Will’s jewel-like workmate, Ulrika.

Her walk has brought her by the blowsy statue of Queen Victoria on Kent Terrace. Winona looks up at her with Commonwealth affection. For all her empire, and not believing in lesbians, old Vicky did have family and partners cracked, Winona thinks. On the spur of the moment, she crosses the street. Unpinning the felt flower brooch from her coat, she hops a low balustrade and places it at the bottom of the statue’s plinth.

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