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Valverde Maclean

Life and love can take us to unexpected places

  The Blue Door


The house was not as I expected.

Peter had told me how his home was set in a garden full of grevilleas, callistemons and other natives, and he had mentioned the timber steps leading up to the blue front door.  He had spoken of airy rooms with views overlooking Pittwater, and the shimmer of the late afternoon sun on the calm waters.  However stepping out of the car there was no view of water and the front door of which he had spoken was shut.  The house looked empty.  Dead leaves lay scattered across the pathway which appeared as if it had been neglected for weeks.  The leaves could have been untouched from the time he had left me in Melbourne to return to his home.  It was possible the leaves had been there even longer.  Perhaps even from the time he had flown down to me—before our troubles had started—and now the taxi that had brought me from the train station had driven away.

The thoughts that had been with me on my flight from Melbourne to Sydney returned.  What was I doing here?  Worse, at the front door there was a posy of bright red roses and a note.  The flowers were fresh.  Obviously he was not here or they would not be sitting at the door.  Did that mean he was expected soon?  Who were the flowers from?  Was there a woman in his life?

The airstrip was a cleared strip of graded red dirt.  The terminal, if it could be called that, was a flimsy construction of wood covered with green shade cloth.  Under its shelter stood a table with two attached benches plus a large oil drum with a hole in the top that served as a rubbish bin.  A sign board proudly proclaimed ‘Mitchell Plateau—Arrivals and Departures Lounge’.  Light aircraft were busy shuttling in sightseeing tourists from Broome and Derby, all heading for the Mitchell Falls.  A few were boarding a helicopter for a quick comfortable flight over the falls, others were getting into four-wheel drive wagons for the half hour transit to the Falls.

I had thought I was beginning to understand Peter, but there was a lot more that I was going to have to learn.