Sunday early morning, Lara and I are having a coffee in our shops. It is one of the little-door coffee shops, with tables on the walkway, squeezed against the walls to avoid blocking the pedestrian way.
Lara isn’t Lara’s real name, it is the name I gave her once she became my character. That is how I call her in my stories. For years I have been collecting Lara’s tales and working hard to get her stories shaped into a book. This novel is born in English in my head and that is why it is harder.
Lara became my focus because unusual things happen to her, or around her, all the time.
Today for example, we are going to work. She is going to work-work, because she is organising a huge event which is happening in two weeks. I am going with her because on top of keeping her company, I can dedicate my day to “my writings” which means anything from promoting my books, writing-writing, or plan my next steps.
There we are, coffee and toast in hand, and Lara looks to the side, looks back at me, and says quietly:
‘Look, it’s Tony Abbott, he is running!’
Then comes Tony, with a discreet smile pasted on his face because he saw Lara saying his name. She sees that he saw her, and she looks to the side pretending nothing happened. He runs by us, with a couple of friends, the three trotting by with their sweaty t-shirts.
Only in Australia, the former prime-minister runs around without security or any special attention.
There is a famous short-story by Luis Fernando Verissimo, one of the best Brazilian authors, who wrote this tale about a man who wants to play the Tuba within the concert of a string quartet. Verissimo explores the humour and absurd of the stress between the string quartet and the tuba player and ends his story releasing a herd of zebu on stage.
When I’m with Lara, the Tuba guy is the least of my worries, I’m often waiting for the herd!