Mike was holding his daughter’s 21st birthday party in a small weatherboard hall, miles from anywhere.
At forty-eight, his sister, Linda, looked vibrant and youthful: smart hairdo, trim white slacks, summery top. She lingered outside in the twilight chatting with her friend Helene, enjoying the fresh country air.
Moments later a young lass in her twenties approached, looking anxious. ‘Have you seen an elderly woman out here?’ she asked.
‘No,’Helene said, ‘There’s only us.’
‘Oh dear,’ she said. ‘Mike is waiting to give his speech. He asked me to find his sister.’
She must have wondered why the two exchanged a glance and roared with laughter, Linda having a sudden picture of herself, decades older, with a walking-stick.