The girl rang me and said she was in Newtown and could I come to meet her she had a picture she had bought and a heavy book and she was walking down the street. By this time I was cooking some mushrooms and tomato in a fry pan and so I explained that now wasn't a good time but if she got in a cab I would pay for it. I finished frying the eggs and everything and had eaten most of the food when the doorbell rang and I let her into the building. She came upstairs with a big, framed print of a Georgie O'Keeffe cow's skull and a book on Renaissance art. She plonked it all down on the floor and I made her a pot of tea.
We talked about Heironymous Bosch whose art she had found in the book and she said she should draw some of her dreams they were just as astonishing as anything Bosch would have dreamt up.
Later, we went for a walk. I had said I would take her home in the car but she wanted to go to Darling Harbour because someone had told here there were lanterns there for the lunar New Year. She would go home by train, she said, and I capitulated. I put on my shoes to take a walk with her and we headed out, taking the headland route which goes around in front of the casino, and then into Darling Harbour. The crowds were tremendous as we walked down toward the Western Distributor. We turned left and exited the precinct at Bathurst Street, crossing Harbour Street at the lights, then headed up to a small Chinese restaurant set into the buildings on the right hand side.
We sat at a small table for two and a waiter brought a pot of tea for us with the menu. The girl ordered some cut noodles and some dumplings and I waited expectantly to see what was coming as the conversation between her and the staff had all been in Chinese. The big bowl of noodles and vegetables arrived and we doled out the spoils into the little bowls they had provided at the beginning. It was delicious. Then the dumplings arrived, and I had a couple with chilli and vinegar. They were superb. The whole meal only came to just over $21, which I thought was a coup, but she was at least happy to have had some traditional New Year's food at this moment in time. It was important in her culture, she said.
We walked up the street to the train station, where I said goodbye to her, and she went down the steps into the station zone. I turned back and caught a cab and went home. I was feeling a bit fragile because I hadn't planned on eating dinner tonight, as I was on a diet. I sat down at home in the heat as the tweets about the Australian Open and Trump's immigration bans swirled around me, and thought about life. Later, I had a shower and went to bed to read more of Knausgaard's book. I had reached the point where he falls in love with Tonje while he is living in Bergen.