Sarah returns to the room, with her make-up removed, with her eyes wet.
What’s your flatmate’s name, she asks. He just told me, but I didn’t hear properly.
I had an aunt called Gail.
G-a-l-e. It’s Welsh or something. Sorry you had to meet him. He’s not usually up this early.
He seemed okay to me.
Sarah leans against the window, her bare arms crossed.
And what about your name, she says. What’s the deal there?
There’s no deal, replies Cade, drumming his fingers against the wall.
No deal at all?
You need to go to uni today, sort out your exam mark?
Nah. Screw ’em. I’ll talk to someone next week.
Make sure you do.
Cade smiles thinly, and leads her out of his room.
They glimpse Gale’s curly head from above the sofa in the lounge room, baking in the glow of sports replay.
He doesn’t look Welsh, whispers Sarah.
Neither does Anthony Hopkins, says Cade, but there you go.
They make their way to the kitchen—its tall white counter with a soy sauce stain as its centrepiece.
Sorry, says Cade, filling up the kettle, we had a bit of a stir-fry extravaganza on Friday night.
Sarah nods her head and sits down on a stool in front of the bench.
You want some fruit?
Should be a big bag of it next to you.
She looks down. Leaning against her stool is—in fact—a large plastic bag, the sort that usually holds fertiliser, or woodchips.
Gale’s dad’s a grocer, explains Cade. Down at Rocklea.
Sarah reaches into the bag and it’s full of oranges. She pulls out two, with bright waxy skins.
These look good, she says.
Cade throws a bag of Dilmah into one mug, and a heap of instant coffee into another. Sarah reaches over to take a knife from the drying rack and begins cutting the oranges into wedges.
So, she says, her legs tangling together under the stool, do you think we’ve wasted the day yet?
Cade looks at the clock on the stove. It’s only eleven-thirty, he tells her. Give us a few hours.
You know what I usually do on a Sunday, she says, arranging the orange wedges on a plate.
What do you do on a Sunday?
Yep. I get up at eight and I have breakfast and I clean the kitchen and then I study.
I could have put together at least three revision plans by now.
Cade opens the fridge, and sticks his head inside. I don’t even know what a revision plan is, he says, his voice muffled.
Let’s just say it involves a lot of coloured highlighters.
Bugger. Cade hits his hand against the fridge door.
Don’t like highlighters?
No—there’s no fresh milk.
And it took you that long to realise?
Gale and I have a unique system of fridge arrangement. We restock it regularly with exactly the same items. That way there’s no worrying about when things go off.
Cade takes three milk cartons from the fridge, and places them on the bench.
I can offer you three varieties, he says, waving his hands like a game show model. There’s four-day old milk, week-old milk, and something from 1993.
A good year, replies Sarah. Black tea’s fine.
They take their drinks and the oranges outside, to the deck, and sit in Cade’s brown plastic outdoor chairs. Sarah bites into an orange wedge, juice running down the back of her thumb.
We should really have napkins, she says, licking her hand.
Hey, says Cade, there’s none of that around here. You’ve got to learn there’s more to life than fresh milk and clean fingers.
Sarah laughs. She says, I suppose there is.