Andreina and I went out for about a year however one particular night stands out more than any others.
It was our six-month anniversary as a couple.
So I organised an evening picnic.
I picked Andreina up in my Morris mini at her parent’s home in Sylvania.
As usual her Dad met me at the door with a scowl.
I was her first boyfriend so I was breaking new ground.
He was a big evil looking Italian man who’s English was limited.
I know he had a problem with the English language because I only ever heard him grunt.
The door opened.
How are you Mister Natoli?
He was actually a Wedding M.C.
M.C. sledge hammer.
I don’t know how he coped.
Glaring at the couple like he wanted to kill them and then grunting, “uggh.”
Andreina’s mother was exactly the opposite.
A sweet Italian woman who went out of her way to make you feel at home.
I picked Andreina up and we headed to Cronulla.
We stopped into a hamburger shop on Cronulla’s main street called Mumma’s.
Mumma was a big lovely Italian Woman who weighed two hundred kilos and had facial hair.
Mumma’s was a Cronulla institution.
Back in the days when Cronulla had a main street, instead of a mall.
The chips were so fatty that you could drink them through a straw.
We bought two burgers with the lot, chips and milkshakes.
My surprise picnic was off to a good start.
We drove to Sandshoes, my favourite surf break, and walked down to the beach.
I unfurled the picnic blanket under a small cave on the beach and began to unpack the food.
We had interrupted a spider beginning to weave its night-time Web.
After I had settled Andreina down I moved the blanket out from the cave and set out the food.
I pulled out six small candles and put them in the top of her hamburger and began to light them.
It was a lovely evening and I was charming her off her feet.
A beautiful summer night, still and overcast and warm.
We were just starting to relax and settling in to eat when Andreina started to scream again.
This time with feeling.
I turned around to see a giant water rat.
And just behind it was another giant rat.
I had been hoping for an embrace that night but Andreina grabbed me, clinging to me like a cartoon cat clings to the ceiling, and she wasn’t letting go.
With a hysterical woman hanging off my neck, I gathered the blanket and its contents and climbed the stairs from the beach.
Ok, things hadn’t quite gone to plan, but the evening was still young.
When I had pried Andreina from my neck and settled her down a little I laid the blanket back out.
We were on a grassy patch that overlooked the entrance to the Port Hacking River and looked across to Jibbon point.
A place the locals know as Treachery.
Once again I started to light the candles and we settled back into our six months dating celebrations.
Then it started to rain.
Not just a little bit either.
We scoffed what food we had left and went back to the car.
I guess the fact that it was a mini just summed the evening up.
For anyone who has ever tried to make-out in a mini they’ll know what I’m talking about.
“Oh… j.just hang on a second while I… while I get my arm around hee… here.”
“Owe, owe, owe my hair’s caught in your sleeve.”
Andreina’s dad had nothing to worry about.
Excerpt from I SPIDER.