There are places that make your heart beat faster and your lips curl into a smile. It’s as though the joy and the memories are trying to take over and for that moment, you’re back to who and what you once were. Sussex Inlet is one of those places for me. There was an old house there called Hollow Log that sat empty most of the year, but as a child, my family spent time in that hollow log whenever we could.
I remember ambling down the road to the river, book in hand, and settling somewhere in the sunshine to watch the puffer fish in the water as they did their dance of resisting both tide and capture. I remember the mangroves where I tripped into the mud a myriad of moments. I remember the caravan park cafe where I’d sit with my parents and drink strawberry milkshakes while boats whirled past us and pelicans stretched out on pillars.
I love that town and all the memories that are held within it, but I hadn’t gone there for years until yesterday. Yesterday I tumbled out of bed much too early for the first day of holidays and hastily got dressed while someone waited for me outside. That someone was James*.
We escaped the stormy skies of Sydney and I consumed three cups of coffee in about three hours. We made our way to the Hollow Log and found that the old green house was grey and gated but still the house that I knew so well. We drove to the river and watched the rain and had lunch in the cafe to watch the pelican play on the pillar.
The rain let up and I stood by that river that so many of my good memories centre around. I watched ducks swim and a lone boat meander by and turned to look at James, to talk about whether or not the pelican and ducks would ever be friends or if they’re enemies. I didn’t get the words out – but I do still wonder.
“Stand right there.” he requested, with his hands rested on my shoulders. I raised an eyebrow and shook my head, stumbling back a step.
“Tamara…” he groaned with frustration. I stood right there and watched as he kneeled down and smiled that bright smile he’s got. “Tamara Corine Taylor, will you marry me?” he asked.
I laughed. Yes, yes, I laughed. And I nodded. “Yes. Hell yes.” I replied and pulled him up so we could hug. We hugged for a long time because I wasn’t quite sure what to say or do or think or if it was time for a selfie (seriously, Tamara?) or if I should be weeping or something. I just hugged him for the longest time.
The rain started again and we escaped to the warmth of the car for a bit before exploring those mangroves I love so much with the guy I love so much. We get to love and serve each other while we love and serve Jesus and I’m so very keen to do that with him and that river that crafted so many childhood memories is the home of another brilliant memory that’ll make my heart beat faster and my lips curl into smile for the rest of my life.
And now, maybe someone will buy me that Kitchenaid…**