Melbourne

Gertrude Street

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The stores were open, even as the streets lay barren and the sun beat down in debilitating waves, and I walked around and tried not to think of you, and thought of you the whole time, anyway.

A barbershop-in-a-retailer in which everything seemed to be leather and good-smelling. An antiques dealer crackling with preserved insects. This boutique that sold silvery textiles—the design, “screen-printed using leaves from a local tree,” would match the decorative plate on my dining table—would you notice? Find it cute?

Walking in circles around the store: the same shoes, the same laced-up shoes. “Can I help you?” they’d ask, and I would humor them with small talk, but really only half-aware, already half-gone, floating. Dreaming of a day we could hold hands and hunt for housewares together.

Vintage records, crêpe dresses, lacquered mugs. If we shared a home, we would put one of those vases by the window and overflow it with daffodils.

I looked up and saw the clouds, their edges so pristine they looked like cut-outs mounted on the sky. And I wondered if where you were, hundreds of miles away, the clouds were as full, as breathtaking, as pure.

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Savvy shoppers inevitably end up at this hip retail strip near the southern edge of Fitzroy. Gertrude Street offers a gaggle of independent labels; check out Spacecraft, Tarlo & Graham, and Pickings and Parry, among others. A smattering of dining options, from upscale (Cutler & Co) to casual (Sonido), is available, so it’s easy to while away an entire day here. Bustling Brunswick Street and on-the-rise Smith Street, which straddle Gertrude Street, are also worth a gander.

Address
Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

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