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.
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.
Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne