Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Fourteen) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris
Paradoxically, it took a few years working with other wildly competitive people for me to learn to think of success as a team sport. To instill and reinforce expeditionary behaviour—essentially, the ability to work in a team productively and cheerfully in tough conditions—astronauts do survival training, on water and on land (p. 104 An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth).
- Chris Hadfield
Rita stares out the rear passenger seat of the Martin’s Tesla as the couple drive her and Zsofia to the University of Sydney. When Rita awoke in the morning Taz was sitting at her bed breathing onto her chest. She had pulled her sheet lower and noticed tattoos of two, coiled rainbow snakes, one over each of her breasts. Shaking she had slid the sheet even lower. Just above her belly button and below her lower ribs were two running dingos. “Just until you leave Australia,” she had heard Dilga say into her thoughts. She worried about what Aurora and Oliver would think. It was unavoidable they would notice because she had to either wear a bikini or halter top in the blistering weather. Only when she knocked on Iluka’s door to get Sophia did she get a gasp come from Iluka. Zsofia must have thought it strange when Iluka ran her index finger over Rita’s chest and just above her bellybutton. But Zsofia had seen many strange things as Rita’s best friend and made no mention whether she noticed the new tattoos.
“Just inside the court of the university you’ll see a girl wearing a University of Sydney crest,” Aurora tells them as a gothic sandstone building appears up ahead.
“She’ll have frizzy hair and blue eyes and her name is Merindah,” Oliver adds.
As the Tesla stops in front of the ancient front entrance to the university Rita gets out first. She waits for Zsofia before walking under the arch with the lion fresco to the left and horse to the right. At the very top of the lintel lies a creature that appears to have a lion’s body but the coiled tail and face of a monkey.
“Interesting frescoes,” she hears Zsofia say as they walk past the arched doorway into the courtyard.
Just as they step into the courtyard Rita sees a girl with dark brown wavy hair that falls over her shoulders. Her eyebrows are black and thick and she has amazing blue eyes that shine beyond the dark tan of her face. Rita notices the crest with the lion and four, eight pointed stars stitched onto the left side of the girl’s purple halter top.
“Rita and Zsofia?” the girl asks when she sees them. Her eyes linger on the rainbow snake tattoos on Rita’s chest. “I’m Merindah,” she continues absent mindedly.
Rita instantly recognizes that Merindah is a mix of indigenous and Cook’s—as Dilga would say–parenthood. “Pleasure to meet you,” she and Zsofia say at the same time.
“I’ll take you the Sustainable Management classroom and get you settled,” Merindah tells them. “We only have six weeks to prepare a presentation for the replacement of coal for substitute and environmentally friendly renewable energy.”
“And what to do about plastics,” Rita adds.
Blue Mountain Jenolan Caves background pic by Peter Samuel with Rita Walker body makeup by @amasonart Alannah Mason, model Taylor Norris, picture of model by Dan Watt