Raina and I are packing our bags for our weekend away with the boys. I’m throwing in my hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste – all the last minute things that I was using this morning. Farley and Briar are napping with Rompus and Omneri on my bed. They form one small mountain of fur. I zip up the bag and charm it onto the end of my broom with a fixing spell so it makes the journey from Carlton to Coogee.
“They’re here girls!” Mum shouts up the staircase. The boys have arrived with their brooms attached to their bags – their Australian Flying Finals Sports bags. Hark is wearing black and white – the colours for the Vicious Veers and Wolfe is wearing dark green and white – the colours for the Blurred Streaks. They’re both Melbourne based teams on par with eachother in status, and in popularity, and closely on par because of the amount of fens and stroms their players have earned throughout the course of the season which runs from April to March every year. Currently, the Blurred Streaks are sitting on eight hundred stroms and two fens, whilst the Vicious Veers are sitting on seven hundred and eighty eight stroms and nine fens. They are pretty close. The first game we will watch is between the Vicious Veers and Coast Chaos – a team from Sydney. The second and third match will be determined by the team who collects the most stroms and fens in game one.
We arrive at Wolfe’s family’s holiday home in Coogee. It’s a beautiful old-world-charm kind of home with a burgundy lounge suite in the front room. This long L-shaped sofa is covered in an assortment of cushions – most of them have been embroidered, and the needlework is just exquisite. Raina and I leave our bags near the door in the hall and walk into this room and admire the decor. The walls are a striped deep green and beige wallpaper bordered with gold architraves and skirting boards. There is a bay window to our left that has been decorated with a variety of cushions also. It seems a very cosy and appealing place to sit, and so we do. Wolfe asks us if we would like some tea, running names of tea off the tips of his fingers: cranberry, pomegranate, darjeeling, peppermint, rosewater, cinnamon, chai, and green. Raina would like a cinnamon tea and I ask for a cup of peppermint. Hark follows Wolfe into the kitchen which we can see through the adjoining doorway. The benches and cupboard doors are very beautiful; teak wood; the windows above the sink are stained glass.
A tea buffet flies through the doorway and stations itself ceremoniously in front of us. Our cups of tea are accompanied by scones, butter, jam, and cream.
The boys return and sit down on the L-shaped lounge sipping tea as well. Wolfe kicks off his brogues and gets comfy. Raina and I follow suit, getting our teacups to hover in front of us while we undo the laces on our boots and remove them from our feet. We scrunch our legs up against ourselves, turning sideways and leaning our backs against the inside of the bay window; our toes end up touching. Wolfe smiles, takes his wand off the coffee table and draws a square around Raina and I – he wants to capture the moment. Hark smiles at me and I smile back. He says we look like one giant letter M. It could be M for Meridian. I say that it’s an M for marvellous. Raina laughs and accidentally snorts, which sees her laugh some more, and splash her tea about haphazardly.
“Careful sweetie. Those cushions were handmade.” Wolfe tells Raina, spellcasting popping kisses onto her forehead to soften his reprimand.
“I’m sorry. I can be very clumsy sometimes.” She explains. He smiles. He is unoffended.
“Would you like to see your tickets?” Hark asks us, summoning his sportsbag from the hallway. His sportsbag stops at his feet, unzips itself and projectiles four paper tickets into the air for him to catch. They are light grey with indented black calligraphy writing. I hold mine in my hand: all three games are listed, however the names of the teams for games two and three are blank and will remain blank until they are magically printed onto our tickets by the Australian Flying Finals Committee.
We leave the house shortly after that with our brooms and fly to the airway above Darling Harbour where the game between the Vicious Veers and Coast Chaos will unfold in around thirty minutes. It doesn’t take us long to fly there. We arrive, hop off our brooms and transform them into hairties we wear around our wrists so we don’t lose them and so that with the 12000 person crowd, they aren’t stolen. When our realms were connected we used to be able to see Darling Harbour itself, however since they erased the doorway to the wilted realm, the pitch for the match is just one large rectangle grassfield. There are stadium seats on all four sides of the pitch twenty levels high and we pull out our tickets and find our allocated seats. Unlike a normal football field or game arena there are no hoops, or goal nets or posts anywhere. Only grass as far as the eye can see. The MC for the evening introduces himself.
“Attention ladies and gentlemen. My name is Force Daley and I will be your commentator this evening. Before I tell the players to come out, I want to lay down a few ground rules first. There will be Firestix served at this match tonight however please show the drinkboy your ID before purchasing any. No Firestix will be sold to bloomers or rooks who are underage. Secondly please do not send feathers to relatives and friends sitting in other stands. The feathers distract the players, and sometimes our players will assume the feathers are part of the game. Please do not send any feathers to ANYONE during the game. If there is an emergency send out a purple spark with your wand and the emergency party will find you. Thirdly, feel free to purchase chocolate stars and various other food items from the drink boys as they pass. Parents – please confiscate the wands of any child under twelve lest they decide to use them during the game. All Children under twelve: would you kindly please give your wands to your parents now? Thank you. Flysport Fans: Do not under any circumstances intervene in this game by taking any stroms and fens which may be floating near you. These stroms and fens are to be caught and collected by official flyers only. Thank you for listening, and please do enjoy the game. Now… I present the Vicious Veers to you all.” He finishes and the Vicious Veers fly out of a small black doorway in the ground level of the stadium on their brooms and create a lovely choreographed formation for all fans to enjoy. Fans scream and yell and a stadium wide audio-eruption of cacophonic noise and cheering can be heard. Hark is whistling and going crazy. Wolfe is screaming too despite it not being his team.
“Who you going for?” Hark asks me.
“Vicious Veers.” I say, knowing that will make him happy. He grins, and kisses my temple.
“And now I present the team from our neighbourhood – Coast Chaos!” Once again a stadium-wide eruption of noise and cheering explodes across the arena and Raina screams wildly. I give her a funny look.
“What?” She asks.
“Why are you going for them?” I ask, curious.
“Dunno. I had to pick someone. It may as well be Chaos!” She shrugs her shoulder. Neither of us really go for any team. We’ve never really been into sport. Coast Chaos players form a line on their brooms three metres above the grass facing the Vicious Veers.
“Now flyers. On my firework okay?” Force Daley shoots navy blue fireworks from his wand and the match commences; the players fly high up into the air looking for stroms and fens. Each player has been partnered with an opponent. They must beat eachother to the magical coins that pop up in random spaces every now and then.
An hour later Force Daley shoots red fireworks from his wand and the players fly down to the grass and dig in their heels to stop.
“Vicious Veers win!” Force Daley shouts and the stadium erupts in clashing sounds of triumph and defeat, and children make the most raucous noise of all while Hark isn’t far behind them, whistling and screaming at the top of his lungs because his team just beat Coast Chaos by three stroms and seven fens. Hark and Wolfe fist pump eachother, we take the hairties off our wrists and convert them back into our brooms. I place my broom between my legs and with several thousand other flying fans, we zoom off into the night sky back toward Wolfe’s family holidays house in Coogee.
The weekend away with the boys was amazing. Raina and I have kept our innocence; the boys were very respectful while we were in Coogee.