Courtenay Place, the night of the Sevens rugby final, is a scene of post-apocalyptic debauchery. Hooting groups of drunkards fumble out of taxis and stagger around, their group costumes the worse for wear after three days. Unwilling to sacrifice a parking place in Mount Victoria, Winona and Will have watched the madness through the safety of bus windows – but they have to get out sometime to return to their flat.
“Oooo, look at that,” says Winona, as she steps on the sidewalk. A well-set-up young man wearing a coonskin cap, tall furry boots, and the remains of a fake fur loincloth is sprinting away from two groups of women who are chasing him. “D’you think the sexy nuns or the sexy MAF workers will get him first?”
Will is shaking his head. “It gets crazier every year.”
Winona turns up her collar and nestles closer to Will. It’s raining and windy. They’re sharing the sidewalk with a homeless man wrapped in a blanket and a group of yodeling men wearing dirndls. “Well, New Zealand did win the Sevens. Oh, look, a whole crew dressed up like Tintin! I loved the Tintin books…” And she smiles.
To Will, her smile silences the yodels and shines through the rain. He grips her elbow. “Win. I – d’you want to get married?”
“Married?” She stops.
“I should’ve waited ’till Valentine’s Day, eh?”
“No, no – I mean, yes! Yes, let’s get married, no, you shouldn’t have waited…” They collapse together, laughing giddily.
A cranky woman brushes by them as they reel together. “Tch! Is everyone drunk tonight?”
“Yes!” they both yell, in unison, laughing even more.