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Wellington Men I: The Best Mate

April 12th, 2010 by the_lifer

Will is deeply relieved that Wayne is still his best mate. The big O.E. has broken up mateships of longer duration than theirs, hatched at university. But Wayne is as reliable as ever.

On moving day, he’s the one helping haul a king-sized bed out of a TradeMe seller’s home (“Must Pick Up”) into Will’s new flat. Wayne’s wife Henny hovers, watching over the truck being unloaded, their baby in one arm. The baby is in an adorable AC/DC onesie.

Born in Upper Hutt, now living in a classic Johnsonville starter home, Wayne is smart, savvy, and retains his ponytail and taste for heavy metal. He and Will have developed software, taken off in a ramshackle car to snowboard and fish on the cheap, and gotten food poisoning in Melbourne, all together. Late at night, separated by sleeping bags or bunk beds, they’ve talked about their dysfunctional families. They never said much about these talks the next day. But it was good to know that another bloke was trying to do better than had been done to them.

Stuck behind Wayne on the stairs, Winona has the chance to scrutinize him. She has always been somewhat cool towards Wayne, that inciter of long absences and much beer drinking. Still, she can’t deny that he’s improved with age. He’s taken up bicycle racing due to some team challenge at work, and his new fit trimness has its charm. Winona is also realizing that what came across as stodgy about Wayne at 25 seems together and smart (even manly) on the other side of 30. He still, she notes, never looks at a girl besides Henny.

Once the bed is wedged into the bedroom, Wayne and Will yarn for a while. They ramble through Wayne’s renovations, a new online game, and politics. Then Wayne tells Will what their old acquaintance Wayland has been up to, so that Will knows enough to stay out of it, mate.

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