Dear Inner Circle,

Flying is not my favourite pastime but this week at Melbourne airport, I found myself walking behind a young dad with a little boy, perhaps three years old. The little boy said, “Hey, why don’t you carry me to where we are going to meet Mummy?” This loving dad was on a mission but he clearly adored this little boy. “Hey,” he said, “Why don’t you carry Daddy to where we will meet Mummy?” The sense of fun between these two was beautiful. The plane I was waiting for turned out to be the plane that would bring Mummy to these two. While we were waiting, the dad started to lift his son up by the waist so that he was head height with his Dad but upside down and feet high in the air. This is what Dads do. The little boy was squealing with delight and every time he was put back on his feet, he’d yell, “Again!” The travelling public are not usually a fun crowd so these were the only squeals of delight to be heard in Melbourne airport on Monday. The crowd were even less amused when father and son joined hands to spin around to ‘ring-a-ring o' roses’, especially when they came to the ‘we all fall down’ part. My heart soared. I was lifted to heaven and would travel to Melbourne every day of the week to see this again. Eventually, Mummy appeared and dropped to her knees to catch the running hug from her little boy. In due course, Mum arose and gave her husband a hug like they were both in high school and on a first date. The little boy held his Mum’s case patiently waiting for this unnecessary affection to cease so he could get on with the next adventure. As they walked away from us, I could see the mother wiping tears from her eyes.

“I haven’t gambled for two weeks!” said a beaming face as I walked into the building today. I knew by the gait of the walk as well as the smile, that I was finally about to hear some positive news. Of all the addictions available to us, surely gambling is one of the most miserable. I love this dear man and it breaks my heart to see his arms covered in scars from the times he has punished himself for pouring any money he gets into poker machines. An arresting puzzle is that he knows before the activity begins that he’ll lose all he has. The longing to win seems to trump the sum of every experience he’s had with the wretched machines. Anyway, we’re celebrating today, two weeks of enough money for train fares and food. Long may it last. If only I had a magic wand.

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