"Valuable sushi-body time rushes past."

"Valuable sushi-body time rushes past." Photo: Georgia Willis

I haven't eaten sushi off a naked woman's body, since, was it Gordon Elliot's 50th birthday? I forget, maybe. I know it wasn't Richard Wilkins's.

Anyway, the beautiful, hard-working and mysterious Natalie promised to arrive outside my place, with top quality sushi and sashimi at precisely 7.30pm on Wednesday. We would repair to my apartment, light the candles, she would lay the food along her body like a plate, and I would use chopsticks.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. At exactly 7.35pm, while walking home fashionably, selfishly, late, I realised that my only set of keys to my apartment were in my apartment. This left Natalie standing in William Street, in her pretty German Oktoberfest outfit, with three white plastic bags hanging from her hands like Christmas puddings. (See more on cwaterstreet.wordpress.com). I speed-dialled Call Connect for a locksmith with whom, unfortunately, I am on first-name basis. I know Adam because I lose my keys as often as my mind.

Natalie only had the narrowest window of time, so we ate the food - some spider crab sushi, with soy sauce from small plastic fishes - on the park bench next to my building, chatting about minor events of the day. We waited for Adam. We left the sashimi in the vain hope that God, in his infinite mercy, would allow us to succeed in our mission. Buses crawled past like loud caterpillars.

Adam arrived - with an Omar Sharif grin and toolkit - on a magic carpet in 15 minutes flat. A record in the two years he's been coming to my rescue. (Each time I swear to myself that I will get a copy of the key and card, and leave them at the Lebanese 24/7 convenience store opposite my building, but I forget the moment I get into the flat. Out of sight, out of my mind.)

Entry to the building begins with a security card, which is attached to the keys in my apartment. We wait by the door for someone to exit, or someone to come, and start randomly pressing buttons on the security box, hoping a resident might rouse to let us into the lobby. Valuable sushi-body time rushes past. The window was shutting quickly, my fingers barely wedging them apart.

Hallelujah! A visitor leaves and we are in the psychedelic wallpapered lobby, but the lift also requires a security card to get to the ninth floor, where unlit candles, unmade bed, and idle keys lay waiting. A chance encounter with another resident gets us into the first floor, and then it's eight long floors of concrete stairs to climb before we arrive at the ninth-floor security door. It is shut. Natalie sighs. She is losing heart and has already lost breath.

Adam has a long piece of wire with a little loop. He unscrews the lock cover and gently inserts the wire and wiggles it like a corkscrew until it unlocks. We are in the red carpet corridor on my floor. I rush to my door, which has miraculously been left open by the idiot who left his keys there on the cluttered table that morning. Natalie and I rush in, flicking lights on that don't respond because the halogen lamps have burnt out. Foxtel is cut off and I have lost the remote for the CD player.

Adam has fixed the stairwell lock and waits in my doorway for payment. He tells me of his grandfather who, by family legend, was virile into his 80s. When mocked by relatives, he grabbed a nearby Syrian woman much younger, and married to a relative and she kissed him passionately and with purpose in front of the family. Natalie overheard snatches of his story. I cannot say that it turned her on.

There was one piece of spider crab left and the sashimi. I finally got Leonard Cohen to work without the remote, two candles flickered like distant flares across a battlefield. All our entrances to meet lately have been awkward, wrong building, misunderstood time, chronic lateness by myself, but our exits smooth, the sailing in between assisted by the occasional gusting winds. On my way down William Street to meet her earlier that night, I glanced up to notice a gigantic full moon hovering over the horizon. I sensed the coming disaster. I took a photograph on my iPhone of the melancholy moon. I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory yet again.

This year has been a pleasure to share with any reader interested in what I see from my observational tower - in my imagination and beyond. Cases were won, good and bad deeds done. Love came all too easily, and left me uneasy. Life has been generous in its inflictions of pleasures and pains. We are alive, except for the loss of loved ones who changed vessels. Goodbye Mark and David. May the universe continue to tease us with its never-ending puzzle and I wish all a tremendous end of term and a sparkling new year at the new school.