It began as a simple writing exercise, in September 2008. I was at the Brisbane Writers Festival. Yann Martel stood at the front of the class and said…
“I remember when…”. Our job was to finish his sentence. To write our hearts out with whatever sprung forth from the depths of our mind. In a flash, out of the blue, there you were, waiting in limbo, on a wet afternoon after school.
I trudge down the road, my stockings and shoes soaked through to my skin, my hair long and blonde and matted from rain. I see you as I turn the corner, sitting across from Martin thingamy's house. He was well known in those days. The first kid in the street to get a colour T.V. I would sneak down to the corner at night just to spy through the slats of his blinds into his colour bound world.
This particular day, you sit next to some guy, shorter than you. He is ugly beside you –a small gargoyle protecting his master from evil. He doesn’t say much as I pass but then neither do you. We glance at each other, mumble hello. Pretend we don’t know what’s going on. I want to stop but don’t know what to say so instead, I keep walking, wishing away the immensity of my fear. My heart aches for another day til I see you again.
We officially meet at a party. You are going out with someone at that stage and I wish for what seems a lifetime that I could be her. Sometime around Christmas we hook up. You and her are feuding. You search elsewhere for comfort. It comes in the form of me. I hop in your little blue car and we drive through the Christmassy streets of Sylvania. It’s late and my parents have no idea where I am. I sit in the dark beside you, snatch glimpses of your profile as you drive. The street lights flicker across your beautiful face and I feel like a princess on her way to the ball. We pull up at your house and go in. You have no idea where your parents are – away…somewhere, you think, and we end up in your room, of course, and are guided by a light that filters in from another place. Robert Palmer sings to us all of the night. You peel off your shirt. Simply irresistible.
I lie beside you in the dark and I touch you, for hours, all over. We talk of all kinds of things – none of which now I can recall. There are records strewn over the floor and the light of the stereo guides my hands across your well-defined curves – into spaces I wish to inhabit. In the dim light I raise myself up, lean on one elbow and look through the night, into your eyes. Shallow seas of green that drown me again and again. I study the cleft of your chin, the curve of your lip that rolls back like a lazy wave when you smile. You move, shrug me off, get up and change the music, and then you come and sit back beside me and smile. Your teeth are perfectly even and white, and we smoke a joint and you lay back down, eyes closed and grinning while I keep on exploring. We sing along to the words of Matt Moffit, as he leaves a key inside and no matter how hard I reach for you – he’s right. There’s no one home tonight – but I come in anyway. I lock myself in, and become comfortably lost.