the bike rider

About a year ago I met a guy while waiting for a taxi in Collingwood. He was on a bike and pulled over to ask me for directions. We chatted for a bit, I gave him a hand warm-up, we shared the Crownie he had in his backpack, and then I walked him home. It was late, I’d been drinking. I awoke the next morning to find myself lying under a Jack Daniels doona cover and, I’ll be honest, I’d felt better. I sat up and rubbed my face. ‘Where are you going?’ he asked. ‘To the bathroom,’ I said. ‘I thought you might be leaving,’ he said. ‘Not yet,’ I said. In the sun-filled bathroom I washed my face with pineapple-scented hand wash and then went back to his bedroom, glancing around his sparse rental on the way. I said I was going to leave and he asked me for my number. I told him I wasn’t sure. ‘So that’s it then?’ he said. ‘It’s going to be a one-night thing?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I think so.’ And then I gave him my number and left. I bought a Frosty Fruit icy-pole on the way home and ate it propped up in bed. I wondered a bit about what I’d done, why I’d done it. That night he texted me, saying something nice. And again a few days later. I replied and said I’d met someone else, couldn’t see him again, all the best, nice to have have met you. He thanked me for letting him know. But he texted me again at new years to see how I was (Hey stranger!), and then again a few months after that (Long time no speak!). And then he texted me again yesterday, almost a year after we met, saying, ‘Gabby! How have you been?’ And I felt embarrassed for him and me, not because I knew I wasn’t going to write back, again, but because I’ve been that person. The person who just can’t accept that there’s nothing there, and there won’t ever be.

it still matters, it will always matter

Dating. Still doing it. Getting better at it. In some ways getting worse. Invited some guy from Tinder to my house the other night. Peered through the peep hole: a twirly mustachioed man stood on the other side. Mulled wine on the stove top. Purple inner lips. Face lips. Lilac cardigan. Nice to meet you, I said. Do you usually invite strangers to your house? he said. Yes, I thought. No, I said. I said it didn’t matter. Didn’t matter? he said. No, it doesn’t matter. You’re not allowed to matter. All my matter’s mattered out. Met a guy who lived in a shed. Met a guy who lived above a yoga studio. Met a guy who lived in a six-person share house. Met a guy with a dog. Met a guy who makes coffee: our fingers touched, felt the energy spread up my arm. What’s his name? Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter anymore. In and out: goodbye kisses in the doorway, cold hugs in the driveway. Talking, whispering, storytelling, listening, not listening, laughing, touching, sexing, saying I don’t think we should do this anymore. Breakfast? Toast. Vegemite? Not too much. Strangers. Strangers standing in my kitchen, sitting in my living room, sleeping in my bed. It only matters if it matters, he said. Does it matter? Yes, I think it matters, I said. Of course it matters. It will always matter. I’m not mattered out, I’m made of matter.

falling backwards: 2011 journal

Sentences found in my 2011 journal. Back then I was trying to use fiction to arrive at some kind of ‘truth’. Obviously I never arrived. Silly.

‘The pockets of time and light that are too transitory to be put into words or even catch the eye…’ – source unknown

If I had the chance to re-write my real-life narrative…

I’d stopped listening and started transcribing what she said onto the backboard in my head. I wrote, in capital letters, ‘We will have extraordinary lives.’ Our palms met and our fingers entwined and our arms widened above us like a setting sun. ‘I feel like I’m going to be young forever,’ she said. The irony caught in my throat. I knew she knew I was suffering. I was already starting to feel old. I wiped the tears from my stone face and walked out of the room. I was relying on there to be a next time, in the lazy assumption that she would always be there – for when, if ever, I decided to introduce her to the characters keeping company in my head. There wasn’t enough room inside me. I fell to the ground as though everything in the world was crashing and I was just falling with it. The desired perception is that we never hurt. But Depression met its match in Grief. It was barbaric, violent and sickening. I will never walk shadowless again.

If I had the chance to re-write my real-life narrative…

June 2011: a journal entry

The other day I had a run-in with a babe skateboarder on Church Street. He did a trick. He fell over. He admitted he was trying to show off. He asked me if I’d been impressed. I said not really, and kept walking. He called out,

I like your pants.

The other morning, on my way to the station, I witnessed a couple having a fight. He was dropping her off at her office and he turned away form her without saying or doing anything. In a pitiful voice, the woman said, ‘At least give me a kiss goodbye – what will people think?’ So he did,

and my blood ran cold.

As an aside note, I just started writing in a brand new Moleskine journal. It feels almost criminal vandalising these beautiful pages with such mindless dribble.