I never bought a washing machine as I said I would. As soon as I thought I would I knew I wouldn’t. I got as far as the online checkout and backed away, hands in the air: oh no, no, no.
I’m especially grateful for this decision now that it’s time to pack up again. A few months ago, after months and months of head chatter, I booked my ticket, emailed Barry Plant, said: I’m outta here. Everything in my life slowed down, then, and I knew my decision wasn’t part of a larger plan I’d consciously made for myself; it wasn’t me mapping out how I think my life should look. It was a decision that, in the end, I let me heart make. The heart trumps the head every time. Every goddamn time.
Sometimes you arrive at a realisation at the exact moment you’re meant to. Your perspective shifts as suddenly as if you’ve crossed a room and then turned around to see everything differently. Like Sunday’s post: when I got to its end I knew without a doubt that I felt nothing for that person, probably never had. I laughed out loud, literally, and a smile spread across my face: I had finally let go of the part of me that believed I deserve so little.
And so India called, asked me to come; I said, see you soon. Said, can’t wait.
A text message with my address was sent and before not long he was at my Brunswick door, mid-afternoon on a Thursday in February. At my door. I went to answer it, excited, scared, with shaking hands. It had been three years since I’d slept with him, and in the three years that had passed, I’d seen him just twice: one time we’d spoken awkwardly at a cafe, the other he hadn’t recognised me. And the times we had slept together, back when I was a younger, smoother version, had only been a few – mostly at the end of drunken nights already had, not together but with other people. The last of these times I’d gone to his apartment, for the first time, after a warehouse party somewhere in the western suburbs and when the taxi dropped me off I was disorientated. I was only in a Clifton Hill apartment complex, but still, I felt lost. When I got inside I walked into the bathroom door and hit my head, injuring something in my forehead that took months to heal. But the bang on the head hasn’t stopped me remembering things: like me getting offended after he didn’t want to have sex a second time and then making a failed, drunken attempt to leave; like him stressing the fact that his parents were coming for breakfast so I would have to leave early; like me, in the morning, putting on my much-loved black lace-up boots I’d bought in Argentina and seeing him in his pyjamas and thinking: I should not have come, dammit, I should not have come here; like me running down the stairs and looking back up at him in the doorway, and him saying something like ‘I’ll see you tonight’.
g notes has been a lot about dating lately. Next blog will be something nothing to do with dating or men. Promise.
A couple of months ago this guy came to my place with his lovely, lovely dog. I’d met him and the dog at the pub a few weeks earlier and then we’d started chatting on, yes, Tinder, so he came around for a cup of tea. I would say I invited him around for a cup of tea but that isn’t exactly what happened. What happened was, his incessant phone-calling and attempts to ‘catch up’ became so tiresome I was all like yeah whatever come over. I was snotty and chest-coughy at the time (didn’t bother him, apparently) and could think of helluva lot of other things I’d rather do: like get into bed and solo snuggle my flannelettes.
But there he was at the door, on a rainy, overcast winter weekday afternoon, a towering rugged-looking man with a dog at his heel. I welcomed them inside, made a fair amount of fuss about the dog, made the guy a cup of tea, and then I sat myself down on the spearmint-green recliner (usually offered to guests) and he sat on the couch in front of me. I pulled the foot rest out; he sat back and started talking. And, man, I could’ve gone to sleep. It’s very rare that I get bored when chatting with someone, I can fish around the most inactive of ponds and eventually find something, but not on this day, not with this guy.
A man once farted while I was giving him oral sex. I paused mid-movement, both startled and confused: what was I to do? Pretend it hadn’t happened? Withdraw his penis from my mouth and then express outwardly the guffawing that was of my mind? Make some kind of acknowledgement but then continue, stoically, unperturbed?* Thankfully these questions were answered for me: he grabbed my upper arm and within the moment I was laid on my back next to him, the noon sun streaming through his shuttered north-facing bedroom window and onto our faces, the sound of the fart reverberating around us.
A week earlier he’d given me his crumpled, single-print-run business card at a restaurant where he was working and I was eating with a friend. Two nights after that we went on a date to Neighbourhood Wine on Nicholson Street; we kissed later while sitting at the bar of the Empress and then again out front under the eaves, out of the rain. He’d pulled me in close, and it was one of those kisses, the kind where every part of your body, inside and out, hums. We went back to his house and I slept in my dress, in the crook of his arm. Early morning, after I’d left, he texted: ‘Thanks for a great night. God that sounds tacky. Amazing to meet you…’ I saved his number in my phone, something I never do, and when I saw his name flash on my phone, rather than a series of numbers, it felt nice. That Friday we drank coffee on Smith Street and then beers in the sun at the Union. The next night I met him at a party where I’d drunkenly mistaken his colleague’s advances for friendship and given him my number. Then on the Sunday, bathed in the shuttered noon sun, he did the fart. And, with the exception of the Monday that followed, I have not seen him on any day since.
‘Have you ever noticed how you always say, “But it doesn’t matter” and “I’m fine”? You say “I’m fine. It doesn’t matter” at the end of everything you say,’ she said.
‘I am fine and these things don’t matter,’ I said.
‘Then why are you here?’
‘Because I want the feeling in my sternum to go away.’
‘Then these things matter.’
Had that conversation seven years ago. Everything matters, always.
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.
And so I must bide my time until the queen bee in my unrelenting mind gives some slack, says, ‘That’s enough now. That’s enough avoidance.’