Bowral and a blind date

I don’t know why I let myself be talked into internet dating. Here I was on a Saturday morning driving up the highway toward Bowral to meet a girl that I had only swapped a few online messages with. The sun was warm through the car windows on this early autumn day. I was for from feeling relaxed but the beautiful scenery had a calming effect. I let my wander to my early memories of visiting Bowral in my first year out of high school. I was with Rose then and life seemed so much simpler.

Bowral is a fashionable town on the Southern Highlands, surrounded by grazing farms and stud cattle properties. The town had grown up on land granted to the Surveyor General, John Oxley, in 1825, but it was the coming of the railway in 1867 that really kicked Bowral growth along. Because of its mild climate and varied scenery it became a favourite holiday destination for the gentry of Sydney. To outsiders, Bowral is most famous as being the home of Sir Donald Bradman, Australia’s greatest ever cricketer.

I find somewhere to park in the main street and nervously check my phone for messages. Nothing. I hope she is still coming but there is part of me that wishes she wasn’t. I make my to the Bowral Cafe and Pattisserie – handmade chocolate, gelato and pattisserie the signs says – and find a table toward the back. I’m a little early but I hold off ordering until she gets here. The clock on the wall ticks and customers come in and out.

A poster on the wall advertises the Bowral Tulip Festival in September. I remember going to it a few years ago. The flowers were pretty and crowds had gathered to celebrate the arrival of springtime.

I looked up and a slender young woman with blonde hair had entered the shop. It was her. She looked around until she caught sight of me sitting at the back and smiled. I stood and awkwardly offered my hand when she leant forward and kissed me on the cheek. We ordered coffees and then tried to make conversation. I’m not very good in these sort of situations but she was friendly and I began to relax a little.

We finished our coffees and Julie suggests we wander the shops. That sounded like a better option than sitting uncomfortably so I slipped on my coat and slung my bag over my shoulder. Her hand slipped into mine as we crossed the road and entered the bookshop. Now I was in my element, but we seemed to have widely different tastes in books. I look young adult and fantasy and she wanted to look at crime novels.

We wandered in and out of other shops – Country Accept, Mic Mac Boutique, Barbara’s Storehouse. Our fashion tastes were as different as our book choices.

Next stop was a stroll around the Bradman Oval. What a gorgeous place this is! White picket fence surrounding the cricket ground, pavilion and shady trees. There was no cricket on today so all was quiet.

Eventually we arrive back at my car. Julie thanks me for the morning and says she will message. She presses her lips against mine and my heart rate flips. We both know she isn’t going to message. I could tell from her kiss.

I follow the railway line out of town and lose myself in the verdant paddocks of the Southern Highlands. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I suppose.

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Bohemian love

peace starts with just one person

around the world
divisions widen conflicts
harder hearts deepen
closed minds weep
for the past
cannot be undone
while human nature
remains unchanged
injustice, repression, exploitation
in precarious balance
peace starts with just one person

Molly #41

As the week went on we played soldiers, and space men, and outback explorers, and one day we were even washed up on a deserted island! There were pirate ships, and monsters, and space aliens, and time travel, and giant bugs, and wading through swamps, and spying on the enemy, and we did so much running that I kept getting puffed all the time, but Shawn was always right there beside me. “C’mon Blue,” he would say, “You can do it.”

We never had time to just sit and talk, other than spending a few minutes each morning when we would read some of my book together. Because Shawn was such a bad reader, I started reading out loud to him and sometimes we would get through a whole chapter before we went off to play in the sand dunes.

We began to read ‘Storm Boy’, a story about a boy who lived with his father in the sand dunes of South Australia’s Coorong, and it was Shawn’s idea that we collect driftwood and build ourselves a humpy just like the one Storm Boy lived in.

“I’ll be Storm Boy,” said Shawn, “And you can help me save Mr Percival.” We wandered all over the sand dunes looking for a lost pelican to save, but the week came to an end before we found him.

I was sad when I had to tell Shawn that I was going to be heading home tomorrow and I didn’t know when I would be back again.

“No worries, Blue,” he said. “It’s just like when Storm Boy had to go off to school. We can play again next holidays.”

He bent his head down to reach under my hat and quickly placed a little kiss on my cheek before racing away over the sand dunes. I stood there and watched him until he disappeared. I didn’t know if I was sad or happy but I could still feel his rough lips against my cheek.

life is crazy slow

life is crazy slow
it tastes like hot breath
beneath my waistband
restless all night
it doesn’t make a difference
staring at the ceiling
when I’m in someone else’s bed
someone else’s life

Molly #40

The next day I looked for Shawn when I got to the beach, but there was no sign of him again. I went back to my usual game of fixing my sand castle and then my drawing and had just sat down to start reading my book when I heard a loud “psssst” from behind me. I turned around and there was Shawn grinning at me from behind a tree. He came and sat down beside me with a thump, and just like the day before we read a page of my book together before he got bored and wanted to play a game.

“Today we’re soldiers,” Shawn said. “I am the Captain and you are Private Blue.”

“My name isn’t Blue,” I said, “It’s Molly.”

“I like Blue,” he replied, “So that’s you’re codename, okay? It’s because you’ve got red hair.”

I was a bit confused about what he meant, but before I could say anything he started laying out his plans.

“Okay Private Blue, we need to attack the enemy in that castle over there. We have to sneak up on them, and then throw these bombs at their castle.” He pointed to a little pile of gumnuts and banksia men on the ground.

“Stay low, and follow me,” he said. He filled his hands with banksia men and began crawling across the sand on his stomach. It felt a bit silly but I didn’t want to upset him so I did the same thing. As we got closer, he yelled “NOW!” and started hurling the banksia men at the tree. I threw mine but it didn’t go the whole distance. Shawn then grabbed my hand and dragged me behind another tree.

“Look out, they’re firing back,” he said, then made some noises like bullets flying through the air. We played like that again all morning until Catherine came looking for me to head home.

“See ya, Blue,” said Shawn. “You’re a lot of fun to play with, for a girl.”

“’Bye Shawn,” I said shyly and then ran down the sand dune to find Catherine.

i believe every feeling

i believe every feeling
torturing myself
take a pill
cheer up
be energetic
i hate when people say that
i’m not gay, when clearly
they don’t know who I’ve fucked
i just cover myself with ― nothing
that reminds me of my body
because I just feel stupid
and the lies stack on top of each other
in moments of panic
like when she kissed me on the lips

at night my muse awakes

at night my muse awakes
sighing and whispering in my ear
I tell her I want to read
but she urges me
With her fingers
you can read later, her words
silky on her tongue, insistent
every night she woos me
until I am won like a maiden
my pen scribbling across the page
while her hands stroke my hair
I lose track of the words
lose track of time
writing with mounting fury
when her lips find my collarbone
our spirits move together
through the silent hours
until my muse is sated
I put down my pen
and crawl back to bed

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