We have drinks at E55 on Elizabeth street for our first date, I might look back at that as portentous one day. Well everything about a first date becomes significant if the first date itself becomes a 'first' date, retroactively. I didn't put much thought into the location, maybe this is a bad sign. Truth is it's a thoughtless choice, just easy. E55 is in the city, central, unpretentious, music is low volume, it's always open, not particularly popular, crowded hipsters nor bogans, easy to get a couch, and easy to bail on if any of the above proves wrong. But still, I'm not putting much thought in. The date is Thursday, June 20th 2013.
I don't remember meeting you, but we have before tonight, guess about a month earlier. And yeah you know I have forgotten and you are too shy or embarrassed or insulted or awkward or whatever to tell me. It was after a poetry gig, a big one, where I'd performed. One Night Stanza with Anis Mojgani. Like hundreds of people there, all mainly to see him. When we met in the lobby after the show, you said (apparently, because I don't remember this...) that I was so funny that you nearly pissed your pants. Exclamation mark. And apparently you meant that literally. And (again, apparently) I said oh that's nice and thanks for listening and more or less just walked off.
Later I will explain to you that I never remember talking to people after performing at poetry gigs. I'm in a blur. I don't pay attention to people or what they say to me. Especially I don't pay attention to girls who talk to me after I perform and especially-especially I don't pay attention to -pretty- girls who talk to me after I perform. Pretty girls who talk to you at a poetry gig are only interested in one thing- talking. And I've learned that fucking lesson over and over. And yeah, no wonder I forgot I mean look, you are a pretty girl.
You're not drunk now, on the couch facing mine at E55, but that took a lot of convincing from me. This afternoon you finished work early, were nervous about meeting up finally and you wanted to get really smashed before having to deal with this live situation. You kept kept insisting over messages that you wanted to be drunk before hand. We've been exchanging messages constantly for weeks now, after getting acquainted online through that poetry event's Facebook page, of course I was going to ask you out eventually. Neither of us have used the word date.
The last few hours I'm nervous too, figuring you'll cancel with a lame excuse, and this whole I-need-to-get-drunk thing I was reading seems to be heading there. I've been almost begging, imploring you not to, and I am pretty sure I did this by being positive and reassuring you it's cool, and I didn't just say hey yeah I really don't want to meet someone blind drunk on a date. A capriciously first date, after all. Already my role as the patient reassuring older figure is being defined. So I'm relieved and excited you're now actually, totally,and as I far as I can tell, soberly here. A couches length away.
I have groomed myself right down to plucking the goatee hairs from my lower lip. I'm wearing the black box wars T shirt, the size too small one that makes my neck, shoulders and arms look magnificent. But this is a mistake because I know I can't show off these things without being categorized as a macho douchebag. Things like being cut have to be noticed, or discovered by a girl like, not signposted by me. You're a woman, you'll be looking at me, sizing me up anyway. The t shirt was too much and I immediately regret the choice the minute I left the house. Oh and the house, incidentally, is immaculate. I have vacuumed, artfully rearranged, folded, aired-out, wiped down and topped up everything in the place. Y'know just in case.
Yeah, wrong t shirt, I was thinking, and I resolve to keep my jacket on, so I don't look like a metrosexual thug to you. I hope it doesn't get hot in there.
I remember a couple of pints. I'm sure you can out drink me, so I have to go slow in these, but not so slow as you get to sober, freak out and leave, which I think you might have wanted to. I explain all this, desperate deconstructing everything in order to cheat through it, not get caught in it.
I say I'm happy to get drunk now, as something we can do together, not some sober spectacle I would've had to witness. I explain then- well if you had turned up drunk... and I just getting here completely sober, well, the date would've been over.
Yeah I'm serious. A pause there. You look at me eskew. But then we keep drinking. And drinking.
You're bubbly and your smile is something I want to lick and your hair is fantastic and we talk over the presents we've just exchanged. I brought you a copy of Scarface on DVD and you gave me Clockwork Orange, the book. And I hate being given books because I'll never get to reading it in time before you feel put off or insulted, and this title doesn't interest me much, but of course I feign enthusiasm and thumb through it's yellow greasy third hand pages. It's a pretty cool book. Guess I'll have to read it now.
Scarface though, that's what did it. I start doing my Tony Montana impression (which is terrible, mostly just a grimace) and you lose your shit. Doubled over laughing and I look down your top and I keep doing the voice and shrugging and somewhere amongst it all my jacket has come offand the hours have piled on. Long stretches of full-bladder but neither of us wanting to break the momentum of our conversation by getting up to take a leak on those filthy restrooms.
But we must have because yeah I remember coming back from one all boozy-brazen saying so hey when are we gonna kiss already and you don't flinch just shrug like it was an actual question that needed answering because at this point I want you and you want me. We've established that guy in all your Facebook photos isn't a boyfriend, and we've established that no, I didn't like all that earnest slam poetry from that night we met either, and yes I shouldn't have taken off my jacket but I felt good and this shirt hugs my skin and makes me feel sexy and I want you to touch me and then I have your lips against mine and that thought, that same thought everytime, that rushes through my head when I kiss someone for the first time.
It's relief. Oh sure there's excitement, but relief comes first. In those breaths we're now obliged to share. -phew- aaaaaaaaah you. Yes. You. Like. Me. Too. Eyes close themselves. Music doppler shifts away. Fingers reach for cheeks, for hair. The smell of warm skin enters nostrils
It was easy. It's always easy when it's right. And it felt right. Because I laugh when I make you laugh, and I know you're intimidated by me, and you know I'm infatuated by your immaturity. And I'm too old for you at nine years, 33 to your 24. But maybe not and that's just how it is. I get better with age because I'm a guy. And my last girlfriend was 40 when I was 32 and man she was too to handle and don't think about that now, because I want to get you back to my place and maybe that's because I know we're not actually couple material but we're a great great grand one night stand not waiting to happen. And if only I wasn't working tomorrow. Not that that should stop us. And it won't.
Nothing stops us. We keep going. And it is good. Except I will end going to work the next morning. Which is a shame because I am better in the morning. Or so I think. But I will come away from tonight wanting more. You will be less sure, as you tell me later.
We will have an awkward follow up day-time date on Saturday, where we even talk about our old one night stand stories. You'll tell me you've only ever had a few before and you will obviously be lying. I will sit on the grass with you, behind Abbotsford convent, and I'll th ink to myself you aren't quite as pretty with your hair tied back, and I'll be disappointed that I can't make you laugh as much as Thursday, but we will keep going. Because why not. It will be good.
Good will become really good. This will became what we are in the weeks and then months that follow this first date, we will steadily became us.
Us will be you and me and that's really good and when something is really good you don't stop. When someone becomes a part of you and your life and you love having them around I guess it means you love them. I will love you. I will think about it a long time before I say it, think about what 'Us' is.
In the next year that follows, Us won't prove in explosive roaring torrents of passion, but it won't be headfuck mind games, jealousy or screaming matches, either. Us will not be lack-of-space or itime. Us will suit me. Us will be- I can't wait to tell you this thing and show you this thing. Us will be you going somewhere insane when we make love and I won't understand everything about you and your traumatic past and you won't understand everything about me and my worldly life experiences but we will continue meeting in the middle and you will stuck around and I will stick around. Us will change us, you and I. You will stop seeing a counsellor weekly and taking anti depressants. I will, in parallel break away from the toxicity of a lot of the poetry community. And I will be unable to imagine being without you around now. And that's, yeah that is, has to be: I love you.
- - -
As I write this tonight, it was two months ago since you texted saying we had to talk but not right now because you're drunk.
Didn't for a minute think back to our first date and the juggling act I'd done that night trying to talk you down from getting drunk before we met as an act of self-sabotage. But nevertheless like that night I knew you were wanting to be drunk for a reason. The us had run out. October 3rd, 2014.
It had been sixteen months ago, this night you texted me to 'talk', and I didn't give a shit if you were drunk or not because you can't just text something like that. So-fuck-you-I-called-you.
The talk was brief, I was in Newcastle, already having been away from Melbourne, from you, one month and a bit. Our relationship was open because I'm traveling and you're traveling soon and we're awesome and you've hooked up with someone and I've hooked up with someone and yes I am sure that I'm okay with that because I'm not possessive, and I know you're not always what I fantasize about but you're always what I want to come home to, and I've gotten way too comfortable with that idea and you haven't and somewhere between this phone call and the last you fell in love. Big big love. Love new and improved, potent and passionate and dangerous as you're leaving Melbourne yourself and it swept you away just as it wiped me off the face of your world, in one fell swoop.
Two months ago tonight, that call. Last time I heard your voice. Over three months since I saw your face, longer since we were last intimate. And the bumpy-ride it's taken my bike ride on. Like so much extra weight to carry, and with a much poorer sense of direction on the road ahead.
I've never written about you directly, so you turn up everywhere in every fucking thing I write, because you're nowhere I could get at you.
So here you are, this is where I'll put you. Right here in this context. Not because you especially deserve that, but the journal you've been overshadowing does.
You and I are both crowded to capacity in our own feelings, you with self absorption, I with hurt. Both having absolutely no room left for one another in our lives, paradoxically making those last sixteen months feel hugely empty.
You were so much a part of me and you erased me out of your life so quickly and completely that the emptiness is just too much to bridge with the light hearted friendship you want to put in it's place. I'm about to go tackle some real emptiness, geographic, and I can't take you with me, so I put you here in the journal, I'll put you back to a Thursday night eighteen months ago in a tight black T shirt, too small for me.
It was a fun night. There were lots more that followed. Even though it would've prevented all this pain I've been through subsequent, y'know... I'm still glad you didn't self sabotage the date by turning up at E55 that night, blind drunk.
I mean, that really would've sucked.
- - -
So I'm sorry to have neglected this blog for so long, but lord knows I've certainly been writing. However it's all confined to Facebook, or what filters through the Twitter feed there on thr right-hand column.
I'm really enjoying the longer form of writing, and speaking more directly to my thoughts without the stylistic symbolistic poetry stuff. It's taken me years to build up the confidence to do this. I guess in that way its like the cycling, with more confidence and experience comes bigger and more ambitious goals snd destinations.
Anyway, if you'd like to see what's going on directly on.my Facebook page, go to-
And please donate what you can to the cause-