You walked ahead, your eyes focused on the ground. I knew you were mad. And, I think a part of me enjoyed the forced silence, the rules you had imposed upon us.
‘Wait’, I yelled out, a halfhearted, ‘let’s talk about this’ followed meekly behind. You continued to stare at the ground and hunched your soldiers slightly, a sub conscience recognition of my poor efforts at communication. I hummed, and words formed in my mind, I ought to be congratulated, for putting up with a woman like you.
And so it was, the first argument of many. The first time I felt something that resembled dislike toward you. But still, we held on with hope, and when I whispered your name that night, slightly breathless from giving to you, love felt like an illusion.
It was later, possibly ten months on when I finally understood what had happened that day that I felt the pangs of regret creep in.
So I should start at the beginning of what we created, although I do not think it will make anything clearer. I remember the day well, I had just opened my door of my family home as an occupant for the last time and when I turned to close it I was suddenly the departing visitor. I had waved to my parents awkwardly and ignored the tears in my mothers eyes. ‘Come on mum, everybody does it’, I said casually as I shrugged her hug away, ‘and all mothers do this too’, she replied, obviously hurt by my indifference. I gave a weak smile as I flung the car door open and threw my bags haphazardly on the passengers seat of the Datsun 710. Once settled in the seat I had waved again, and before turning the key in the ignition I quickly checked to make sure the radio wouldn’t blast the minute the key turned and all the right wires connected. Rolling down the driveway, the only sound was the creak of gravel beneath the weight of the car tyres. I waved once more out the car window, and when safely around the bend, picked up speed and cranked the radio. ‘Wild thing’ exploded from the car speakers and I sang along in gusto, hitting my hand against the drivers door to the beat. ‘You make my heart sing’….puckering my lips I imitated the heavy base, ‘bah, bah bahhh bah, you make everything’….a pause, and with a curl of my lip ‘groovy’.
I continued on like this for another three hours or so, eventually turning down the music when my ear drums began to hurt. The wind was cool upon my face but the sun was shining hot, and it felt like the perfect day to piss of from your parents nest. I was moving from a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere to the heart of Melbourne. It felt like a big moment, my time to change. The drive gave me time to think about the possibilities and I found myself imagining the photos I would send home. A girl in my arms, drinks with new friends at one of the many bars I’d heard of, and me at Uni, making my mates who’d chosen the quiet life back home feel like I’d found the greener pastures. It would be sweet, without a doubt. Life felt good. I did too.
I swung around the curves gracefully, enjoying the leisurely drive. I’d driven it so many times, but I was seeing it differently. The Datsun hugged the curves and I couldn’t help but smile, I’d bought it for a song, as my old man used to say. We’d done it up over the summer and the car practically shimmered in the sun. I saw you when I came around the next bend, you were hitchhiking along a quiet stretch of the Princess Hwy, nevertheless I was surprised to see a girl your age in a place I’d always considered a dead end….