One Day In Sydney (2006)
It’s overcast today. The air has a tinge of fridge door freshness as I walk along the street. (must be the Woolworths hopper I just passed.) Branches are restless, a man operates a whipper snipper on the nature strip while the dehydrating puddles are swished around by the wind, leaving vaguely mathematical spirals. I’m hung over and anxious. Something happened last night that really shouldn’t have. I try to ease my worries by telling myself that my life has always been about dramas at regular intervals but things always end up sorting themselves out. I catch a gust of pollen-ice air. My brain is submarine plunged in an ocean of memory cotton. I’m a child, somewhere in Tasmania, for a bit.
I stick out my hand half-heartedly, trying to attract a taxi. I am heavily short sighted, so it’s not until the taxi gets to a certain distance that I can tell whether or not it’s occupied. I don’t want to try and flag it down with too much enthusiasm in case there’s someone already in the front seat and I look stupid. It’s a flawed system. I can perform comedy on stage, but am wary of being deemed foolish by suburban taxi drivers and their passengers. I spit in the gutter and check my messages. A girl who was going to interview me today has postponed. I am relieved. I no longer have to rush to get home.
I’m sitting on the train, my brain switched to a mode that will not let me remember any of these blank faces for very long. Women – freshly showered hair, large sunglasses, red lips, legs crossed at ankles. Men – thinning hair, skinny jeans, peaked caps, paperbacks, dull eyes. I’m camped in the corner with a palpitating heart. I decide that it might be fantastic to have your own Oprah Winfrey style audience to follow you around everywhere. Scream incessantly when you first wake up. Laugh uproariously at your light humour. Clap self-righteously when you make overstated, earnest comments – and generally squeal like mentally handicapped children every time you end a sentence with the vocal equivalent of an exclamation mark.
Last night: Ripping chunks of Turkish bread…my flatmate might be grumpy…The best friend that left his move too late…there were penguins at Clovelly beach today…I need to go out with someone less like me…I need to go to the beach.
I’m almost home now. Clouds are jostling for position – squirming like suds beneath a glass plate. I’m a newspaper soup of alphabet ink, with the soundtrack of Beck’s remix album bleeping faintly in my i-noggin. I’m still not sure if it’s a brilliant album. It needs to be. It needs to fit neatly inside a box. Last night is in a box fastened by highways of tape.
Make sure I don’t forget my wallet and sunglasses. Fill up my water bottle. Silence at the doorway. Why do so many chapters end like this? Downcast eyes. Morning caution. Distance. I turn my back and imagine her crying already. The day smells rain-tinged and my vision refreshes with a wispy palette of whites and greens.