Nice things, and why we can’t have them.

Britard woke up wearing last night’s pants, and the sweat of last night’s booze. It had pooled in the folds of her skin while the sun sang her to sleep.

Mornings like that were not so common for her anymore and hers was a sad, angry shame-awakening, for the second weekend in a row.

This one was going to be fairly bad if her first flashback was anything to go by. It was the computer. YouTube. Two friends on the spare bed next to her, one trying to sleep, the other suggesting songs that Britard was going to ignore.
The music was at a terribly loud volume for Morning Suntime but it wasn’t as loud as her voice, concerting its way through the neighbourhood, creating what had to be the world’s worst Human-Rooster Duet.

Groaning at the memory, Britard reached onto the cluttered table beside her bed, her fingers blindly stalking its surface to avoid exposing her sandpaper eyes to the harsh, evil air of sunshiney reality.

The next flashback came courtesy of her fingers’ inability to locate her phone. With a heavier heart than the one she’d been carrying last night, she gritted her teeth, and prepared to face a day of disappointing treasure hunting – a game called “Oh Shit. I did that last night? I did. Shit.”

In an unprecedented turn of events, today’s game was multiplayer, and as a result, Britard took less of a health hit through Guilt Damage than she usually did in this game.

… until she realised that her phone was not the only missing person from her entourage – She had also lost her glasses – a week before attending the ballet with her family for an event called “Combined Birthdays in a City Eight Hours’ Drive Away!”

“This is why we can’t have nice things, Britard”, said Britard, squinting into the distance.

Seven days later, staring through a new pair of glasses, she sat perched in the middle back seat of her parents’ car, twenty minutes into the eight hour trip home.

Her fingertips traversed the floor of the car, in search of her phone.

“This is why we can’t have nice things, Britard”, said her partner, five minutes later, hanging up the call he’d made to her phone. “Your brother will post it back to you tomorrow. Along with your wallet. And your handbag”.


The Greener Grasses

I desperately miss the city on these chilly Autumn nights.

Walking through country town streets is not as exciting as navigating the city’s tattooed alleys and rape-tunnels when the air is cold against your face and trains and trams click and clack across tracks, silver with the reflection of the moon.

The dark clouds scattered across the sky above me are tinged Batman-purple from the glowing city lights, leading me to the bottle shop a few blocks away.

I huddle deeper into my hoodie as I pass a drunk girl waiting at a bus stop. The glaze in her eyes tells me she’s a couple of glasses ahead of me and I quicken my pace, wanting to be at home when that happy moment strikes.

Couples pass me, arms linked in smiles understood only by each other. Businessmen talk into headsets but still hold their phones in their hands. Women tuck scarves into coats and I weave between them all, intent only on my destination.

The bottle stares down from its place on the shelf. Its familiar black label is at once comforting and assuring as I wrap my hand around the neck and carry it to the counter.

We never make idle chit-chat, those bottle shop bartenders and I. With our eyes downcast, we swap notes for coins and in a mere matter of minutes, my feet are carrying me back the way I came, through the scarf-tucking women, the phone-holding businessmen, and the arm-linking couples.

People congregate at intersections, waiting for lights to change, their impatient feet unable to remain still. Some are rocking blanket-covered prams hiding tag-along children, eager for that lullabye car-trip home.

As I near my own home, the crowd disappears and the cold gets closer. Streetlights are sparse and comforting as wide car-filled roads give way to narrow lanes strewn with newspapers and milk crates.

On those nights, I would turn my key in the lock and be glad to be leaving the city outside.

Tonight, I turn my key in the lock, missing its energy.

Cheap wine (and a three-legged goat)

The warm buzz of whiskey has begun to creep through your veins. That song you always skip on your train trip to work has suddenly become your favourite song ever and you have to sing it. It’s time to share your amazing voice with the world.

We all know that moment: that drunk karaoke rockstar moment which finds us closing our eyes whilst belting out a chorus, or ripping out a downward elbow-thrust during power ballads and saying things like “Actually, Creed’s first album was kind of good” without the slightest trace of sarcasm.

Since approximately 3pm this afternoon, my neighbours have been sharing their drunk karaoke rockstar moments with those of us lucky enough to live nearby.

Girls have been shrieking and dirty dancing on the back porch, while the guys have been high fiving and daring each other to jump off various pieces of furniture. The more time that passes, the less coherent their shouting becomes, until finally, the talking stops entirely as Cold Chisel’s Cheap Wine comes waltzing through their tinny speakers and casts a spell across the yard.

With a power only to be found in the refrain of an Aussie Pub Rock Anthem, the drunk karaoke afternoon evolves into the drunk Sunday Evening Backyard Concert featuring Leftover Lunchtime Salmonella Sausages and Aerogard.

It was a loud and raucous evening where we neighbours were treated to a moving appearance by the Garth Brooks Appreciation Choir. A surprisingly welcome cameo by Savage Garden was unfortunately cut short due to interference by a Garth Brooks Appreciation Choir member who was in control of the iPod at the time.

Listening to them, there’s a part of me cringes on their behalf, recalling my own sense of shame when memories of my drunk singing would descend on me the following day and peck at my face with their sharp beaks of regret. The rest of me grins, fondly remembering my own spontaneous drunk Sundays and the freedom that ignoring all sense of responsibility instilled within me.

Mostly, it made me realise that this is probably just payback for the countless 4am drunk renditions of Jolene that I’ve put them through since we moved in here.

A warm grin adorns my face as I tidy up on my way to bed. A couple of short, but faraway years ago I was the one singing along with Eddie Vedder while someone vomited in the corner behind the shed.

I certainly don’t miss going to work hungover, but I do miss those drunk Spontaneous Sunday Evening Backyard Concerts featuring Leftover Lunchtime Salmonella Sausages.

Especially when they happened on a Tuesday.