Wednesday, March 27, 2013
If I have kissed you I apologise. It was possibly shit.
My first kiss was on a trampoline at Cassi Devine's birthday party. She was a cool kid and everyone in our grade that mattered* was there. I was about sixteen. It was fucking terrible.
This young lad decided that he'd try and pop his digits down my fake snake skin pants after about fifteen seconds of making out. He was strong and handsome and I remember the initial excitement as his mouth pushed into mine. And then I realised that he was PUSHING. I had never kissed anyone before, but I knew that in this maiden exchange I wasn't supposed to feel conquered. Luckily I valued that little basket o' virginal goods and high tailed off the trampoline in time, dignity still contained in those god awful pants. In the peak of a Brisbane heatwave I hid my lust-damaged throat for the following week under a blue turtleneck. If you're reading this El Trampolino, you literally sucked. (And thanks for hooking up with the birthday girl almost immediately after me, swiftly schooling me in the ways of the school representative footballer).
I had a conversation at that party with another young man as he stood, leaning away from the crowd with his back up against the house. He was smoking a cigarette and I said to him that doing so would harm his babies. He had honey skin and a set of big brown deer eyes that caught me by surprise. I wanted to acknowledge his odd composure but I was distracted by my near miss intercourse with ol' mate Mr Trampoline.
It took a few months for us to talk more during class. One day he asked if I wanted to go shopping with him and his mother. I wore a Cat in the Hat shirt and his mum drove us in to the Queen Street Mall. His mum dug my shirt. She loved olives and used to eat them from the jar so for many years to follow I pretended to like them in the hope that I looked as cultured as her. Damn that woman and her casual weekday elegance.
I was almost seventeen when he and I started officially dating. About a week passed after the shopping trip and he asked me if I wanted to take a walk down to the Scarborough shorefront after school. We carved our names into a tree and exchanged stories that still trigger an emotional reaction in me after all this time. As we walked to his bus stop I knew that this kid was seriously special. My first 'real' kiss happened as the bus waited for him to board, his fare awkwardly clasped in his hand that pressed against the small of my back. Is your first love so special because retrospectively you can see that you were naive to the pain of what it was to break up?
Obviously we did break up a few years later. In my first year as a Psychology student I was in no position to successfully diagnose or treat his problems (and nor should I have). I think he got another girl pregnant soon after. I don't even know if he's still alive. I really loved him, and then I really didn't.
So that's a nice story for you.
Fast forward ten years or so and here I am, thinking about all of the kisses between then and now. The few good ones, the few shit ones and the much more common fantasy ones thanks to Joseph Gordon Levitt. I wouldn't mind a kiss. Not like with Mr Trampoline, but like Mr Bus, with focus and connection and intention. Bring back the kisses that stop time.
* And by mattered, I most certainly do not mean by whom was and is most interesting, nor successful in later years.
Monday, March 11, 2013
It's odd, coming out the other side, eighteen hundred and twenty six kilometres away from where I started. Or at least from where I was, if it were not the start but some sideways skip. They say that running away from your problems will never make you free of them, but I propose that driving far away isn't a bad approach to giving your own engine a good run. I know nothing about cars but any shit writer would have enough fuel to connect a Ford with the human mind and pump out a bunch of 'destination vs journey' analogies.
For the last three weeks I've been sitting at a desk. I haven't been out driving hearses, preparing bodies, arranging funerals or carrying coffins. It's been entirely uneventful and largely underwhelming, but necessary in it's sweet relief. Do not be alarmed, I'm still involved in the funeral business, but I'm the voice on the other end of the phone at present when someone calls to say "Hey, Nan's dead. Come help."
From the impregnable safety of the office blanket fort I can think a lot about why I left Melbourne. There were a bunch of reasons. A perpetually empty wallet. An exhausted body. An overthrown character. Chiefly though, I needed to shake a habit of catastrophising and being a general dickhead. I didn't have a good grip on what problems were actually problems and what drama I was creating out of exhaustion. This whole relocation has stopped me from throwing my car into a ditch somewhere between Caulfield and Camberwell.
I saw a coworker the other day rushing around the funeral home. Watching her from my desk, I could see that she was consumed. Frantically, she stammered about wasting time. This lady, drowning in panic, undermining what time she had in hurry. I could see that all she needed to do was stop and breathe and open the cupboard to find what she was looking for, but I was struck with the awareness that in my own pressure I had failed to stop and understand what was right in front of me too.
I didn't need to go anywhere, but wanting and changing shit for health and happiness is a bloody good move. Thanks perspective, you're great.