The woman sitting
three spots to my right and two rows in front of me knew that I had been
watching her earlier when we were all outside in the garden. She had been
standing within a circle of rigid, formally-dressed people nearest to the
one that I had been taken by. Perhaps she had been drawn into it by the same
accidental recognition of an acquaintance, of an interesting character, that
had conspired against me.
She had not seemed
to be with anyone, had not appeared accompanied because of the evenness with
which she divided her attention. I had stared through the blathering of an
old man, through his stern words about Bush and the War and the Environment
– the rising cost of living – and seen her narrow, firm calves taper down
perfectly into tiny, spare ankles.
Ankles as tiny and
spare as a bird’s.
She had stood with
one hand on her right hip and her left leg bent at the knee and turned
inward. Her free hand had slowly stroked the end of a necklace that
circumnavigated her neck and then merged as a single thread of precious
metal slithering down into her chest.
A necklace that
said to every healthy man, “I know what you think this looks like.”
And every healthy
appeared to say much but at regular intervals perked her head back with what
sounded from ten metres away like incredulous spurts of laughter. Soon every
man in her rigid circle had been focused on her.
Even the ones
talking amongst themselves inside the circles within circles.
The other women
had been the most rigid of all, the most erect. They had been drawn to
attention by her presence and had watched her without looking.
It had been too
early to assume that anyone had been drinking, yet two men in her circle had
made me suspicious with their eager jockeying to shoot off the next morsel
The next morsel
that would be rewarded with incredulous spurts of laughter.
A laughter that
said, “Don’t be ridiculous! I am not convinced you really did that…”
Or mean that.
Or can afford
It also said, “I
think you might be full of shit.”
It made you think
that her doubt was an opportunity, a door left slightly open.
She wanted you to
prove her wrong.
And you knew that
The taller of the
two men had leaned towards her and, with folded arms, said something. He had
then smirked. I think he had wobbled his head as well, as if to insinuate
that he had been happy with whatever he had just gotten off.
But he had no
reason to be happy.
He was more than
twice her age, flecks of grey in his uncertain hair, the ruddiness of drink
and debt embedded in his face.
Her head had
tilted back further to laugh this time and I had thought that her
unnecessarily wide hat, like something worn at an important race meet, was
going to be launched into the sky with the help of a breeze that had been
building off the nearby bay all morning. She hadn’t seemed concerned, hadn’t
even looked like placing a hand on top of it just in case.
She had turned
abruptly in my direction, the incredulous laugh petering into a satisfied
smile just as her eyes found mine.
I had resisted the
urge to look away, had resisted the urge to
I had done the
She had turned
away from me quickly but then revisited my resolute gaze a moment later.
I had recognised
her but I hadn’t known from where.
I had recognised
the sloping, Slavic eyes, the glow of her light skin and the shimmer of her
long chestnut hair.
I had recognised
the taunt of a tongue that rested languidly just within a mouth barely ajar.
I had looked her
up and down with more intensity, with more yearning to place her within my
But still I had
not been able to.
I had followed the
inappropriate steepness of her black stilettos up along the back of her
young legs and been amazed that the cruel sharpness of these shoes had not
been swallowed by the smooth lawn.
By the green
All throughout I
had continued to nod, to throw in the odd comment or wry remark or to scoff
in empathetic contempt with the blathering old man about Bush, the War, the
The rising cost of
From there it had
been on past the small arse, the miniscule rump, barely contained by the
tight embrace of her dress. A light blue dress that finished earlier on her
legs – well above the knees – and lower and wider upon her chest than any of
the other women’s.
On I had marched,
over the stomach that was as flat as my mood should have been, before coming
to a rest upon her breasts.
And upon the
sliver of silver metal that dribbled down between them.
Now, inside, with
the advantage of my position to the side and to the rear, I could watch the
nearly imperceptible rise, quiver and fall of these breasts. I tried to
imagine how they would feel if I gently cupped them with my damp hands or
lapped at them with my dry mouth.
Slide in between
them as she moaned vulgar words of encouragement.
I felt a tug at my
shoulder and turned towards the source as LCD
Soundsystem pounded in my ears.
They were singing
about losing your edge to better-looking people with better ideas.
And more talent.
People that are,
in fact, quite nice.
My older brother looked solemn.
He nodded to me.