November 29 2003

Short stories

Wiping the remaining perspiration off my forehead, I fumble for my mobile phone. Sensing the telltale vibration long before I could hear the ring tone, I try to answer it before anyone else notices. It is just a voicemail message. Knowing who it will be, I press ‘3’ to delete the message.

The phone call is a job offer. They have been persistently calling for the last six weeks. It’s about time I gave them an answer. The money being offered is incredible. All things going as planned the money would provide for the two of us as snugly as the tracksuit pants I was now putting on. My thoughts quickly changed to the evening ahead. Although it was a fairly standard Friday night, the fact I had the weekend off, despite offering to work it, meant I could enjoy it a little more, no regrets. As usual we will dine at Mai Tai, spring rolls (with fresh hot chilli dipping sauce) satay chicken and beef and a huge bowl of steaming white rice. Finally a glass or two of some Cab Merlot to help tide us over til Bennetts’ Lane opens. Depending if we stay for one set or two, down to St. Kilda for some dancing at the Vineyard and then onto Zü bar. Friday nights just do not get any better.

Before I know it I am home, under the shower to rid me of the rigours of the early pre-season I was putting myself through for next year’s football season. It is late November, but if I was going to indulge as much at Christmas this year, then I had to pay the price. Oh, who was I kidding, I love the gym! Stepping out into the steam that now filled the bathroom She grabs my towel from my hand, teasing,
“Hot enough for you? How am I supposed to put my face on with all this steam?”
Lunging forward, I take her by her arm and pressing up against her I soothe,
“What makes you think you even need any makeup anyway, you’re perfect the way you are!” She looks amazing, and not just because her towel was revealing her gorgeous curves. It was her eyes. I remember the first time I ever saw those eyes. It had been my first day managing a new store in a brand new company. I still remember thinking to myself…

“NO. Remember your rules. You do NOT date staff!” But looking at those eyes... And that body! Those curves did not know where to stop.
“36, 24, 36 only if your 5 3” Sir-mix-a-lot had sung in my head. We chatted. Wow she loves Spongebob too! Coyly she had asked,
“If you are allowed to take your shirt off… Can we walk around with our top’s off too?” I had been caught applying Bepanthen to the new tattoo on my left shoulder blade in the office My pants seemed to have gotten tighter all of a sudden. It was only a matter of time. Our first ever date was to Bennetts’, chaperoned no less by my Father!


She is angry. Even in the dimmed lights of the Jazz Lab I can see she is angry.
“Stop, looking around for her!” she snarls, “I can’t believe you keep looking for her.” It is not what she thinks. One good thing about being a regular is that you get free drinks. I quickly decide not to wait any longer, now is the time. Reaching into my pocket I stretch over and clasp her hand in mine.
“I love you. I have loved you since the first time I met you.” Sir-mix-a lot starts singing in my head again. I open the small black box from the inside of my pocket. The air feels thick. I briefly feel hotter from the rush of blood that momentarily flushes her face. With everything the way it should be, she stands up to leave, “Let’s go celebrate.”

It is a very hot night, but there is a cool sea breeze. Our clothes stick to us thanks to all that dancing. We laugh quietly together at the girl in the Aussie flag bikini in front of us at McDonalds. Like clockwork I order a large McChicken meal, with Sprite instead of Coke. We head back to my car after collecting our meals.
“I want to show you where I grew up.” I inform her “I’d like for you to know more about what brought us to this moment.” She smiles. Thankfully it is not far away and it is such a lovely night to go for a cruise. We drive through my old street, past my old Primary school and Church. Past the old milk bar where I always used to get my Cobbers from, past the newsagency my brother had got caught shoplifting. I notice the clock, 3 am, time to go home. We drive back down the freeway.

“LOOK OUT!” comes her terrified scream.
I try desperately to regain control the car as we are violently struck on the driver’s side door.
Everything goes black.

KNOCK! KNOCK! I can hear noises. I slowly turn towards the noises. What happened? Accident. I turn to the left. She’s not moving. Sleeping? No I can’t see her breathing. Noises again. What’s going on? Accident. Get out. Can’t move. Seatbelt. Door won’t budge. Voices. Door is open. Try to get out. PAIN. Everything is black again. Slap on the face.
“Stay with me!” An anonymous voice calls. Try to open eyes. Black.
“We’re losing him,” another voice. Slap. “Wake up, don’t fall asleep.” So tired.

In the ambulance shot after shot of morphine is administered into my legs. Pain like I have never before experienced. I finally spit out a sickly dry cry
“How is she?” I plead.
“She is fine. Just concentrate on yourself, now mate.”


“You are in the emergency ward in hospital,” informs a voice, female this time. “You have been in a serious car accident; your next of kin is being notified.” In what seems a lifetime later the voice tells me they have organised something special. She is beside me. If we both reach out we will touch. With all the strength I have left in me I reach out. Feels like I am reaching for an eternity. Finally our fingers meet. This single moment although horrific, would stay with me forever. Never again will I repeat that once treasured routine. Life will never be the same again.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Autobiographical story. Some names removed/replaced for confidentiality

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