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jade really showed me up. she displayed a strength of will i had never seen in her before, it surprised me. later i would stand alone in my kitchen, wondering at the big shiny fridge, or the microwave with a broken readout, and it would still intrigue me. it was as if the girl i knew wasnt the real girl, a double agent or something. had either been hiding something from me, or (more likely) had i not the character or care to bring it out of her?

it wasnt a conscious decision to go on a bender, it was just unfortunate that i had finished fear and loathing the day before. was too easy to walk out the door and go looking for something that stopped you thinking. it only lasted two weeks, my one great bender. fleeting moments of clarity on friends couches with sympathetic eyes then hostels when the sympathetic mouths opened. the last two nights i slept in a park and someone stole my thongs, or they were lost earlier maybe, shouldnt be so pesimistic. anyway it hurt when a homeless guy parked a shopping trolley on my foot, his filthy creased face said i stink then burst into laughter, a filthy hand gave me a smoke.

then i went home (was that the right word), i guess its connotations hadnt changed, just its appropriateness. my father-in-law (again still appropriate?) was sitting on the steps and strode purposefully at me. john was a tall grey-haired geezer who cherished his london accent like a child holding a chicken, he appreciated red wine and condiments but not much else as far as i could tell, and i fully assumed to witness his first ever act of aggression. instead he put his hand on my shoulder and said lets go son. i tear up at odd things, ads on TV, field of dreams, but didnt shed a tear when my best mate in school showed just how bad his asthma really was, but now i did, i had a crying bender.

two years later i still stand alone in my kitchen, i get home from work and wonder what is the point of transferring myself between here and work every day, why had i bought the worlds largest stainless steel fridge for the worlds smallest flat, why did i have so many plates for just me, why do the displays on microwaves never work, why do tea-towels only come in plaid or with pictures of kettles.

the wine collection continues to grow, john sees too that, he jokes that maybe one day i will invite somone over to drink it but its not a funny joke really. i should though, i appreciate him. we share a common bond, a memory of a girl.

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Michael Douglass

Alexandria, Australia

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