Just as well it was a short week this week (holiday Monday) as I had an attack of the blahs and the week dragged. Probably adjusting to the earlier rising with Daylight Saving contributed to the feeling, plus ongoing altercations with young Donald. He insists that he is still going to school, that he will not get a job and that I cannot make him do otherwise. Just quietly, he is probably right, but if his intention is to go to school, then he actually has to do that. I have told him that I am not intervening on his behalf with the school. It is up to him to do so if he wants to try to talk his way back in.
Normally I ride my bicycle to work, or if the weather is inclement then I ride Jeffrey, my motor scooter. Very occasionally I take the car, but this means that I must remember to keep shifting it through the day as there is a two-hour limit on car parks. Thursday morning, I decided to drive as I was feeling tired and lethargic and also the weather was drizzly. I was running rather late, so when I rushed outside to actually leave, I was not impressed to discover that the car was not in the driveway. Nor was Donald in the house. He had slipped out after I had gone to sleep and driven to Daisy’s house. Needless to say I blew my top and left a very hostile message on his mobile phone. At times like this I am beside myself with fury. It’s that casual assumption that he can just take the car whenever he likes that upsets me. I was also cross with myself that I had left the keys out where he could take them. I shouldn’t have to hide them though.
The nice surprise for the week was receiving an email from a woman who I last saw thirty years ago. We both met, some years before that when we both worked in a bar in Alice Springs. K was only a couple of years older than me, but by comparison I was very innocent and naive. She was the most overtly sexual woman I had ever met. She wore skimpy skirts and low-cut tops, and her long hair, parted on the side seductively grazed those pouting lips. As the male customers walked into our restaurant each evening, she would look them over critically and assess which were worth pursuing that evening. Whichever man she chose, she usually got. He didn’t have a chance.
K half terrified me and half fascinated me. For some reason she took a shine to me and took me under her wing. We were chalk and cheese but became good friends anyway. We had many hilarious nights in the restaurant, and of course after work we would hit the town, living it up until the early hours and exhaustion hit. I recall skinny dipping in the motel swimming pool at midnight, wearing sunglasses and our knickers on our heads as a disguise. We probably kept half the guests awake with our raucous laughter and rude jokes.
She took me to my first bush race meeting, giving me more of a run-down on the men that were there than on the horses on the track. It was their form that she was more concerned with anyway, though of course we did have a bet on the horses as well. I recall when one famous Australian rock star, well known for his musical roles as well, hit town for a concert. K took one look at the statuesque figure and said, ‘Duckie, I’m going to have him!’ and she did. I gather it was a night to remember, for she said to me the next morning, ‘Boy, he wasn’t hiding behind the door when they were handed out!’ By her reports, he was very well endowed. I think of that every time I see him on TV.
Although she had grown up in Alice, there came a time when she wanted a change, and she decided to move to Townsville. I visited her a few times and still enjoyed her company although the relationship that she had at that time had brought about an element of more sedate behaviour. Well, of a sort.
Something intriguing happened on one of those visits. K and her sister had recently lost their father and were consulting a medium for some belated consultation with their parent. There were unresolved issues from memory and they wanted to make contact with him. This was taking place at the sister’s house, after which K and I were going out on the town. At the appointed time, I drove over to the sister’s house to pick up K. As I approached the back door, I could hear the conversation happening inside and deduced that the consultation was still in progress. I didn’t knock, not wanting to create a disturbance but quietly opened the door, crept inside and sat down.
The man was talking in a focused fashion with his eyes closed to aid concentration or to better hear the voices I assume. Suddenly, he stopped talking and went quiet. He shifted in his seat and then started talking again. He said that a young lady has just entered the room, and there is someone here who wishes to speak to her. He described a young man who had died a short time previously and gave details of the death and my reactions to the news. The description fitted a friend of mine, and he gave accurate detail of the circumstances and the impact on myself and the fact that I had sent a silent prayer to this friend. I was told that the friend had received this prayer and wished to thank me. Nobody in that room knew of my friend’s death, and I had never told K about it. To say that I was rendered speechless at this encounter would be an understatement. I wished later that I had thought to ask some questions, the answers to which only my friend and I would know the answers but was not quick enough.
K is now married and living a retired and settled life. She had a young son (as a single mother) when I first knew her and now she has a granddaughter a little older than my son. She always had a passion for animals and it seems that she still has a menagerie, with a focus on birds and parrots now – intelligent birds that are as demanding as little children.
I was delighted that she made contact with me. I had often wondered what had become of her, but as she had married and changed her name, had no way of contacting her. We shared news and photographs and promised to keep in touch. She says that she has put on a bit more weight than she used to carry, but then haven’t we all? In my mind’s eye though, I will still see the vamp that challenged and scared the pants off me when I first met her. Can’t wait to catch up with her again.