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19 August, 2012

In the mug as in life:

Sweet milk first,

Then the bitter coffee.

[Helps to avoid the split.]

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17 August, 2012

Girl with a list

The list (2006)

Communal table, opposite a girl. She has an accent, requests cinnamon on her cappuccino and receives a text from ‘Mom’. One girl, far from home.

She is composing a list. Her moleskin bumps mine and I notice the heading - Things to do when I get back.

It’s private, so I read: yoga, drawing, bike rack, quinoa. And more.

I recall another list. Last page of a travel diary, 2006 - the year of fifteen countries and finding ourselves, insights (not) guaranteed. Walk home and fish it out.

Ah yes, here is ‘Sydney’. A place to take up pottery, start a book club, swim laps, become waifish, grow vegetables and cultivate an olive tree.

In a tent in a field in Bulgaria, I longed for that Sydney. Counted down the weeks and added dotty, self-improving points. Dreamt of long bright days and time, endless time. But it was only a trick of the light.

Like reading an old love letter, and – breathless calling the sender to reply. Only to find that they don’t remember writing. And would you mind, please, not calling again?

In another version, the film noir, I lean over to the girl at the table and let slip: you don’t live there, never will. It’s just a trick of the light.

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1 August, 2012

Thredbo kiss

On the bus from Sydney to the ski slopes, Tracie, our managing director, decides we all need shaking up. Six hours is too long to keep sixty work colleagues entertained on just comp copies of Who and a tin of chupachups. We are in the post Maccas pit stop haze, well into the booze. The air is sweaty, the toilet clogged. There are hours still to go.

Over the PA, she gives instructions: everyone swap seats and share with your new buddy your most embarrassing moment. Then retell this moment to the entire bus.

I find myself up the back, next to one of the characters of our agency. He has legendary status. I am the innocent freshly minted media assistant, too serious to say boo. As we chat, he sucks on a straw poking from a soccer ball and calls me ABC.

I offer some lame story about a pregnant teacher and a school assembly. In truth, it’s a struggle. I realise that ‘most embarrassing moment’ stories should probably be work-shopped offline; the way job interviewees might prepare their greatest flaw. I need to improve my material.

He, on the other hand, does not. His story is sexy, wild, crude. Hilarious. The punch line is something from Urban Dictionary. I can’t believe what I’m hearing. And I can’t believe that in a few moments I will have to relay this to scores of people I have only recently met.

Time, time. It gets to my turn. I borrow some courage and take to the stage. On a square foot of carpet beside the driver, microphone in one hand, RTD in the other. Swig. Breath. I tell his story.

[You are sitting in the seat at my elbow. I don’t look at you, even once. But my body knows you’re there. I listen for your warm laugh, pause for your gasp. I am telling this story to you. This performance is for you.]

Maybe it was just the quality of the tale. Maybe it was the mismatch of prudish new girl and talk to make the sailors blush. Either way, it brings the bus down. Everyone thinks I am some genius storyteller. It goes down in agency history and a year on they will beg me to tell it again. In fact, I am just an excellent mimic who lucked out on material.

I would feel like a fraud and not think of it again, except that later, on our eighth anniversary, with the baby asleep, you reveal that this story was the moment you fell for me.

[Black Sambuca. Ice cube. Stussy and fishnets. Silent night. Ears ringing.

‘Is there something between us?’

In the fluorescents of the River Inn. Mini snowdrift by the doors. Hand on my elbow.

‘Wait. Can we just…’

{You thought, I need to kiss this girl}

So you did.

Thank Tracie for that.]

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29 July, 2012

Well-told love stories seduce me - there’s something electric and intensely sexy about an on-screen romance. If I’m sitting in the audience and the chemistry works, my heart beats a little faster – I fall in love a little bit too.

Nick King, the writer, director and co-producer of MARLA, the Australian short film  premiering in the Orizzonti section of the 2012 Venice International Film Festival.

I’m making my screen debut in this film, as ‘bar patron number three’. I’ll remember you when I’m famous.

[A few weeks back I crept into a cinema in Paddington to watch its first screening with cast and crew. It’s strange and beautiful. My heart beat a little faster. And the moment it ended I wanted to watch it again.]

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