It was the first outing for my new hair-do. I was absurdly hopeful.

Thursday, 5 September, 1996

Hey Sis,

Another day dribbles by.  Actually, it hasn’t dribbled, it’s been a crawl over broken glass and razor blades.  I’ve had a shocking day.  So irritable.  Dunno what’s wrong with me.  I think I need a holiday to tell the truth.  I haven’t had once since you were here in December.

So what have I been doing?  Umm… I bleached my hair, I love it.  I’m getting fat again too.  I haven’t weighed myself or anything, but to tell the truth I’m not that worried about it.

I went to a party on Saturday night just passed.  It was for Quinn.  I went over to Pippa’s  old place first (she’s moved into Quinn’s house now that he’s going overseas. That’s what the party was for – a bon voyage thing).  I chatted to Nadia for a while.  I was all excited about this party.  It was the first outing for my new hair-do.  I was absurdly hopeful.  Any crutch will do.  So I sat around their lounge room in Richmond, munching corn chips and tzatziki dip, talking about how sexy I was going to be that night. (Cringe!)

We listened to some disco CD’s (Gloria Gaynor) and chatted.  Somehow or other the conversation got around to avoiding people, and I started talking about how just recently I’d been running in to a lot of old school chums.  Well, they weren’t chums really, but people I went to school with at any rate.  Thankfully on each occasion, both parties had decided to look the other way, pretending either to not have seen or not have recognized each other.  “But” I said, leaning forward to scoop more dip onto my corn chip, “I’ve got this horrible feeling that it’s all leading to some awful apotheosis of social awkwardness.  All these chance encounters, it’s a pattern.  I just wish I could see where it’s going.”  Oh how close I came to prescience, so close and yet so far.

We caught a taxi through a bottle shop and Pippa and Nadia bought a big bottle of vodka between them.  I had a small hip flask (the really small ones, 200ml or something) that I had stuck in Pippa’s freezer and two Japanes beers that come in these spiffy stainless steel cans.  I had my blue Adidas t-shirt on, faded 501’s and my brown corduroy/fur jacket.  My Adidas bag (I’m nothing if not co-ordinated) was straining at the stitching with everybodies’ booze. Tariq was there too, but he wasn’t drinking.

We got to the party in North Melbourne and went straight through the front door.  There was a couple engaged in “heavy petting” in the hall.  We squeezed past the undulating lovers and threaded our way out to the back yard, where the action was at.

My God, what a crowded party.  It was the most crowded thing I’ve ever been to, you could hardly move.  We stood in a small circle on a garden bed.  I had the ideal position, by back against the brick wall, surveying the party for potential victims of my charm.

Alas, as usual, I didn’t live up to my p-o-t-e-n-t-i-a-l. Then things took a turn for the worse.  Much, much worse.

So I’m standing there, in the garden, sipping my swish Japanese beer with my new hair-do, feeling sexier than James Brown, and who do I see?   Christopher-Mother-Fucking-Watts.

You might remember that I finally shook off Christopher by standing him up at four different pubs in one week.  It’s a feat I’ve never managed to repeat, and it’s something of which I’m rather proud.  It’s the Mount Everest of my rudeness.  A dizzy accomplishment I’ve never been able to reproduce.

He’s standing with his back to me, his head turned to one side in a three-quarter profile.  The one eye I can see is looking somewhere to the right of me.  I am in his peripheral vision, but he’s right in the centre of my field of vision.  Clever move on his part.  He has displayed himself, but put the onus on me to make contact.  I was a bit tipsy (not very, though. I knew what I was doing), having finished the vodka and moved onto the beer.  I did what came naturally.

I turned around and looked at the brick wall behind me.

“Hmm.  Fascinating brickwork here, Nadia.  See how they’ve put cement between the bricks?  Amazing, isn’t it?”  He stayed there for thirty seconds or so (you know how time stretches in these situations)and then said “I’m going to the pub.”

I breathed a sigh of relief and told my associates what was going on.  They laughed, asked why I didn’t say hello – that kind of thing.  About half and hour later, Christopher Watts a re-appearance.  Exactly the same thing happened.  Then it happened again about half an hour later.

I was exhausted by this stage, and I hadn’t stalked even one bird from the party.  I thought to myself “Oh fuck it.  If he comes back again I’ll say hello to the bastard.”  He never did though.

I did get one nibble.  There were these two gorgeous women there.  One blonde, one brunette.  The blonde gave me the eye, or so I thought.  Not wanting to make an ass of myself, I got Simon to do a check for me.  She looked at him, and then looked straight past to me.  My hopes were buoyed.  Then I got another look and I thought, this is it: I reckon she wants to talk to me.  I got closer and realized that she was absolutely gorgeous.  I mean, like, model good-looking.  I started to have doubts, but said Be strong J, be strong.  As I approached she looked up, her Barbarella hair curling outward at her shoulders.  Then the bitch sneered, right in my face.  My mouth curled downward and I pulled my head down into my shoulders (Aunty Mim style), backing away quickly.  There was no mistaking that look.  But I thought J, don’t be weak, have another pass.  So I cruised by on my way to the toilet, and it was more of the same.  I have no idea what I did wrong.  I never even spoke to her.  And with this I declare once more – I GIVE UP.  Sigh.

J

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