Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rip Van Winkle

He fell asleep sitting on a school chair in the hot shed, pin holes of light shining through the corrugated iron and spearing his body, his head dropping so that his whitened chin bristles touched his chest.
He dreamed he gave six men his clothes in the desert and the sun shone right through his body and the heat drove him to the sea. He was young then and lying on the beach with the sun beating down on his shoulders. Beautiful girls, screams of babies, chatter, salt water and seagulls. His body was supple, lithe and the warmth of the girl beside him thrilled him. Her hip touched his as she rolled over on the towel. His life, as seen between the crook of his arm and striped towel, was like the flowering red, yellow and green of a psychedelic movie and full of sex, that is all he was.
He woke with a start in the workshop, saw the tools lying against the forge, his boots; the leather worn off the toes and steel shining through. He woke in the middle of a stinking hot day, in a shed in Fremantle, an old man.


  1. Fuck yeah! I can relate to that. When you start to distrust that the face in the mirror actually belongs to you. Like the Talking Heads song: 'That's not my beautiful *insert appropriate noun* - how did I GET here?'

    Nice writing.

  2. It's funny Michelle, you look no different to me in twenty years! But yes, being in our own bodies and waking up from a luscious dream, old, not nice.
    Now, where did I put that last decade?

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  4. " The best part was having the girls arrive and sitting with them on the grass, or just watching them and talking with them as they swam and we sat or we sat and they swam, sometimes playfully wrestling each other into the scalloping blue light of the deep end, touching off each other as we rose, light hands on smooth shoulders, cool clear water flicked from our hair as we broke the surface, flashing droplets across the sun bright air. Them in their bikinis and us in our board shorts, we were lithe young things, each of us on the edge of our adolescence, graduating into it like the returning end of a neap tide. We were at the very beginning, fronting that exciting unstoppable climb, caught unknowing in subtle motion, riding it, going with it, creeping forwards by nature, catching glimpses but with no true knowledge of what lay ahead. "

  5. " The presence of our innocent selves at work in the physical world back then leaves a series of images and interpretations that almost defy description. It was as if something inanimate, the ethereal nature of nature itself, was living on or in you. Something faint enough to pass your immediate attention yet strong enough to retain a life long impression; like those sun glinting drops sprayed from your hair, like a triangle of light breaking through the leafy shade and resting on your elbow, like the fabric of your bathers drying around you, slowly lifting from your flesh to dislocate tiny pockets of air that burst their cool touch upon your sex. "

  6. Yay! Who? Maybe you?
    I don't have quite the same feeling of dismay as expressed by the dreaming man when he woke, I have to say. Life seems to get more interesting and less constricting. Maybe I've always been a gunnabe rather than a wasonce. Dunno.

  7. Yeah, me.. We had a swimming pool. At the moment I'm definitely a onceler but I'm still working on being a gunnabe. There's more of that there above. It runs all the way to the inevitable first time I, um, err, you know, it happened.. :-)

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    1. (She smiles)
      Sorry for deleting your other comment but you'd dunnit twice.

  9. Thanks ST, that's good news to me, but I think I have always stared hard into the mirror and the face I see these days looks very different to me. I don't deny there are real advantages to being this age and I definitely wouldn't want to go back 30 years. I guess you just can't have everything.