Shoes in puddles
I drove back to my old hometown yesterday, for an appointment at the old clinic, and I wanted to visit the library.
I guess I never really paid much attention to the old International Ipswich Hotel. Even the red light-up letters are dirty and tattered. So I guess that's why, in 18 years it never occurred to me that it is directly across the road from the library that I used to visit so much.
It sounds weird, and the significance of the place isn't explained particularly easily.
I only ever visited the hotel once, for my formal evening a couple days before I graduated, just over a year ago now. It was raining, on the brink of storming badly, and the weather was similar yesterday when I finally noticed the hotel. I guess the night of my formal I wasn't paying attention to the location, I mean, Liam's grandpa drove us there. I'm saying that I got a slight shock yesterday, when I realized.
I was getting a little wet but I froze against a bus stop sign, and surveyed the place. I imagine that to any stranger looking on it would've seemed strange. I could practically feel my eyelids narrowing, my forehead lines folding while I looked.
It all looked different, too. All I could think was something along the lines of - "fuck this."
Okay, that was a margin of what I was thinking. I wanted to walk over to the place, wanted to sit where my good friend and I sat over a year ago. I could see the exact spot. Could feel my heart creaking, creaking, creaking open. Not without protest.
What happened was, I got sick that night, maybe from the food or maybe from the people. The fever started while we were posing for photographs and listening to speeches, and it lasted for a week or so after graduation. I stayed up late in Sydney for five nights in a row, curled up in blankets in our holiday hotel room, despite how hot it was.
But I didn't foresee that at the time. I just knew I felt wrong, and I was scared.
Long story short, this story involves a boy coming to my aid; beautifully and historically cliche in nature. By the end of the night my makeup was gone; only the remainders of a red stain on my lips were left. My hair was fucked, and the bottom of my dress was wet. We won't go in to what happened to my shoes. I fulfilled an old fantasy of mine by leaving them in a puddle.
The significance: it was the first time anything like that happened to me, the first time someone I cared about treated me like I mattered a whole lot.
Him and I don't talk anymore, but its still a good story. I believe it is, anyway.
I got in the car and tore off my jacket and I drove home. Yesterday, I mean.
The night of, my mum picked me up early and I slumped in the passenger seat staring at raindrops. At home, my mum helped take tear off my dress and I lay on our old couch, shaking. And I was the happiest I'd ever been.
I spent the entire trip to Sydney - when I wasn't curled up in bed - trailing my fingers on lamp posts and bridge railings and stone walls, thinking about what happened at that dumb hotel.
dumb dumb dumb dumb memories
the photo is one I took on a ferry, with mum in Sydney.