Part 3: Letting You In

Kick-on Cameron’s room for the weekend had a ceiling fan, a digital alarm clock on top of a bedside table (unplugged for phone chargers), a queen size bed with white linen, a mirror on the wall and a small en suite. The sun was creeping around the edges of the blinds. He half woke up, grabbed his phone and checked the time. 11:30am.

He could hear Overshare Claire in the shower as his eyes adjusted to the notifications on his lock screen. Gram, gram, messenger, whatsapp, gmail, imessage. Got all day to check that.

He put his phone back down, stared at the fan and began to consider the potential situations presented by the fact that his recent ex is now showering in the en suite of his bedroom after an amazing early morning session driven by tension and the feeling that maybe they were doing the wrong thing.

It was fine at 6am when they were high af, but what about at midday when their sore heads had taken the focus off the passion?

Kick-on Cameron tried to concoct a plan in his dusty, dusty head:

Maybe lying here and pretending to sleep will make her more comfortable when she comes out of the bathroom. She can do what she wants on her terms. The only problem is that leaving the ball in her court gives her the opportunity to leave without addressing what happened. Did I want last night to happen? Of course. Do I want it to happen again? Maybe. Yes. No. Maybe.

What if I sit on the end of the bed on my phone, so when she comes out I can casually say hey but I have a crutch to go back to if she regrets last night and wants to avoid me/get out of here as quick as possible. Horrible idea.

What if she wants me out of here before she gets out of the shower? Maybe I should pack my stuff now and just have a shower when I get home. Would probably be easier to just scoot out of here and text her saying I had to run. That way it can open up into a larger conversation about where we stand without it having to be face to face.

Well, what if I got in the shower with her? Be confident. Pick up where we left off. Knock on the door, say “it’s me” and slowly open the door and see what her reaction is. I won’t overcommit to the idea and just barge in, obviously. I’ll have some tact, feel it out. She’ll probably be down. I’ll just hop in the shower behind her, kiss her on the neck and run my hands down her arms. Just pick up where we left off last night.

But what if that goes horribly wrong? What if she yells at me to get the fuck out and give her some privacy? Then the whole thing goes to shit. I don’t even know what I want beyond the immediate. Maybe I should just call out to her and let her know I’m up, then see what kind of mood she’s in. What should I say though? “Hey”? “Morning, Claire”?

Ok here goes.

“You right in there?”

He heard her aggressively blow her nose before she yelled back from inside the bathroom.

“My nose is fucked hey. That bag was about 10% rack I reckon. The rest was just ground pollen. Or some shit.”

Kick-on Cameron realised that maybe things will be ok.

Posted on February 22, 2017 .

Part 2: Unsent Letter

It was the morning of the wedding, and while most of the girls were deep into their preparation, Overshare Claire was sitting out the back of the house rummaging for rolling tobacco. She threw her empty pouch on the table which was still covered in the night before’s flotsam/jetsam. With a filter in her mouth she looked across at Kick-on Cameron, sat by himself on his phone and doing his best to ignore her. “Chuck us some angel hair?”

She presented herself to Kick-on Cameron with a level of familiarity that made him feel uneasy. His experience had always been that after a break up, both parties would pretend to be civil to the point of awkwardness. Overshare Claire’s approach had been anything but.

“Alternatively, can I have a big boy dart?”

An affirmative gurgle slowly slumped Kick-on Cameron into tepid action. Turns out all the pouches on the table were empty, and there were only two darts left in a pack of ice blasts. “There’s two here, but I don't know who they belong to.” He lofted the pack to her and she caught it (pretty fucking well, too... Shit throw.)

“Ugh. Fucking menthols.”

Angel hair for uni darts > scabbed tailors > Ugh. Fucking menthols.

“Beggars,” snapped Kick-on Cameron.

“I know, I know. But still… Ugh.” She pivoted and sat, lighting the fucking menthol. They sat silently on their phones for a few minutes, then Overshare Claire piped up.

“What are you wearing today?”

“White shirt, black slacks, black tie.”

“No jacket?”

“No jacket.”

“Wanna know what I’m wearing? We’re matching.”

Overshare Claire was softening him, maybe to just make it less awkward for the others when they would eventually be surrounded by them.

“I’m wearing that black and white stripy number.” She put her fucking menthol out and stood up. “Come grab me when you’re dressed, we should pinch some matching flowers too. I’ll pin one on ya.”

But then, maybe she wasn’t trying to just make it less awkward for the sake of everyone else.

Off she went, leaving Kick-on Cameron to ponder what the fuck just happened. People came and sat at the table in different states of readiness over the next half hour. Kick-on Cameron sat there, face in his phone, staring at a draft message to Overshare Claire and only looking up when either addressed or when someone would sit next to him and he would have to lock his phone screen.

What was that just then? Im not sure what you’re trying to do?

What was that this morning? Im not sure what you’re trying to do?

Not sure what that was this morning. Are you certain about what you’re trying to do?

15 minutes of drafting and he hit send on this:

-Good chat. No gerberas thanks.-

Shit house.

He put his phone in his pocket and tried his hardest to not think about it. He went to his room and ironed his shirt. He polished his shoes with his sock. He pumped back-to-back fucking menthols from a fresh pack he had in his backpack. He checked his phone. Two big blue ticks next to his last whatsapp message letting him know it was seen. No reply.

Casual drinks before the ceremony, she spent her time talking with the bride’s parents.

During the ceremony, she stood with Pretty Penny’s work friends.

Casual drinks after the ceremony, she laughed and laughed with some of the other wedding goers sharing a joint behind where the marquees were set up.

Then before dinner she came over to Kick-on Cameron with a flower in her hand and gestured as if to ask if she could pin it to his shirt pocket.

“It’s not a fucking gerbera is it?”

“Ew, no.” She pinned it to his shirt and straightened his tie. “You look really nice.”

Big inhale. Big exhale.

“I’m sorry things went to shit. Tbh (***editor’s note: I like to think she actually said those letters***) I kind of wish they hadn’t, and I think having a bit of space has helped me realise it.”

“Ok.” Kick-on had hoped for this opportunity but hadn’t thought about how he would approach it.

“You gotta have more than that, Kick-on.”

He searched his brain, browsing all the things he’d been endlessly assessing in his head for the past two weeks.

Big inhale. Big exhale.

“Ok. I’m sorry. And I wanna do better. I fucked it……”

This descended into mutual repeated apologies for various things normal people would probably never be sorry for, and climbed slowly into overly familiar flirting. That type of flirting that you do with an ex (possibly the most dangerous flirting ***editor’s note: if ‘flirt’ was spelt ‘flert’, it would be kind of gross***).

The rekindled flerters had a cheeky pash and went about their evenings relieved of their burdens.

Speeches were great. Dinner was ok. DJ was somewhere in between (depending on who you ask). It was officially over at midnight. The communal table disbanded around 6am.

At 5:45am, Kick-on had gotten a reply to that whatsapp.

-First room to the left of the side door yea?-

-yea x-
Posted on February 15, 2017 .

Part 1: Twilight Driving

Kick-on Cameron had never been to Tumut. Or at least not to his memory. His holidays had always taken him north, chasing warmer climates and partaking in the yearly festival pilgrimages. Two friends from his inner circle, D&M Dan and Pretty Penny, were getting married tomorrow and so he was to visit Tumut (home of The Festival Of The Falling Leaf) for the very first time.

He drove down by himself. There were enough beds for everyone on the property they had hired, but if he got there early enough he wouldn’t have to share a room (a practice best reserved for non-smoking non-snorers and those less self conscious about their propensity to say weird shit while they slept). He didn’t have an issue with anyone that was going really; there were only 40 guests invited. Their group of friends had been thick as thieves since they were 19, and D&M Dan and Pretty Penny were both the sole children of hippy black sheep, so the family guestlist was brief.

There were a few hangers on that he hadn’t met. Pretty Penny worked at a reputable family law firm and her colleagues had quickly proven they were on the level after consecutive work drinks ended at Overshare Claire’s place in Darlington at 8am on a Saturday morning. D&M Dan’s cricket team had provided two men of a similar breed too. They’d taken this game off to be at the wedding (being off-head in a linen suit in Tumut seemed like a much better option than spending 85 overs going mid-on to mid-on in the shitty, shitty Lane Cove sun).

He pulled into the driveway of the property. A row of poplars acted as a barrier between the dirt road and the expansive lawn that the marquees for tomorrow’s festivities had been set up on. The podcast he was listening to (the Song Exploder episode about TuNe-YaRdS’ Water Fountain ***editor’s note: not a bad listen***) finished just as he pulled up in the open expanse left for cars next to the main house, next to a black Corolla that he knew all too well.

“Hi Cameron.”

His group of friends called him Kick-on; his family and workmates called him Cammy. The last time someone had called him Cameron was when he had to renew his driver’s license at the Service NSW in Marrickville Metro a few months ago.

“Hey Claire.”

He and Overshare Claire broke up a fortnight ago. They were driving back to her’s from D&M Dan’s holiday house in Anna Bay. A podcast about Hitler’s fascination with a piece of art called The Adoration Of The Mystic Lamb (***editor’s note: not a bad listen***) sparked the conversation. It kicked off as a discussion about how fascists would never be able to truly appreciate art and extended into Kick-on Cameron’s theory that the term “male artist” has been an oxymoron since the birth of the feminist movement (***editor’s note: until the advent of undividable Shia LeBouef***). This triggered a discussion about the male feminist, and whether a man could truly class themselves a feminist having not been fully immersed in the struggle. Kick-on Cameron had long been enemies with the term “feminist ally.” They were about to turn off the F3 into Turramurra when it went to shit.

“You think you’re so fucking pure, so fucking great. You aren’t the barometer for ethical dilemmas, you know.”

“I never said I was. I just think the term ‘feminist ally’ cheapens how much I care about feminism.”

“Do you actually care though? It seems to me like you’re so worried about people perceiving you as some fucking all-knowing ‘woke’ guy that you forget to listen to the people around you… The people that your self-made pedestal actually affects.”

“What do you mean by that?”

The car went silent for a bit. Overshare Claire had yelled for the first time in their year long relationship. They had spent the past eight years as friends, the last one as lovers, and neither of them had even raised their voice at one another until now.

This was the start of many conversations about how Overshare Claire felt that Kick-on Cameron refused to give enough of himself to her, instead devoting himself to the people around him, and the image he wanted to maintain. He refused to buy into her read of the situation, instead saying that her insecurities were playing on her to the point of building a false idea of him in her mind that led her to question who he actually was. They got so deep in their differences that a week later they decided to call it a day. It was more civil than angsty, and more awkward than final.

His nerves had him fumbling his car keys as he stepped into the warm Tumut evening. They hadn’t spoken since they officially ended it, where they agreed that the next time they would see each other would be the wedding. Kick-on Cameron had hoped that he would’ve had some time to ease in when he got there, but there she stood. They half-committed to hugging each other, he grabbed his bags, nabbed a room to himself, took a deep breath, joined everyone out the back and rolled a joint. The only seat spare was next to her.

Posted on February 8, 2017 .