[Author’s Note: Originally written April 2014]
It was a dream; that he was sure of. Although to be more accurate it was a memory of a dream, a vastly different thing. It was as vivid to him as last Tuesday. There was nothing particularly fascinating about last Tuesday but only in the sense that it was recent history. Some memories are like old photographs. The more you pull them out and look at them, the quicker they fade. Like an ex-lover’s face, clouded by time. Mouse-brown hair, that’s the first thing you remember. The hair, it’s always the most vivid part of his memory of people. Mouse brown, and at twelve that would be the best way to describe this girl. She was small and meek like a mouse; at least he recalls her being that. Her later bombastic personality would contrast that, but perhaps she had always been bombastic and he had misjudged her character. It was not impossible, he had pretty self-absorbed in his youth. He often used to think about his life like The Truman Show. He was Truman and everyone was in on the idea that his reality was crafted. He no longer thought that. How self-absorbed to think you are the only ‘real’ person. He tried to recall the girl some more. She was small, with teeth that seemed to be too big for her mouth. He liked that about her though. Perfection would be boring. She was interesting. All the women he had been interested in had that factor of interesting.
“Have I ever told you this story?” he asked her.
Florence made a face, a thoughtful disgust. It was evident that she felt uncomfortable. He shouldn’t have done this. He definitely shouldn’t have done this. He valued her friendship.
“You dreamed about me?” she asked, reeling.
“Yeah, well sort of. Instinctively I know it was a dream once. But it’s something more now, it’s a memory” he struggled with each word. “…particularly vivid too.”
“But it’s not real Dave” she asserted.
“Of course not. I understand that it’s not real. It’s a real memory, but also a fake memory” he rationalised.
She was agitated now. He saw it on her face.
“You start spouting that Orwellian doublethink shit again; I swear to the goddess I will hurt you” she spat, with noted poison.
They sat in silence. The silence was unnerving. A still rage that she had within her; the green eyes that could freeze you in place with their hard gaze.
“You can be a real shit sometimes, you know that” she confessed to him.
“I know” he answered her.
The two then laughed. It quickly diffused the tension between the two. The silence was now more comfortable. The scene continued in its typical sense. The awkward dream forgotten, the discussion moved to the current actions of their fellow friends. The drastic hair changes of their mutual friend, Arianna. The rest of the scene seemed to fade away, unimportant to the narrative he was constructing in his mind of the day.
The first thing he saw was the bobbing of bubble gum pink hair among the crowd of browns, and yellows. He turned to greet her when he spied her expression in a gap in the crowd. Wrong plan, she was pissed. He turned and walked away in the other direction hoping she wouldn’t see him. His near six feet gave him away though. She caught up to him.
Shit. Double shit. Triple shit sundae. His mind raced. Think of something to say. Think of something to say.
“I… yes… no… maybe…”
Great going genius. She went straight up to him and stared him in the face. Even though she was approximately five inches shorter than him he felt incredibly small. She tended to have that effect. She punched him in the arm.
“How long?” she asked.
“Couple months” he confessed.
“Damn it Dave, I’m your best friend. Don’t you trust me with this stuff?” she asked him.
“Don’t take it personally. I don’t trust anyone with this stuff. I usually just let it pass”
He truly meant that. Six years of the same old thing had taught him not to trust himself. The heart was a fickle bitch sometimes, especially his heart.
“You need to deal with your shit, Dave” she told him.
“I know you’re right but every time I try to, I keep making the same mistakes” he admitted.
The two walked down the hallway, once again reaching this peaceful middle ground. It was common for them. She taught him to be better, and in return he calmed her. Symbiotic, but always platonic. He might have once had romantic feelings for her once, but that was a long time ago. A memory of a dream, that was all that remained.
It was bin night. He wheeled the maroon lidded bin out to the curb as it rained. For the sake of speed he had chosen to go shoeless. He regretted it quickly. At the same time the next door neighbour was taking out her trash. He only looked up for a second but she caught his eye.
“Hey, what’s your name?” she asked, standing in the cold with a shaped leather vest clung to her magnificent body. Her faded blue hair shone in the moonlight.
His mind raced. Think of something clever to say.
“Yes” his mouth betrayed him again.
“Hi Yes. I’m Ivy” she told him.
Well that failed. Try again.
“Yes” he blurted. That didn’t work.
“Hey Yes, you’re interesting. Tell you what, you free tomorrow evening?” she asked.
This is unbelievable. This beauty, this Madonna in leather and blue hair was asking him to hang out. He was hanging out with Florence tomorrow but she would understand if she saw Ivy.
“Yeah, I’m free.” he lied, as such.
“So you do say more than yes?” she joked.
“Yes” he answered.
“Ok, see you tomorrow Yes. Ring the door whenever. Tell them that your Ivy’s friend” she told him.
He agreed and the two went back into their respective houses. His heart skipped along with the thought. Ivy, the blue-haired goddess. Arianna was gone from his mind. She was a childish crush, Ivy was a mature infatuation.
As soon as he returned home from school he went to his house. He threw his bag in his room and switched from his pale blue school wear into a pair of jeans and a red and black shirt. He walked across the street, confident in alluring Ivy, the older woman. She looked about 22. He had explained to Flo that he had a UFO, Unavoidable Family Outing. She had believed him. He knocked on the door of Ivy’s place. There was noise behind the door, a muffling that built until it peaked and the door opened. Standing in the doorway was a chiselled body with sandy blonde hair stuck straight up. He smiled an easy smile. This must have been Ivy’s boyfriend. Of course she had a boyfriend. Look how cool she was. The body extended a hand.
“I’m Nate. You must be Yes.” Nate greeted.
“Yes.” he squeaked.
“Holy fuck she was right. You do just say yes” Nate joked.
They both smiled. Nate moved his arm and indicated the way to Ivy. Dave squeezed past him. Why wasn’t he wearing a shirt? He felt the peach skin press against his arm. Nate closed the door behind him.
“I’m going to get back to training. Ivy’s in the lounge room with Dawn” Nate told him.
Dave made his way to the lounge room. The place was clean, but you could tell that it was a share house. The rundown furniture while the fridge, TV, and beds stood immaculate all spoke to the resident’s priorities. True to Nate’s word Ivy and Dawn were waiting on the couch, worn at the sides but soft as a marshmallow, burgundy red in colour. Ivy was wearing a black band shirt and blue jeans. Dawn dressed in a blue dress with white polka dots, going down to the knees. Dawn had a smile as warm as her name and long honey blonde hair. Why were all these Uni girls so god damn attractive? He sat on the couch as if it was normal.
“Dawn, this is Yes. He lives next door. He hasn’t told me his actual name.”
He felt calmer now.
“Dave. The guy who let me in, Nate. Is he someone’s?”
He was hoping to scope out that he was Ivy’s boyfriend. Dawn spoke.
“Nate’s my boyfriend. But he is pretty, isn’t he?” Dawn joked.
“I didn’t… I mean I’m not…” Dave sputtered.
The two girls laughed at him. He blushed and sat down next to Dawn. Dawn threw her arm around him in a friendly way while Ivy threw her arm around Dawn with her hand outstretched to lie on Dave’s shoulder. Christ, she had long arms. She was tall too. Like an Amazonian beauty nearing six feet. He sat with them and together they watched Repo! The Genetic Opera. It was exactly the sort of movie he’d expect these cooler Uni girls to watch. None of the girls his age would ever think of watching this gore fest musical.