Don’t you forget about me
Night-time, mid-week and liberated by fake ID we’re out. My teenage friend is sprawled across a car bonnet boyfriend on top riding and grinding her. It’s a quality car so the bonnet can take it. She’s a year younger than me and her parents don’t let her out much. Once out she’s prone to these pornographic displays or dramatic violent fights with this boy. The boy’s not allowed out much either, needs to be controlled. He likes to escape from boarding school and we love it because it’s exciting to hide him. Later I’m told that when you get my friend alone, clothes off she’s actually pretty frigid. Exploded into puberty, pneumatic and not ready for the way she’s built.
Tonight, she’s staying at mine, so I have to stick around. I don’t know where to look or where to stand. I look away and there you are on a skateboard, leaving the video store. Perhaps that’s what catches my eye you don’t often see tall guys on skateboards as. I’m tipsy, brave, and reckless and I call out ‘Hey, you come here.’ I don’t know my next line shit but I’m quick and I have swagger. I do the usual ask your, name, age, school whether you’re studying for exams. I can tell you like that I’m coming on strong, your smile is quick. never heard of your school so you won’t be connected to me. Perfect. You ask for my number.
I enter your world, you’ll rarely come to mine. We start each other up. Parks, against walls outside eighteenths, the parents’ bedrooms at the twenty-firsts. I’m impatient and you’re a willing partner. We know nothing, then everything in a matter of weeks.
I love being your girlfriend that year and watching you play. The game makes sense knowing a player’s body inside out. In your world the gaze feels different, less pressure, I put it down to a Catholic education. The girls are hard though, rough and wary. I learn the pressure is on them to do what we’re up to, but they have more at risk, I put it down to a Catholic education.
At my school the girls are competitive. How many times? How many positions? Did you get there? Prince is big that year and we love doing it like he tells us to and getting grimy. But mainly we are careful knowing better than to share too much about our powers and our pace.
You finish school.
I learn on a night, southside and further south than we usually go that sometimes I need to have your back and, as your girlfriend, I’m also chink in your armour. They arrive the other team hunting you down demanding a fight. You refuse and then there’s a pause. You don’t know, but one of these guys has grabbed my crotch, hard. It feels revolting, I can’t speak and it’s all moving too quick, the violence is palpable. You talk them down. They leave. We talk about it later and you tell me that you’re glad I stayed quiet because if I hadn’t you would have had to fight him. That feels so fucked up.
We fade. I’m getting busy and you get lost in hating on the privilege at the university you work so hard to get into. We lose our privacy because my cousin moves in and we can’t do what we always did best together, so I begin seeing see you as practice for my next big thing. You leave, it’s a girl hanging around the club, such a cliché so I snatch your brother’s friend, right from your under cousin’s nose, he has a cool car and likes to boast. Pretty boring but it sees me through my exams.
We aren’t friends but a couple of years later you’ll seek me out. I’ll say yes, curious and I’m surprised you are so serious. You’re leaving town for the country and you think it will be better. You’ll play and get out of the city’s scene. You tell me you think your drinking’s out of hand, but the doctor told you if you played a team sport, you would be fine. You laugh and it’s bitter. I ask if you’re seeing anyone you tell me not really but have known a lot of women. Apparently, it’s easy in the places you go. I’m disappointed, thought you had something more than that and I think the screwing around might have broken you a bit. We try again, tearing at one another but it’s not the same. You keep wanting to know if I remember you, your body your touch. I don’t; and that’s sad so I make it stop. Nostalgia isn’t going to get us there tonight.
It will take thirty years, but I will hear you in a song, what we did what we made. To the music, I’ll decide to hold your smile and the way your eyes lit on that first night. I will know then that it’s better to know a body, learn it together. I will feel glad to have known you and for you to have known me with no harm done to one another. By then I will also know for lovers that’s really rare.
Shannon-Kate Archer is a Melbourne based lawyer. She is de-cluttering her mind after enduring one of the world’s longest lockdowns alongwith the rest of her city. Shannon-Kate is determined to reduce her life stories to under 1000 words. So far she is succeeding.