In the lead up to her new album, Eternal Return, out early November, we asked Ms Blasko to put pen to paper and share four short stories from her life.
The child felt embarrassed. Scuffing her shoes against the footpath, she kept her eyes down as she stood outside the church, alone during morning tea. Maybe no one would notice. Perhaps if she just kept looking towards the broken pavement and didn’t make eye contact with anyone no one would pay her any attention and she could get away with it. She pleaded for a way out by craning her neck in the direction of her mother, but her mother didn’t see her. She turned to her father but he was engrossed in conversation. Her sister was nowhere to be seen. She was alone and vulnerable to the queries of any passerby. As if her worried mind could be heard, an older boy skated past her and loudly interjected: “It’s not easy being green!” The child could feel her nose scrunch up and her shoulders shrug as though she were cowering away from a low-flying bird. Oh dear, what she feared would surely now descend upon her! Out from the corner of her left eye she could indeed feel the snickers of a couple of little girls in plaits, their beautiful dresses perfectly pressed and prepared for their Sunday parade, and conversations around the courtyard seemed to momentarily hush. The older boy circled around the child and stopped as though he were there to help her, and continued, “Do you realise you’re wearing all green? I mean, where do you even get green shoes from?!” She had warned her mother that people would notice and laugh at her, but her mother had assured her she was being silly and insisted she wear the entirely green outfit to church. A green skivvy, green pants and, as the older boy had helpfully pointed out, a pair of green lace-up shoes. The little Kermit girl cried all the way home. None of the four teenage girls knew exactly what they wanted to do that night, they just knew they wanted to do something without the knowledge of their parents. It wasn’t really about what they were going to do, it was the secrecy of it all that mattered. They told their parents they were at each other’s houses which seemed an intricate web that was unbreakable and surely had them fooled. Their plan was to walk the streets with a bunch of boys they knew. The boys smoked a bong and the girls each nervously had a go. One of the girls pretended she felt the effects, although wasn’t sure why she felt the need to lie. She wanted to fit in, I suppose. It was the same reason she smoked almost an entire packet of Winfield Blues and drank several Midori and lemonades. They caught a train simply because they could and to nowhere in particular. To their horror, standing further down the platform, was one of the girl’s fathers. He was going to work a late shift and the only way to escape his view was to run across the tracks and jump over a fence. They did so with the kind of supernatural strength that one can only muster when in threat of a grounding. Unnoticed they might have been by him, but when they arrived home the next morning they discovered they’d been undone by one phone call between two parents and the effect was domino-like, until each set of parents knew. Three girls were grounded, the other faced a more complex punishment. She was told that God had been looking out for her as she walked those dark and dangerous streets. From that time on the girl felt like she was under some kind of spiritual surveillance and it created in her a much greater fear than any kind of grounding ever could.
She looked in the mirror, darkened with age at the edges in their depressing old beachside flat, and said to herself, “You do realise that this is going to be the most difficult time of your life, don’t you, and you are bringing it upon yourself and there is no going back?” She knew it was so, but she felt she had no choice. Change – dramatic, life-altering change – was all she could think of and it felt as though she was choosing to jump off a cliff. Exhilarating and terrifying all at once. She walked into their lounge room that evening and told him it was over. For good. She could never have guessed how he would respond to this sudden news, and as the months went by she’d often wonder: if his reaction had been different, would she have decided to stay after all? But, his reaction was dramatic in the extreme and it strengthened her decision. He pleaded with her, down on his knees, weeping and screaming, “No, stay!” Thrusting himself between her and the door, his arms outstretched. She felt colder than she knew she was as she looked down on him crying at her feet. Within a day he had shaved his head of its playful curls, dark circles hollowed out his eyes and he became so unrecognisable to her that it made it much easier for her to leave. It felt cruel to admit it, but it was horribly true. He acted so quickly on her words that she had no chance to even consider changing her mind. There was no way back to him, he was already a stranger. He sold some belongings she’d left behind at a car boot sale and cleared out the apartment within a couple of weeks until their was no trace of what they were together. The only evidence she had was some photos and a ring. Standing in the doorway he cooly waited for her though she was 20 minutes late. Making her apologies she knew she sounded as though she was lying but she was not. Her phone had run out of credit in the Parisian subway and she had no way to let him know that her train was cancelled and that she had to wait for another train, which took her on a lengthier route. It sounded like bullshit because the Paris Metro was known for its efficiency and in truth she had not experienced one single terminated train in all her time there over those past months. When she felt that something sounded like a lie she always seemed to make it worse by over-explaining the situation to the point that it almost became one. He shyly nodded and seemed to almost believe her, but in that gentle look she knew that women had lied to him many times before. Neither of them knew if this was a date or not. They were doing “drinks” and “dinner” because he happened to be in town. Secretly they both hoped it was and five carafes of wine later they both knew it most definitely was. They grew more confident, telling each other things that they might usually share on a fifth or sixth date and then he bought her a rose from one of those sellers that target people in romantic settings because she dared him to. The conversation was easy, a familiarity already apparent. As they finally left the bar, she pretended she was cold and so he put his arm around her. Well the truth is she was a bit cold, just probably not as cold as she let on. As they reached a graffitied alleyway he held her close and planted a decisive kiss on her lips that made her realise that, though he was shy, he knew what he wanted. She respected that and reciprocated the kiss.