Sarah Blasko

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.

YEN - - CONTENTS - WORDS SARAH BLASKO

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.

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