Saturday, January 26, 2013

Flight




There's a joy in the sadness of reaching the end, knowing all is over and there's little more to do. Resignation, completion, accepting the inevitable. She's flying and she's always been afraid of flying. Not this time, she's flying for him, with him, by his side. She's in his elemental world, soft breeze on her skin, skirt billowing, his hair wafting across her face as the Monopoly board red roofs rise to meet her.
 ***

"Jump with me? Or jump without me, but just jump," he'd teased. "The experience is inexplicable, the rush, the fear, the freedom, it's beyond awesome."

"I will!" She'd protested but never did the opportunity present itself again. Never did he ask again.

Even when the opportunity arose to skydive, she reneged using the excuse of expense. The fear of flying, falling, her heart bursting, wetting her pants in the waiting. She wouldn't do it. Even in planes the fear took hold. Her heart races, butterflies in her stomach flutter until she's in the air and out of control. In a state of panic, until she once again lands safely. Flying for her, is a metaphor for life and the way she lived; a necessary evil for a woman who likes to feel safe.

She'd always played safe, had responsibilities, children, work, debt. Her life was 'normal' yet often  full of regret. She wanted to jump but only with him, for him. Distance put paid to that.  He was the only dangerous thing she'd been involved with since they met. And dangerous he was. Emotionally dangerous, cruel sometimes, loving occasionally, friendly always. A risk taker with little care for himself, little care for others unless they proved useful to his purpose. They were tight but distant. He stopped asking after two years of avid persuasion. She regretted not having done it ever since. But now? Now she understands. As she plummets she feels it, she understands it, she understands him and the way he is. Was. It is exhilarating.

***

She caresses his face, her finger outlining his delicate features just millimetres from skin that last night had been hers. Close, warm, the moisture of their bodies still felt. The scent of their sex still latent upon her own skin.  She has photographs of him sleeping, in their tens, perhaps twenties but they're poor comparisons to the real thing, the slow rise and fall of expiration and sweet liquor on his breath. He's so beautiful when he sleeps. She brushes a wayward lock from hair that once was flaxen and thick, now retreating and graying, he still looks beautiful when he sleeps. She imagines flying with him, low level across fantasy landscapes. She his Lois Lane, he her Superman, whimsical and happy. Elevated in every sense, every sense stimulated her fear of flying eliminated. She imagines diving with  him, strapped close in his embrace. First the rush and then the gentle fall beneath silk.

He never really was hers except in these moments of sleepy pre-dawn when she can pretend. Try as she does, the moment does not last, he turns, oblivious to her as she leaves the comfort of his bed, the warmth of his body. "I will never forget you," she whispers upon unhearing ears, he rarely listened. She leaves before the sun rises. She has no affection for sad farewells and hails a taxi to the airport.

***
She hates the fuss. Having to be there early to ponder how she feels. How does she feel? Empty, lost, lonely amongst a sea of unknown faces in a foreign place. Some seem sad to be leaving, others happy to be reunited. All milling and checking in or bustling out. Her fear of flying causes gnawing in the pit of her belly, or is that the pain of departure? She cannot tell but just looks skyward and levitates among imagined clouds, the song he last played to her streaming live inside her head.

She watches lovers, reluctant to release their hold upon each other and imagines their scenario. Perhaps they are the the same as her, leaving someone for the last time. Moving on, travelling forward yet lingering in the lush of sweet lips as they kiss farewell. Remembering moments of a brief dalliance a secret passion, an untold romance. Locked in memory, never to fade but never to be fully realised. She's brought back to earth by the butterflies in her stomach. She doesn't want to go home. There's nothing for her there and nothing for her here and she's afraid to fly.

She hates the engine thrust. The roar and rumble as metal and rubber careen along the tarmac. This is the most dangerous time, she thinks...take off...and landing. Once in the air she can surrender her fear, glide sweetly over cotton cloud, pull a mask over her eyes and lose herself in him, in slumber, in flight. She will remember his softly spoken words, his kindness, his touch. Remember warm nights and cool dips beneath the stars of another sky. Bittersweet yet lovely. He is lovely.

Her fear of flying is almost overcome. She's travelled far for so little, and yet so much, and now on her return to normality, tears well. There's nothing left of her. He doesn't love her. Not the way he should. Not the way she needs. He simply isn't able. The emptiness is overwhelming. The fear fades as the cabin rattles and wheels leave the safety of Terra Firma. The city disappears beneath her. Red roofed houses diminish on a Monopoly board town.

The cabin splits and engines scream. Masks drop from obscured trap doors and panic ensues yet she is overwhelmed by calm, unfastens her seatbelt and lets heaven take her, as he had, with a gentle rush and warm caress. Sucked out, sucked in and falling fast as she had for him.  For a moment, she's holding his hand and sailing in thin air. Her dress billowing in the warm breeze, his hair flowing across her face, lips locked in a fatal flight. Her butterflies set free as she free-falls in his embrace.

***
He promised to take her skydiving, he never did. And now he never would, but she feels the exhilaration and she understands what he tried so hard to explain. She understands him as red roofs on the Monopoly board rush to meet her euphoric and fatal decent.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

In My Arms She Was Always Lolita

There's nothing remarkable about Katrina Gattins. She's diminutive, plain, and upon first glance just average. Mousey brown hair pulled into a neat ponytail exposes the face of an innocent young thing, clear complexioned and in who's mouth butter would not melt. She dresses conservatively; skirts below the knee or jeans on the weekend. Tops with sleeves and buttons, only one undone to reveal a tantalising peek at a thin gold chain around her slender neck. She wears tiny pearl studs in each lobe and her hands are unpolished but manicured. People notice her hands. They're expressive. She talks with her hands and slender fingers waving through the air shaping unseen models to accentuate her conversation. She's quietly spoken, studious, middle class. Kat is reliable, a good girl. The apple of her father's eye. Above all, Kat is a virgin, trustworthy and truthful. A good daughter, a wonderful child.

Adrian Collings is her crush. His picture adorns her bedroom walls. There he is, half naked wrapped in little more than a white towel and plastered all over her footballer's charity calendar. Oiled and tanned and staring intently into only her eyes, into her soul. She fingers his athletic form and traces the team tattoo, St George's Dragon emblazoned on a well-sculpted bicep. Most importantly to Kat, he belongs to her. He's always been hers. There's a blurred spot on the poster where she kisses it goodnight and another where her finger traces his navel to his groin.

She attends the games, usually with her Dad. He's a football nut as well, and with no sons to indoctrinate, he has taken Kat to every footy game since she was 11. That of course is where she first 'met' Collings at the pubescent age of 15, he's been in her sights ever since. He even gave her an autograph once, as the team left the gates to board the bus home. He smiled at her. One of those beaming victorious smiles. He smelled wonderful. Fresh from an after-game shower, his thick blonde hair slicked in a rather nerdy side-part that she adored. She'd managed a quick snap on her iPhone unbeknown to him, while he focussed on signing, "All my love Kat. Thanks for your support. XX"

***
That was all it took and a chance meeting with Collings one balmy evening. She'd wondered down to watch the team training and sat quietly on the sidelines. Her white singlet top clinging neatly to pert breasts and shorter than short Denims with pockets protruding at the front, showing off her summer-tanned legs. Her hair falling loose and tousling gently in the evening breeze. Collings couldn't help but notice. One thing led to another and a hand found its way into those shorts beneath the grandstand. She, besotted by the sweetness of his sweat and the provocation of his hands; he, delighted with the attentions of yet another young virgin good for the spoils. They didn't have sex that evening...but the next training night, he took it further, and the next. Until she was his dirty little secret. Too young to show off publicly but old enough to sate his testosterone driven urges. This is how they were. The teenager and the lascivious star. Clandestine meetings, hurried sex until one night she had the gall to ask him if he loved her.

"Love you? Seriously? Kat it's just sex. I have a girlfriend already. A woman, not a slip of a thing like you. I thought you understood that."

She pretended to, and he was too much of a dick to see the sadness in her eyes as he kissed her goodbye.

"Hey Kat!" He yelled after her, oblivious to the damage his words had caused, "Grand final next week, come to the after party...you can have my shirt!"

She didn't hear the lascivious snigger as he turned to join his teammates, wiping the smell of her sex from his intrusive fingers. She was too preoccupied with that damning line, "I have a girlfriend". How could she not have known? That blonde on his arm in so many newspaper photos was just a 'handbag', an accessory. She knew this for a fact. It was her that he loved. Her that he touched. Her that he wanted. All footy players had a beautiful woman to accompany into licensed premises. She only had a year to go before she too would be on his arm, dressed to kill.

***
Hailey Parry's party is on this weekend. She's turning 18, a fact that riled Kat who had another six months before her 18th birthday. Still, the party presented the perfect alibi for a night's deception seeing as the Dragons are playing at ANZAC stadium.  Kat knows her parents will never let her go to the after-party unchaperoned. She's too young for entry into clubs and this event was being held at one of Sydney's most prestigious.  Hailey is 'clued' up. She's not a close friend and missing Kat at her party is no big deal.  Kat can make it back to the shindig well in time for her father to collect her, without arousing any suspicion.
 
They win of course. The mighty Dragons. Armed with a fake ID and the courage of a dragon slayer, she heads into the 'ladies room' after the game.  The little black dress secreted in her handbag is slipped over newly purchased underwear, better suited to someone twice her age. It's seductive and she's slight but shapely and fills it well. The dress is tight and short, very short.  She releases her hair from the confines of her ponytail and fingers through enough product to add volume. She begins to twist masses of contrived curls around her index finger before letting tresses cascade over her shoulders.  Lips normally glossed are coloured. She adds lashings of mascara and a little 'baby doll' blush. Pearls are traded for danglies and girlish pumps for vampish heels. Yes she's proud, she could easily pass for 20.

She arrives early and the bouncers let her in. There's no stopping pretty girls after a Premiership win, even if they do suspect her ID is dubious. Pretty girls are good for business. The music's pumping, occasionally punctuated by the team song as a rambunctious bunch of supporters looking a little odd in Tuxedos rather than their team colours. They sing the team song and clash steins of beer, "We are the St George boys,we had a win today. We are the boys you know of, who show them how to play!"

She smirks at the lame lyrics . . no . . she knows how to play! They're just idiots.

She brushes against Collings but doesn't stop to say hello. She feels his hand across her back as she sashays towards the dance floor. She turns to look at him, moving her body provocatively and smoothing her hands down her silhouette and smiling a Lolita smile. There's a pole positioned on a podium in the centre of the dance floor and she knows how to work it. She's snaked around it like a pro and he's squirming and teasing while he's leaning at the bar. He likes what he sees. And his regular date, Jenna couldn't make it tonight. A rapid dose of gastro had her driving the porcelain bus. Normally he'd have stayed home but hey, Grand Finals don't come often and he's not sacrificing his night of nights. He's not passing up the opportunity for a bit of slap and tickle with his beneath-the-grandstand nymphet.  She's a cute kid really but she looks much older  tonight.

Collings is huge. Even when sitting he towers over those on each side of him. He has the tell-tale posture of a boxer or footballer. Thick neck, once broken nose and a suit off the shelf that's clearly a size too tight. He's more comfortable in a track suit or shorts and the tie constricts his bullish neck as he fidgets with the knot, loosening and tightening until the man next to him grabs his wrist, whispers 'Relax' and lowers his hand towards a waiting bourbon and coke.

Done with her little dance, she surrenders the pole to another and walks towards him. He drinks, she flirts and resolve is loosened. They talk, she swoons. He has his arms around her, hands planted on her buttocks. She moves and rubs and resolve melts.  She loosens his tie and undoes the top button of his over-starched shirt.  She twists around, her back to his front, his arms still around her waist. She backs into him and he's afraid to move from the bar unless others see his obvious arousal. She turns and looks up at him as he's pressing into her, "You staying here tonight?" she asks.

"Yeh, got a room upstairs."

He's still trying to resist, they're in a public place and their previous shenanigans have been relatively private. Then the others aren't paying attention, and most are three sheets to the wind. He's not the sharpest tool in the shed, a sandwich short of a picnic his coach would say. She feels good, curvy, willing and her breath is warm on his chest.

"Will you show me?" She whispers, with promise in her voice.

They giggle in the lift as he swaggers a little. That last Bourbon and Coke has gone to his head.  He swipes his card and they tumble into the room. He plants face first on the bed and groans, then lies on his back. She stands on the end of the bed and removes her dress. She's surprisingly curvaceous and he smiles at the firm breast she's caressing with blood red fingernails. Her hand moves and glides down toward her belly and down the front of the lace frill on her panties... she chose well. She looks like a centrefold. He's about to explode and grabs her by the back of the knees so that both fall into each other and mouths connect. This one's a firebrand, a fire breather, hot to trot and has no trouble finding the places that drive him wild. This is very different to their usual encounters and he likes it. It's rough sex. Tough sex. She bites his lip then his earlobe. He's heavy and huge and pins her arms with big hands while he penetrates. But they're enjoying every moment and her expertise is not that of an innocent. She's well practiced, he has no doubt. He has the scratches on his back to prove it. She has the bruises on her arms.  Big dumb fuck.  The alcohol has given him stamina and they have time to explore; on top, behind, above and below. It's torrid and sexy and her moans drive him mad. This is one wild ride and he's enjoying every moment. He comes, she doesn't. They sleep.

"Shit! Shit! Shit!. . . " He's woken by her panicked attempt to get dressed.

"Whats up?" he murmurs without care.

"My dad. He'll be waiting. I asked him to pick me up at 1am. I'm not even supposed to be here, I'm s'posed to be at Hailey's place in Lidcombe!"

She moves towards him and tries to kiss him but he turns.

"Alright," he says, "Your call but I was going to give you more of the same."

"Perhaps next time" she coos.

"Honey, there's won't be a next time. I'm in the limelight more than ever now. That, my little Lolita was the last time. See ya."

She hops across the room, trying to fit a shoe, barely seeing through her tears and trying to grab her things and escape the pain he's just inflicted. "Fuck you! She spits as she races through the door, pulling it behind her with an ear-splitting bang.

"Well it was an awesome ride while it lasted. Thanks!" He yells after her.

Collings is a little embarrassed by the cheesiness of the line and kind of hopes she didn't hear it . .  but he meant it. The chick was good in bed and cute but now that they've won the premiership he can chase real women, not just little girls. Even Jenna's gloss is becoming lacklustre...time to play the field, literally.

***
"Where the Hell have you been? I've been calling, you didn't answer your phone."

Her father is furious and knows that she's not been anywhere near Hailey's tonight. Her face is tear-stained and she wasn't wearing that much mascara when he dropped her at the party.

"Dad I'm sorry," she begins to cry and rubs her arm. "I did a very stupid thing but what they did was worse . . " The sniffles turn to sobs and she nestles into his chest. He turns off the engine,

"Jesus Kat, what happened?"

She spills the beans, "I know I told you I was going to Hailey's but we ended up going to Ivy after the game. I know it was wrong but there were loads of people there, loads of fans. I kinda like one of the players and I guess we started talking. I asked for his autograph. He said his pen was in his room and we could go get it. I went with him and waited outside the door, then he grabbed me and threw me on the bed!" Sobs are interrupted as she reveals the bruises on her arms.

The poor man's face is dissolving. He forgets her deception, he forgets Hailey's 18th, he forgets and forgives his daughter as the rage begins to raise. She continues with tales of forced sex describing everything in vivid detail until the tears are pouring down both their cheeks. She had to be telling the truth, she was a virgin, she couldn't even know these things unless that bastard had done them to her. She's an innocent spoiled. He's furious but holds her close as she sobs.   He doesn't want to hear any more. Parents believe their children. Especially when they're upset and bruised and smelling of sex.  He takes her to the emergency unit. She retells the story of rape and assault. The attending doctor confirms a father's worst nightmare.

"Mr Gatt, your daughter has definitely had sex tonight and there is bruising on her arms and inner thigh. She has two broken nails and what looks like a bite on her shoulder. I have to report this."

Police are called, DNA testing completed. Tomorrow, she'll attend a police interview and put the final nail in that two-timing bastard's coffin. She may be young, but she isn't stupid.

* * *
Once again he's in a suit and choking tie. This time facing a jury as little miss innocent retells her ordeal. This time she's prim and pencil skirted. The sleek ponytail swinging back and forth as she shakes her head and tears flow.  All so plausible.

Out come the exemplary school reports, the sporting history, the 'good girl' character references. She's a girl of impeccable character. No boyfriend, no distractions. Even the defense's reference to the calendar on her bedroom door paint her as a fan, not an obsessive.

The face of jurors are twisted with concern or glaring at the footballer still fidgeting with his Windsor knot. They know what these NRL thugs are like. Heroes on the field, debauched and perverted when off.  They've seen the news, the tribunals, the accusations and previous convictions. The schmuck never had a chance.

"You're blind, you're all blind! She's not what you think she is. She wanted it, she made the play!" He pleads to deaf ears in his closing address, "It wasn't the first time, it was the last. It wasn't rape, it was her...it was all her!"

His Lawyer puts a hand on Collings shoulder and tells him to be quiet. The gavel hammers down.

"In delivering my judgement, you took advantage of a naive girl's flirtatious behaviour and forced her to have sex against her will. This Mr Collings is rape and nothing else. I pronounce the maximum sentence with no parole."

As he's led from the court room, only he sees the vengeful smirk on a not-so-innocent girl's face.

***
She has a new obsession this summer. Collings' poster long removed and replaced by that of a less heavily built but handsome cricketer. She traces a line from his throat to sternum with a pointed finger and plants a good night kiss on pink zinc lips. They'll win the test for sure this season, and there'll be an after party.