Afternoon in St Kilda…

I take a taxi. The driver’s breath is so bad he winds his own window down in winter. And when he asks me how my day was, I wish I could stop breathing. Why do I sit in the front of taxis?

He drops me we-don’t-know-how-far-from-where- I’m going. ‘Is it a shop?’ I answer yes though it isn’t. I always feel uncomfortable saying I’m going to a beauty salon. As if I’m not beautiful enough to be going. Not beautiful enough when I come out. Or something …

She makes me fill out a form and asks me about my skin. She’s being very jolly about the allergies I’ve put down on the forms. And already I really don’t like her and I know I won’t come again. She takes to my face with the ‘sander’ of the beauty world. And when I don’t come out with very pink skin, I know I probably won’t mention it to anyone tomorrow. Because I’m not … Or something …

It’s raining wintry drops and I walk towards a tram. But which way is it going? And then it pulls away and I’m still not sure if it was going the way I need to go. I cross the road and walk past restaurants, and a chain shop selling ‘alternative’ lifestyle products now mainstream, and an ice cream shop and a book shop. I always forget about the ‘Readings’ store here.

Then I’m at the old European cafes. I could take us home something? Something like that big, luscious lemon tart for him. I always think of lemon tarts for him, though. What about something almond? That horseshoe thing has almonds on it. Does he even like almonds or horseshoe things? No, keep walking. He will have cooked us dinner and there is the delicious chocolate in the cupboard that he thought I’d turn my nose up at. But didn’t.

I found the tram stop that looked back to the wooden rollercoaster, over that theatre that was loved and iconic, and then out to dark and flat water. Number 96 turns up. We pass all the white rambling architecture that makes me think of Brighton. The English one. Stories of love and life and death, first real, then painted and written in those rooms.

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