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Outback Sam

When the past hits you out of nowhere

By Renessa NortonPublished 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 5 min read

It was some 12 years after we lost us that I finally conceded that I had likely loved some piece of you. Just an idle Wednesday, 8:34am, stuck in traffic, late to work once more when I was struck across the head with this blindsiding realisation. It simultaneously felt like being waterboarded and being held in your grandmother’s ample bosom, like being thrown from a helicopter with no parachute, blades chomping at you and floating down a stream in a tyre tube, like running for a flight to a funeral of your father after an unexpected turn and like putting on your pyjamas and sipping wine in your favourite armchair after a long week. In reality, I’d been hit by a car barrelling through an intersection, going 50 over the speed limit down the side of the road. Presumably my boss was more understanding of my tardiness that day. Perhaps if I’d been better at rolling out of bed, I’d have avoided all of this. But then again, I’d still be thinking I couldn’t stand you. That you were a dreadful excuse for a human being. It was a lie I had successfully sold myself a million times over like a star real estate agent. But I knew I didn’t believe it, because I effectively erased you from my life, scared that if I uttered your name, or even part of our story, that the flicker at the corners of my mouth would deceive me. And that if anyone else saw that, it would erase a decade of my truth. I was more committed to my disdain for you in the subsequent years than I was to our short lived romance another lifetime ago. But there were slip ups over the years. Sometimes they almost turned into full blown relapses. Like the time I begged a friend to drive to your house at 3am, so I could pass out beside you and awake to your embrace - thankfully a different car sat in the carport leading me to believe you had moved, so I cried the whole car ride home instead. Like the time you emailed me from your aunty’s social media account because you didn’t have your own, and I bolted when after months of discussion you announced you were moving interstate to be closer to me. When a year later I reached out to you, and the same thing happened again, and I acted as though you were crazy, despite that being how we got together in the first place, except in reverse - when I jumped on a plane to kiss your stupid face and move my life to the other side of the country. But I can’t point to a single reason I ended it with you - it’s more like a novel of heartaches that occurred over a very short period. Like the times your sister was awful to me and you left me to fend for myself. Like the time I wasn’t happy with how I looked you told me to go on a diet and exercise more when, looking back, I was already underweight. Like the time we ran into your ex and you proceeded to drink a full bottle of rum, cry and tell me you loved her, not me. Like the time you alluded to having being involved in a murder. Like the time, after we had broken up, you lost it at me for staying at a former lover’s house.

I’ve never experienced such a clear mind as when I left you. There was absolutely zero doubt in my mind when I walked away. I had never been more staunch or resolute in my decision. When you phoned me a month later wanting to know why I hadn’t called you upon my return from Italy as I had apparently promised, I just continued on with my dish washing and told you I didn’t want my things back; deep down I hoped you had burnt them - a kind of exorcism of me from your life, as though perhaps that would be a two way street and all traces of one another would be removed from our blood streams.

But you did reach out to me. Numerous times. And never in an aggressive manner. There was true contrition for the way things had panned out. And you took my hand whenever I ran back to you, whilst I pushed you away each time you did the same. It was as though I wanted to have all the power in retaliation for all the times I felt powerless with you all those years ago. You told me I could use your life any way that I saw fit. And that is how this story has come about - me taking all I can get out of you like an old tube of toothpaste before payday. You told me a million years ago that I could take your story and twist it any which way I saw fit to create a story that one day might make me rich. There were no expectations from you regarding what you would be owed. You were happy to be my muse, whilst I was the leach. But then you told me education about religious persecution had made me stupid. That I wasn’t allowed to defend the persecuted. That somehow I was wrong, despite your obvious miseducation from the problematic far right conservatives. We never spoke of Trump, but I will bet anything you would have voted for him if given the chance. There are so many reasons I should have hated you. I just never quite did.

So that morning, when I was struck from the side, thrown about my car like a rag doll, cut from the twisted metal, whisked away to the hospital I had managed to avoid for my entire life, placed on life support and surrounded by flowers, prayers and well wishes, you were elsewhere, completely oblivious to my condition. Because how could you know? We constantly cut each other from our lives to the point where nothing touched; completely severed. I guess you could say that in a way, it gave us something in common, because I too was completely unaware of my state. Instead, I had entered a type of dream trance where I was zipped back to 15 years beforehand, where we first met and the world - our world - was full of possibility.

Short Story

About the Creator

Renessa Norton

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    Renessa NortonWritten by Renessa Norton

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