It was Pretty in May but it Died in June
Shit shit okay here we go. No big deal. Nothing to stress about here. It was just a simple easy absolutely attainable task that I could without a doubt accomplish. Or so I thought. Printing was seriously not that tricky. Something as simple as printing couldn’t be that difficult. But no other task brought about the large amounts anxiety that was associated with printing. Of course it would be a simple task. How fricking hard could printing a 6 page play be? Totally not out of attainability, but all the same time definitely not happening. Okay I’ll give it one more go I said to myself and at least pretend like I made an honest attempt and then call it good. I shoved my flashdrive into a spot where it was supposed to work and tried for the final time to print the play that was ideally supposed to have been read for my acting class in 20 minutes.
Absolutely nothing caused me more stress than printing. It seems that just as I had got the hang of it at Montana State, I decided it would be best to move to a different country and completely learn the totally different printing standards of Australia. Of all the uncertain “what if” situations that had played havoc with my mind, printing a simple reading for class had been at the very bottom of that list, but had proven to be the cause of most of my stress abroad thus far.
All of a sudden you placed your gentle strong hand near my tense and tending to jam flash drives type of hand and said “Do you need some help?”
I turned my gaze to the direction of the intruder, who was about to be the recipient of my tension of printing being projected upon them in the form of some serious evil eye.
But before the harsh “I’m totally fine I’m independent and do not need your help” defensive speech erupted from my mouth, I melted 100% and completely disintegrated before this undeniably unbelievably handsome man who was without a doubt staring directly at me. Just the proximity of your hand to mine was enough to make me weak in the knees.
The smirk on your face displayed your amusement at my printing predicament and also clearly showed your willingness to help me out.
I swear it took me atleast a full minute to snap to and even realize that you had spoken to me.
“What?” I responded to whatever you may have said. I had not a single clue what words were spoken by this strikingly handsome Australian accented human being.
You repeated yourself, with that same intriguing smirk on your face, “ Do you need some help?”
In the minute that it taken me to come back to reality, I understood that I could absolutely work this situation to my weigh in my favor and to my dismay and astonishment I realized that I could play the part of the poor helpless girl in distress to my advantage.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I just don’t have a clue as to how to work the printer. I’m abroad here for a semester and it’s just so different and I don’t understand it. Do you think you could help me out?” I drawled on while twirling my hair between my fingers.
“Yeah absolutely, not a problem. It can be tricky your first time that’s for sure,” you elaborated and explained to me that I didn’t connect the flash drive to the correct printer. Easy mistake you wrote it off as. Which is something that I was eternally (eternally meaning the remainder of the next month and a half I got to call Australia my home) grateful for. Without you I would have shown up to every single one of my classes without a copy of the readings which were always supposed to actually have been read, which was not my strong suit.
Once my silly play for class, which started in a quick 10 minutes, had finally been printed, you turned to me and put forth, as awkwardly as possible, a goodbye that was somewhat acceptable between two practical strangers. Clearly you didn’t pick up on my unmistakable hair twirling.
I decided to go out on a limb and invite you to meet me and my friends at HipE, a local club that we frequented on Tuesdays nights. Because I was in Australia and how often does it happen that an adorable Australian dripping with that irresistible accent comes to your rescue at the printer? I just had to; I couldn’t help myself.
And thank goodness you accepted the invitation. You said you’d do your best to swing by and bring a few of your mates for my friends. I was as giddy as humanly possible without actually straight floating off into the air, and practically skipped the whole way to class.
Who would have thought that this seemingly harmless encounter at the printer would change my life forever.
It wasn’t until I was standing in line with my passport clutched in my hands waiting to get into the club that I realized I had absolutely no way of contacting you to see if you were actually coming. And on top of that, I didn’t have a clue what your name was. Pretty much all the information I had was that you were gorgeous and handy at figuring out printers- not much to go off of. I was a little anxious that you wouldn’t show, but I decided to not let it get to me and instead I got to dancing with my friends.
I was grooving and thinking about getting my second free drink soon before the cut off at 10pm when I felt a nudge on my shoulder. And there you were looking even somehow more delicious than before, your hair was styled with gel and you were wearing a crisp white shirt that accentuated your tan skin. The second drink in hand intended for me made me like you all that much more.
“Hey, wow thanks so much” I gushed as I took the vodka sprite from you.
There was a flurry of yelled introductions over the pounding of the music between our two friend groups before we got back to dancing. All around big thumbs ups of approval from my friends. The drinks went down quickly and then just you and I decided to go outside for some fresh air and a chance to get to know more about each other beyond the one fact that we both happened to be at the printer at the same time.
The patio was a popular spot and we chose a table near the edge and sat down with fresh drinks. You started rolling a cigarette and offered me one.
“So,” I inquired, “Do I get to know the name of the printer expert who came to my rescue?”
You flashed that slow spreading smirk that I would come to love and said, “My name is Richard. And yours?”
“Caledonia,” I replied.
Usually my name acts as an icebreaker and immediate conversation starter, but you just took it for what it is without any questioning; the same way you would go on to gracefully accept everything else about me.
We enjoyed the cigarettes and welcomed the buzz that only accelerated the buzzing of chemistry already happening between us.
Lost in conversation, we were surprised to be bombarded by our friends informing us that the club was closing, but the party would continue at your place. It seemed to be a fairly settled matter so we ordered the ubers and were on our way. Both of us already knew that this night would change everything.
After a dazzling night of luxurious partying at your house, I think it’s safe to say that we needed to part ways for a second and get a bearing on our emotions. But after three days of weighing out the pros and cons of pursuing someone while I was abroad, I realized that there was no turning back at this point. Once my debate with myself had been settled, I was getting antsy to see you again.
It was as if you read my mind and my phone dinged with a message from you inviting me out for a trip to Rottnest Island on your friends boat the next day. If I was giddy before, I was about to fall over from a happiness overload this time.
42 days left
We agreed it would work best for you to swing by around noon and then we would head over to the island for lunch with your friends who were at the club the other night.
My nerves were out of control as I paced around my jail cell sized room and waited for the text that you were here to pick me up. My phone dinged and I made one final lap around my tiny room, wiped my sweaty hands on the towel, and set off on a second whirlwind adventure with you.
We arrived at your friend’s apartment situated in South Perth right along the Swan river. I couldn’t help but bug my eyes out the clear display of money. From the apartment itself to the elevator inside, to the infinity pool overlooking the river, the money was on full display everywhere. We breezed through the apartment, down the stairs, and made our way outside to the docked boat.
“Wow, this is some nice stuff,” I said nonchalantly, trying so so hard to play it cool.
And then I saw the boat. Which really couldn’t have been called a boat. Anyone who laid eyes upon it would without a doubt call it a yacht. It was white with blue accents.
“Wow.” I repeated as I boarded the ship reaching out for your hand to steady myself while flashing you a smile.
Your face erupted with that slow sly smile of yours, but you remained silent.
I situated myself at the front of the boat and you joined me, with a second beer in hand for me.
And then with the steady whirl of the engine starting, we were speeding off towards the island.
Finals were fast approaching and some serious time needed to be spent in the library in preparation. I met you at the coffee shop in the library after my class was done. You were waiting for me, looking extra casual in your joggers and loafers. It was clear that you were prepared for a long night.
“Hey babe, you ready for this?” I asked.
“As ready as I’ll ever be. What do you have to work on?” He said as he handed my coffee to me and we started up the stairs to the second floor.
“I need to work on my paper and then I was wondering if you could read lines with me? I really need to start memorizing this stuff for my play coming up.” I said.
We spent three hours hard at work in the library and then decided to move outside to practice the play.
“Are you sure this is a good spot? Everyone walking by is going to hear us talking.” I asked.
We were seated on a bench in one of the many partially hidden hangout spots among the trees on campus. The sun had just set and darkness was fast approaching. Anyone who walked by would hear us and think that people were off yelling in the woods.
“Yeah yeah this’ll be good. Who cares if they hear us.” You responded reassuringly.
I handed you an extra script with the sections highlighted that I needed you to read.
I tried my best not to look at the script as I pranced nervously back in forth of you still seated on the bench. My focus fell entirely on you. I was only half trying to memorize the lines as I was too distracted by how you were so eager to do anything that would help me. You started to do voices for the different characters and I couldn’t help but smile and wonder how I got so lucky.
I entered through the gates and speed walked as well as I possibly could in heels through the arched double doors and straight into your arms. My friends trailing behind me, Zoey and Sasha barking, and the blaring music were the very last things on my mind. All that mattered was that I was back with you after a seemingly never ending 24 hours away. Busy class schedules had kept us apart and I was overjoyed to be back home.
The pre-pre drinks led me to plant a long and sloppy kiss on you, which got a well deserved mix of ew’s and aw’s from my friends who had finally caught up.
Tonight we were all going out into the city. The four of us girls had gone previously but now we had my boyfriend and his mates to show us the local in’s and outs of the CBC.
We girls had had a few drinks while getting ready at our dorm before heading over to your place for some more drinks and then more to come at your friend’s bar that was opening tonight.
I strolled through the house past the chandelier in the foyer and the fireplace in the second living room, following you outside to the patio where all your friends were waiting for us. I had to pause for a second and give some loving to the dogs.
“Who wants what to drink?” you asked everyone as you opened up the fridge displaying the many options available.
“I’ll have our favorite please,” I answered.
Your favorite South African beer, Castle Light, that your dad imported, quickly became my favorite as well.
With everyone set up with drinks, we joined the boys at the table and got to playing drinking games.
After all of us had gotten a few drinks in us, you suggested we play a game where each person goes around in a circle and says three nice things about everyone.
My friends and your friends had hung out together a few times now so we all knew each other well enough that the compliments were very sincere and pushing some of us to the brink of tears.
Then it was your turn to say three compliments to me.
There were a few shouts of encouragement from your friends to say something impressive.
You turned to me, took my hand in yours, and made my heart melt.
“I love the way my dogs like you so much.”
“I love the way you are excited to learn about my South African heritage.”
“I love the way you love me.”
We walked hand in hand away from the library where we had just spent hours upon hours preparing for the last push of finals, and towards Varsity to grab a few beers as a celebration for all our hard work.
Varsity was an American themed beer and you teased me that perhaps I would feel more at home here.
Each of the 50 states had a license plate up on the wall above the bar. It was custom that if you’re an American, you need to sign the plate where you’re from. I had been here before, but was always too shy to stand up on a stool in the middle of the bar to write my name on the Montana plate.
“Why don’t you go up and sign the plate tonight?” You asked
“Ah I don’t know, maybe not tonight, it’s really busy in here.”
“Oh come on, you’re doing it. I’ll lift you up.”
We went up to the bar and you asked for a sharpie. You lifted me up from the waist in a bear hug and I giggled as I scribbled my name on the blue plate. There weren’t too many names already so there was plenty of space to write my name as big and clear as possible.
“Okay I’m glad you made me do that. It will be a nice reminder of me for you to look at once I’m gone.”
“Yeah yeah let’s not talk about that. I don’t like to think about you leaving”
I nodded in agreement.
It was quiz night so the place was busy and after the license plate signing was done, the place had filled up quickly and the only table we could find was tucked away in the corner. You pulled the chair out for me to sit down and asked what I would like to drink.
“Surprise me.” I smiled up at you.
I saved the table while you went back up to the bar and then returned with my favorite cidre.
We spent the night in our own bubble of happiness cozied up away from everyone else, sipping on drinks and nibbling on chips, ignoring the time passing all around us.
I sprang up wide awake in the middle of the night from a nightmare . My worst fears were about to become a reality and there was nothing I could do to stop it. All I could do was cuddle up closer to you and pretend everything would be okay.
After class, we made the quick drive over to Ocean Beach Hotel in Cottesloe. It was one of our favorite spots to grab a drink and watch the sunset over the ocean. I nervously maybe got in the passenger side, located opposite of what I’ve used my whole life. Seems that just as I was getting used to things, everything was about to flip again.
Finals were all finished up, so we decided to take this last free night to soak it all in. Tomorrow was my going-away party so there would be little time to closely enjoy each other’s company as everyone would congregate at your house for one last night of drinks.
We arrived at OBH just as the sky was starting to fade from light blue to shades of pink and orange over the horizon.
I asked you to order for me while I ran to the bathroom quickly. I arrived back to my favorite cidre and an appetizer of fried calamari on the table.
There was some light but tense chit chat about what your mom had planned for the party tomorrow. It was to be a “celebration” that would be hard to forget.
After the second drink, it was the perfect time to head down to the beach and frolic in the shallow waves just before the sun completely disappeared.
There was some playful teasing in the form of splashing followed by sad smiles.
We spread out the blanket and I plopped down in between your legs, using you as a backrest. You never seemed to mind my invasion of privacy.
You rolled us both cigarettes, lit one, and handed it to me before lighting your own.
There was an easy silence between us that we had both grown comfortable with, which we embraced as we sat watching the light fade to darkness.
You took my bag out of the car and we walked hand in hand across the parking lot towards the door labeled departures. The bag was checked at the curb, and with nothing else logistically important to do, we decided to sit and chat and wait until the very last second possible.
Reminiscing about better times together only made this moment all that much worse.
Then all too suddenly, there was an announcement that my flight was beginning to board. We walked as if our feet were made of lead over to the security checkpoint.
This was it. The moment that I knew was coming all along while still trying to pretend that it would never happen.
You wrapped your strong arms around me and whispered, “I never want to let you go.”
“I don’t want to leave,” I managed to mutter out between sobs. “You’ve been the absolute best part of my time here.”
“I’m going to miss you like crazy.”
“I miss you already.”
I tore myself away from you and took a deep breath as I handed my ticket to the lady with trembling hands. I knew I couldn’t turn around to look at you one last time, otherwise there would be no chance I could actually get on the plane. With heavy steps and a heavy heart, I walked away from the man I love.
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