Before our births, void of choice, we became part of the story,
During our lives, with a choice, we can't escape the story,
After death, abandoned choice, the story continues to seep.
- Andrew Mansell

Month: March 2014

Shell Shock

Photo by Rocky Vitacca


So long as mum roughly knew my whereabouts and I was back for dinner, she didn’t seem to care for details. Way to go, mum. Perfect for a sixteen year old boy who begun to be drawn to and appreciate the curvature of the opposite sex. The girl more alluring than any other was Anne. Not just because her breast brushed against my chest once, well that did help, but it was her smile and friendly persona that just made me feel the same, sort of like contagious laughter. Out of the blue, I found myself daydreaming of Anne, or was it fantasying? I can’t clear up that blurry line. Even while engrossed in reading, my favourite pastime, images of Anne overwhelmed the words I read. And then there was dad’s nagging rhetorical question, have you got a girlfriend yet? Girls were beginning to make some sort of sense, their being grow in significance.

On New Year’s Day, Dad’s snoring penetrated all rooms of the house; any louder and his sound waves could of forced open the flyscreen door. I was glad to escape before he woke, wanting to go fishing again – boring. As I said bye to mum, I remembered the night before and how Anne and I managed to dodge our parents and kiss twice behind the boat shed. I’m sure Anne’s mum never trusted me and was glad we only saw each other over the summer holidays. That was going to change big time when I got my driver’s licence. I planned to drive the four hours to Bright and take Anne out. Anne said her mum would have to let me stay the night. Can you believe, Anne even heard her mum, tell my mum, that Anne and I were too young? I’m glad mum just laughed and took nobody’s side.

An eerie calm accompanied my walk down Cove Avenue towards the entrance of Point Nepean. I could still smell fireworks in the sprinkling mist but the noise and spectacle of the night before were long gone. I wanted to run but held back and walked as fast as I could. I had to appear calm, not in a hurry, and definitely not like one of those goofy walkers that call themselves athletes. I knew Anne would be waiting for me near the visitor centre. She always got there first. I saw her behind the bike rack, leaning against the straggly trunk of a tea tree. Of course she’d already seen me – she smiled. All of a sudden an excited nervousness overwhelmed me and I too couldn’t help but smile. I wanted to kiss but we didn’t touch, just in case somebody watched. We already knew our plan

‘Hi,’ I said and fixed my eyes on hers.

‘About time,’ she said and stared back.

Her tease had no effect on me. My eyes were not about to shift their gaze. She could even have called me a dropkick and I wouldn’t have cared. I felt like we were trapped in a timeless spell, gawking at each other.

‘Come on,’ Anne finally said, ‘let’s go.’

We began our walk towards the old fort.

‘I’m going to miss you,’ she said.

‘Chill out.’ I laughed. ‘We’ve still got today – and tonight.’

‘I know but I want these holidays to last forever.’

‘Will your mum let us kiss goodbye?’ I couldn’t help but joke.

‘Shut your face.’ Anne frowned in a nice way and grabbed my hand.