The next day I go to work and The Author writes at the house. He tells me he wants to do something special for me, like catch me a fish and cook it on the outdoor fireplace. I say I’d be happy with Woolworths fish on the stovetop. I suggest he take my car in the morning and go to Cradle Mountain to see some snow (for the first time) but that he should leave early as it’s a few hours drive away.
When I get a lift to work in the morning at 10am he’s still asleep in bed. When I get back from work at 6pm the car is gone and there’s no note. I didn’t buy any food in town, expecting to come home to him cooking me dinner. I walk up the hill to where there’s reception and try calling him but he doesn’t answer. At 7pm I still can’t get in touch with him. At 7.30pm I eat some cereal and make eggs on toast. I try the reception spot again at 8pm, and at 8.30pm. At 9pm I hear the car pull up and he walks in the door looking pale and shaken.
He started hiking at about 4pm. It got dark around 5pm. He got lost, stepped in a puddle in his runners and used his Nokia phone to light his way back to the car park. On the way home he swerved at high speed to avoid a small animal. He fishtailed around a few corners and had to use the emergency brake lane.
I asked him if he grabbed himself some takeaway on the way home, to which he replied ‘No I thought you’d have cooked me something.’ I cooked him eggs on toast.
Before we left Melbourne I’d secretly purchased some sexy lingerie, but I decided to leave it in my suitcase. When we undressed for bed normally we’d leave the light on, but that night I turn it off. He asked me if I felt ‘safe’ in his arms.
My friend Mariah has this great little sensory activity to get to know men. You’re supposed to pick two of the other person’s senses to stimulate in five different ways. So she prepared five different taste sensations for her partner, and he brought five objects that felt different to touch. These things can have a story or they can just be to stimulate. The Author was confused by all these instructions, so I used music as an example – he could make a playlist with the aim of making me feel a certain way, or of sharing a little about himself.
As I drove The Author to the airport he said he hadn’t made a playlist but could play some songs with stories. He played a song that reminded him of a failed date he went on once. We talked about dates we’d been on and he told me he’d set up a fake online dating profile as a firefighter. He also had a fake profile as a woman, “to see what the competition is like.” He told me about ‘negging’ – giving a positive and a negative to make women more vulnerable. I told him that being manipulative and dishonest was disgusting. His response was, “I probably shouldn’t have told you.”
He said, “I kind of want to know how you feel about me but it feels so unmanly to plead ‘Do you still like me?’” “What do you mean ‘still’?” I asked. “I mean you saw me vomit and all,” he replied. I told him I think it’s totally manly, human in fact, to talk about your feelings and that I found the ability to communicate openly pretty attractive. He disagreed, said it was weak.
At the airport we stand outside in the rain. “You should go inside and check in,” I say, “it’s raining.” “But if I’m in there,” he said, “It means I’m not outside here being with you anymore.” We kiss and I leave him at the airport an hour earlier than he needs to be there and go and have Mexican for lunch by myself in town.