I love good whisky. A top shelf single malt just makes me feel like I’ve swallowed a campfire. In a really great metaphoric way, it just feels so right. I love it so much that when I drink pretty much anything else, it almost hurts. Look, it’s not that I need it, I just know that something better exists.
Whisky is clearly being used as a bloody metaphor for love here. I’m not lonely or sad without it, yet I yearn for it, because I’ve had little glimpses of what it could taste like.
When you just stumble across a babin’ stranger in real life, it hurts to then find yourself scrolling and swiping endless gym selfies and best man suits on Sunday night Tinder binges.
When you were once, even for a brief moment, someone’s universe, when you have made love with someone, it hurts to find yourself being anything less.
Now. You’ve had the hurt, let’s end on a high, eh?
So. It’s midnight and in the moonlight we stand holding hands at a crossroads. Not a metaphor but an actual fork in an actual uncorrugated red dirt road. We’re at the Harts Range Rodeo in the NT, a few hundred or so Ks from the QLD border. I squeeze his hand we pash the pash that all future pashes would be measured against.
Rewind a few hours.
Kids in well worn RMs and wranglers lean on the rails like pros, bemused at us town folk from Alice Springs in our clean hats and op shop boots. I sit in the stalls next to a babin’ stranger with a black hat and a five o’clock shadow. We exchange pleasantries as we watch the dust kicked up by mighty hooves glow gold in the setting sun but when I return from buying some overpriced hot chips he’s gone.
But this wasn’t my first time at the rodeo – again, not a metaphor, it was my third. That night before the bush dance I swap my jeans for this blue dress and saunter up to the shearing shed. Some old girls teach me line dancing til I wander out back to where a bush band was playing. In the flickering bin fire light I met the eyes of none other than the man I’d like to call The Stallion if it didn’t sound so bloody pornographic.
I said ‘come here’ with a sideways nod of my head, and he said ‘nah, but I reckon you’re a babe’ with a wink.
I kept alternating between the D floor inside and being outside with him, each time he’d initiate some kind of physical touch with confidence and respect, a hand on resting on my hip here, the small of my back there, touching my elbow to emphasise a point there, nothing major but it was so effortless. After I’d had a good dance I held his hand and asked him if he wanted to leave by raising my eyebrows – and we wandered down the road.
At the crossroads we pashed. I whispered (using actual words) ‘your swag or mine’ and he led me along a path between the spinifex to his double swag. (Score! Double swag!) He politely and pragmatically folded my blue dress and put it between the canvas and the foam.
Now let’s fast forward a bit, but you can imagine why I called him The Stallion and why I occasionally dress like a cowgirl… to where we’re snuggling incredibly close with the canvas pulled up to our necks, tracing each others’ faces with our fingers and giggling softly. Get ready for the greatest piece of pillow talk in my own limited history.
“At one point there” said The Stallion, “I was on my back looking up and all I could see was your naked body in the moonlight and about a billion stars behind you, and all I could think was ‘RIGHT NOW, I AM MAKING LOVE TO THE UNIVERSE.”
When you’ve been loved like that, farewelling it doesn’t actually hurt – it’s a bloody gift that gives you a taste of what it might be like.
Love hurts when you can see it but you can’t quite hold it.
When you yearn for something you know exists somewhere.
So, if there are any babin’ strangers that wanna bump into me after the show, I’ll be at the bar.
You know what to order.
This was a story I wrote to be performed at The Moth on Monday night, hence all the gestures. My name didn’t get pulled outta the hat this week, but it was super fun editing and writing this piece, so I thought I’d share it with y’all anyway and that some of y’all voted for it (thanks for that!). If you’ve never been to a Moth Story Slam, do yourself a favour and get the hell on down- they happen in major cities all over the US, the UK and in Sydney and Melbourne. 10 people tell their true stories in 5 minutes based on a theme. This month was ‘Love Hurts.’ I’ve sent away for the audio so y’all can listen to my story from last month, about a date I haven’t written about here. Exciting times! Audio! Mixed media!
By way of a mini-update: my dating slate is completely clean. The bloke who stood me up (who features in the audio story you’ll hear soon) cooked me dinner for a third date and I realised we had different senses of humour, different ways of conversing and just weren’t a good match. I thought it might just fizzle out, I thought he might have picked up on my less-than-enthusiastic vibes but today he asked me out to the movies. I just then sent what I hope was a gracious farewell text. Hurting someone also hurts. Man, love eh? What an absolute doozy!
3 dates with one guy is the longest I’d had since old mate six dates. Anyway, all the dates I’m going on now are first dates – including two tomorrow. I’ve also got tickets to a singles party in Prahran (!) and speed dating in Northcote this weekend (!). So there’ll be some new stories soon I promise! Also some very deep ponderings about entirely changing the way I approach the whole dating game.
Stay tuned, oh Readers Dear!
Kindest of all the Regards,