His future wife and her girlfriend rented a terrace just off Glebe Point Road, barely wide enough for a room and a hallway. Up the corkscrew staircase the atelier burst with city lights at night. There was a spare room, more of a cupboard under the stairs. He was looking for a room…
Stay away from Rory, their friends warned, you’ll be sorry.
She’d seen Rory’s enthusiasm for uni festivities first hand, and heard a few stories about why he’d failed the year before. But despite all this, his ready laugh rang in her ears.
Besides, she never did actually see him swallow that live goldfish.
Rory moved in, bumping his head against the doorframe, squeezing his Salvo’s mattress on top of pilfered milk crates.
Soon the terrace rocked with his parties, humming with strangers and music and alcohol. Rory shouldn’t have, but he really did dance like no one was looking. It didn’t bother her, she’d disappear with her swanky boyfriend.
More wank than swank, muttered Rory, cycling past the dude’s red MG on his way to odd jobs in Balmain and Harold Park. Rory studied harder. He concocted blubbery lamb stews that even the toilet rejected. He churned out custard like orange gap-filler, then polished off her rice pudding in the fridge.
Rory’s two flatmates rolled their eyes at him behind his old school jumper, at his Volleys with holes. But he clicked the shears over the postage-stamp lawn out the back. Rory washed up, and he fixed the leak in the roof.
Rory let his future wife paint his toenails red before they visited the Fish Markets. Once she cried on his shoulder. Another night he rang her late, drunk and sentimental. They laughed, but never mentioned it the next day.
Instead, they began to sneak the odd, sideways glance at each other.
Rory put off working overseas after his thesis, just to make sure she’d be ok.
Looking back, they should have bought that terrace, it would be worth a fortune now.
Susan Lattwein – copyright.
(How did you meet your partner?) 🙂