Wednesday, March 09, 2005

local heroes

He is reclining on my bed naked except for the fabric he was using as a turban, which he has taken off his head and draped over his lap so I can’t see anything.
“You have a good skull,” I say.
“I collect skulls,” he says. I’ve seen the sculptures around his house; spray-painted aliens made of cow’s horn, bandicoot and Blu-Tac.
I draw his skull. It’s a good skull to draw, perfectly shaped and hairless. He has a small tattoo of a snake’s head on one side. He says he used to have a mohawk but shaved it off when his hairdresser first told him about the bald spot developing at the back of his head. He has just turned forty-seven.
The first drawing I do after years is truly woeful, but it feels good to hold a pencil again.
“You’re good,” he says afterwards.
“It’s hopeless!” I say. “You don’t have to say it’s good when it’s not.”
The phone rings; it's my sister. I tell her I’ve been drawing G. “You know, the surf instructor?”
I tell her he said he’ll give her a surfing lesson next time she comes up, a birthday present from me.
“Well, don’t sleep with him just so he’ll give me a free lesson,” she says and she’s half-serious.
I turn away from the phone and repeat what she said to G. He smiles.
“I’ve already told him I won’t sleep with him,” I assure her.
“Is he there now?” she asks, incredulous.
“Yeah,” I say.
Actually, I suspect that the fact that I refuse to sleep with him is the main reason why he is still pursuing me, but he denies this.
It’s not that I don’t find G. attractive; he is attractive. He has very pale blue eyes, a surfer’s body, he writes songs and is never far from a guitar. He interrupts conversations by breaking into song.
Welfare mothers make better lovers…down at every laundromat in town now… Neil Young song--” he pauses to inform me.
“I don’t know about that,” I say. “I was pretty good before.”
He tells me I’m gorgeous and I say bullshit but secretly I’m pleased. I say what I like about him is how he overlooks my flaws—my chewed fingernails, the fact that I haven’t had my roots done in six months--and I am pleased when he just gives me “nobody’s perfect”.
Of course I flirt with him, tease him. He says that’s about power, sexual power. I say it’s because I just get a bit manic sometimes.
G.’s mind jumps loosely around, a lot like mine does. When I tell him I like to write he nods and says, “Besides push-ups, words are good.” He tells me stories about when he was in a band, about when he supported Chrissie Amphlett, or when he met Iggy Pop (“I got down on my knees and thanked him for the religion.”) He makes me laugh, too, which is always a good thing.
When we’re talking about why I won’t sleep with him, I say it’s because I am, at heart, a very monogamous girl, and at the moment, I am still attracted to other men. He wants to know who and I say coyly “oh, just someone”. It’s someone who doesn’t even know I’m alive though; someone who I’ve only ever met about three times, around whom I’m unreasonably gauche; around whom I blush and stammer, or over-correct so that I come across as completely disinterested. I like to think there's a mutual spark but you never know if it isn't just one big projection, do you?