Trax (bar) in Haight Ashbury (Photo credit: shandopics)
She stepped down from the Northern Explorer, weary after the 12 hour sojourn from Auckland to Wellington, her body distorted from the array of baggage adhered haphazardly to her frame. All reasonable precautions had been taken to appear non-plussed but she was feeling more than a little ridiculous. She unfurled her fingers letting go of the hand luggage, simultaneously dropping one shoulder, gravity to catch and release the taut strap of her laptop. All hit the platform with a collective thud!
To make matters worse, the baggage door rolled up, revealing more purple Sabini suitcases, added one by one to the mountain of dogs balls now assembled on the pavement. She picked past heads, shoulders and backs, furtive in her search of recognition, an extra pair of hands, a baggage cart. It had been 12 years since the last time he had crash landed on her doorstep, his purple XC Falcon panel van parked in the driveway. Jandles, jeans and a T-shirt, cap in hand.
He was at Trax Bar, pint in hand, chatting up the female bouncer, blind. His goat-skin duffel bag slung over the corner of a bar stool. He had let his Yahoo Serious attitude to life be rolled up into unkempt, sun-kissed natural dreadlocks that leapt out at all angles, confronting even the most liberal senses. He was in no hurry. What did she expect? It had been 20 years since they were an item that could only be described as an ‘eventful interlude at the crossroads of life’ from which he would soon trade in everything he had accumulated and buy a ticket to nowhere in particular. His favourite mantra being replayed like an adored record on repeat; “Life is black & white. There is no grey”.
Grey was something she understood but for once there were no shades of grey anywhere to be found. What on earth had possessed her to cross the Tasman with her most worldly possessions, an array of Summer dresses and shoes? She could feel her stomach tighten, those butterflies rising like her awareness now threatening to expose her guilt. She had walked away from her former life, pinning all her hopes and desires, clutching at another loose end she knew much better to mess around with. What had urged her on was the hope that time had been kind to him, that an old flame may be re-ignited. God knows she needed to feel something. Her mind and body had long since turned down any flicker of excitement, preferring to wallow in stoic self-pity, feigning permanent damage had rendered her helpless.
He had always been her potential escape. Her reason to live without seeming too dramatic. She would have gone anywhere with him, she reflected, knowing he would see straight through her faux par – her cheeks peak that most wanton shade of Crimson. She lowered her eyes before making up her mind, wrestling her way toward the lone baggage cart, daring anyone to make a beeline. Heading into the terminal, sweat running down the crevice of her back, mobile phone in hand, she tapped out what she needed to say and waited, checking her appearance in its reflection.
Her long brown hair was a true expression of her frustration. Her large blue eyes smudged and blurred, as her once perfect Charcoal eyeliner betrayed her yet again. Why did it have to be the hottest clear day of the most piss poor Summer New Zealand had ever known?