A short episode in the life ..


Once upon a time there was a feisty young woman in her 20s who lived in Melbourne and worked as the Office Manager – sort of – in the Monash University newspaper office (the newspaper was called Lot’s Wife; but she was never able to find out why). Or, to be honest, she could have been working in the Accounts Department at GTV Channel 9 .. or it’s even possible that it was at Go-Set ! – whose nose ?   :\

She/I was living at this time in a 3rd-storey flat in St Kilda: the flat’s address was something-or-other in Barkly Street; and its bedroom window looked north, directly down to St Kilda Junction. Back then the Junction was a much, MUCH simpler version of what it is now: it was a star of roads comprising St Kilda Road, Fitzroy Street, Punt Road, Barkly Street and .. and— oh yes !, Queens Road. The St Kilda tram, which was then the No. 8[1], came straight up St Kilda Road before turning directly right into Fitzroy Street. Believe me, the Junction was really easy to travel, even if you’d never been there before – nothing like it is today !! And it was a hive of activity, with people coming and going, on foot as well as in cars, and getting in and out of several different trams; and there were some deli-type shops there.

Having travelled to work (whichever place it was) and home by tram many times, I’d reflected on how clearly anyone doing the same could cast his/her eyes a bit upward and observe anything that was happening in this room – but of course, nothing ever was ! Well, not when I was there on the tram ..

A tram in these times. No doors: just canvas blinds when it rained  ..

The flat was not new, not by any stretch of the imagination. It had doors with globe-shaped and always dented metal handles that never worked, sash windows that had to be practically jemmied up or down, carpets that had seen better – oh, so much better ! – days and— but I’m sure you get the picture. It was also two-bedroomed, with the second one used to store anything I hadn’t got around to unpacking; for I did move about fairly often.[2]

So. One hideous day my boyfriend of the time said I needed to take on the girlfriend of his best mate as a flatmate. ACK !!! I have never been a sharing kind of person, and the prospect did not thrill me one bit. My merciless grilling of him as to why resulted only in his saying that I should be kind – be nicer than my temperament appeared to be making me, for she was in trouble with her landlord. Oh btw: you should note that in the late ’60s young people didn’t usually live together; which fact meant that Sue and Ralph were not in the one establishment (nor Mick and I). This wasn’t for reasons of the morality of the youngsters – gimme a break ! – but the pseudo-morality of the fucking real estate agents: and it wasn’t worth the hassle of maintaining that you were married.

It wouldn’t be for long, Ralph said – just until she could find another place. I allowed him to quell my suspicions on this point, and started clearing out the second bedroom. A few days passed, and then it was time for me to try to behave like a nice person and make Sue welcome. I faked it so well that the two blokes were happy, and Sue was apparently convinced of my readiness to have her there.

She settled in. It transpired that she was making zero effort to find herself a new place, and I came to realise that this was on account of my brilliant acting ! – why would she bother going somewhere else when she had this cushy pad with so willing a sharer ?

I ground my teeth, and started plotting her end.[3]

Back then in my palmy days, I used to sleep without anything on – simply because being a little rounder and therefore heavier than some, pyjamas or a nightie would become rumpled and ride up; and I would become so irritated[4] as to have to arise reluctantly from my interrupted slumbers and remove whatever it was.

Well .. a couple of nights later, after we had shut down the telly and retired to our respective bedrooms, I fell asleep very promptly. Some time later – I never did ascertain the exact hour – I realised I was awake again, and cold, for through my window a heavy-ish breeze had sprung up. Bugger ! – I’d have to get out of bed and shut the window.

I threw off the sheet and stepped across the space between the bed and the window, meaning to push the bottom – the outer pane – up to the top of the frame: the inner pane was sitting sedately on the base of the sill and the bottom one six inches or so up from the base, overlapping it. It was dark: no-one would see me ..

I pushed the inner pane up enough to be able to get at the bottom of the outer one, thus reversing the two panes’ positions, and heaved.

Nothing happened.

I heaved harder, kind of rattling it right and left while doing so ..

Still nothing. The bloody thing didn’t move an inch.

I stood back, shivering and covered in goose-flesh, and considered the situation. There was no way I was going to get a carpenter at that hour without having to pay for him myself – and that was out of the question. Nope: I was just going to have to persevere myself.

So, suddenly inspired, I climbed up onto the sill (they were wide, those old sills) and bent over through the top gap, putting my fingers under the bottom of the outer pane, and SHOVED. How I shoved ..

And it moved !!

In fact, it came up like lightning and seized my left breast, pinching it inescapably between both panes’ tops !!!

I gasped. I shouted involuntarily ..

There I was, completely naked, standing on the window-sill bent over like a hair-clip. I had time to wonder what the back view must be like while I struggled painfully to extract my left tit from the window’s grasp.

And then Sue, awoken by the strange sounds of my struggles, came into my room and TURNED ON THE LIGHT.

My language – you would not have wanted to be there ..

Having screamed at her (even though I couldn’t see her) “Turn that fucking light off NOW !” and found it hadn’t happened, I let fly with a few well-chosen epithets and a sprinkling of less witty insults, and eventually the room was once more in darkness. The people down at the Junction who must have greatly enjoyed the show were deprived of the entertainment and dispersed, committing it to memory in order to be able to spread it around the suburb ..

Having instructed my flatmate to get the lanolin from the bathroom, I was before long able to get myself out of the window’s clutches and stepped down from the sill, greasy and enraged. Sue had left the room as soon as handing over the lanolin.

This .. erhmm .. event was all that was needed to effect the separation for which I had yearned from the moment of our starting to flat together: she was so mortified by the insults I had hurled at her via my arse that she packed up and left the next day. No idea where she went; and as Mick and I broke up very soon thereafter her departure didn’t cause any recriminations.

Thank all the gods ! – I’ve never been forced to share with anyone again.

Except, of course, for the best 31 years of my life, spent with my beloved, original, witty, CLEVER, able, kind man – and the best chef ever – my husband.

[1] Or maybe the 12 ? 16 ? You don’t actually care, do you ?!!

[2] Nono, it’s true, no matter unwilling you are to believe it .. [grin]

[3] In my flat, I mean.

[4] Yes, another almost incredible thing ..  :D

25 thoughts on “A short episode in the life ..

  1. I’m reflecting on that image – me as an ear-worm – and finding it .. different ..
    But I might have actually looked a bit like a huge worm, doubled over up there in the window .. :)


  2. Honestly, this is hilarious, M-R. I know there was nothing at all funny about it at the time, but it’s the kind of action you couldn’t duplicate if you tried. Just a weird series of steps that definitely went the wrong way! If a screenwriter happens upon this story I would expect to have your story plagiarized.

    And I think you’re well within your rights not to share a flat with someone else. You need a place where. you can be yourself and apparently when you are entirely yourself, the language flies and mayhem ensues. You are one of a kind. I think that’s what makes you great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • At the time ..? – I s’pose I was more angry than anything else, Deb ! But I promise that by morning it was only funny. :D I lived off this tale for an awful long time, back then. [grin]


    • Ah, Hannah, you are SO RIGHT ! I’ve never been able to write fiction, so you know without doubt that any ‘story’ written by moi is true. :D


  3. Only you, M-R, only you … but this story has the best punchline (and footnotes, particularly **)

    Sorry I’m been slow to get this, but I suddenly thought, “What’s M-R up to? I haven’t heard from her for a while” (by which you’ll know that I am not even checking my blog in-box let alone chasing up any specific bloggers. And it will probably be thus for another few months.)

    I hope you are continuing to enjoy your current place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A bit frantic, Sue – moving on Monday week !! BUT ! – within this building. There now !
      My familial stipend has been removed, so I can’t possibly continue at this rent. The apartment down on the 3rd floor is nicer and MUCH cheaper because it’s an NRAS place. As to where I’ll be in June of next year .. a whole new ballgame, m’love. Sighh ..


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