A start or a scene from a larger story I may never tell… enjoy

‘What do you want with me?’ Julie looked my right in the eyes.

‘Want? Why does it have to be a ‘want’? Like, I have to get something from this. Can’t we just be nice and have a conversation?’

‘Sure all you want is conversation’

‘Typical! In your head all men want is sex sex sex! Well not everyone thinks like that you know’ I turned to walk away from her.

‘No wait!’ She said ‘I’m sorry; it’s just… well… Jerry came over last night’

‘(sigh) Not the fuckwit Jerry?’

Julie sat down on the lounge near the potted plants. ‘Is that really what you call him?’

‘Well yeah… isn’t that what he is?’ I went to sit down opposite, not wanting to get in Julie’s personal space. I knew she needed a zone around her especially after a visit from Jerry. ‘Why haven’t you done something about him?’

I could see the tears in her eyes. ‘Get me a coffee, no cream!’ she said fumbling in her handbag for a tissue. I paused in the half sitting position for a second, then giving a grunt of assent I went to the counter and ordered two coffee’s, one no cream the other with caramel flavour.

Being friends with Julie was a constant battle, between love; I adored her beauty, grace and inspiring ways; and loathing; her constant pushing away and her string of bad relationships. Yet I always knew when she needed someone to talk to. I don’t know if was empathy or just that I have known her for such a long time and I pick up on the visual clues, either way I knew she needed to get something off her chest.

By the time I returned with the coffee’s she had found a tissue, wiped her eyes clear and was lighting up a cigarette. ‘You know we have to move outside to smoke that’ I said.

A glare from Julie reminded me that she was quitting, again, grabbing her bag Julie got up and walked through the door to a vacant two seater table. Throwing herself down into an aluminium chair she looked at me. ‘Better?’

‘Much!’ I grinned back at her.

A poked out tongue was all I got as I handed over her coffee. We sat in silence for a few minutes; Julie smoked her cigarette sitting in the chair one leg folded over the other starring out at the street as the world passed us by. She looked like a movie star or a super model – graceful and confident. I do not know if it the cigarette or the image media has always portrayed smoking women as, but Julie had The Look. I feel in love with her again that day. I wanted to be the cigarette as it moved in her fingers, as it slipped in-between her red lips.

Her changes always got me, from a school girl tease, to a helpless lost girl, to this woman of beauty and grace I saw before me. Smiling to myself I lent back in my chair and enjoyed just watching her.

‘You’re a perve’ Julie said.

‘And what are you going to do about it then?’ I smiled back

‘Nothing… Jerry’s an arse!’ Julie stamped out her cigarette ‘Why did I ever take him back? Fuck! You know I should just get you to choose my men for me’

‘Really? You like my men do you? Somehow I can’t see Luke with you… the whole breast thing’ I waved my hand over my chest.

‘I don’t mean your boyfriends, I mean you should screen my boyfriends… hey why don’t we double date with my next man?’

‘Wait a min, what the hell happened with Jerry?’ Where the hell was this going? I thought.

‘Jerry? I’m over him, I kicked him out last night’ she paused ‘I thought he was going to hit me last night…’

‘Oh fuck!’ I leaned forward towards Julie ‘Are you ok hon’?’

‘Yeah… I’m fine, I don’t want to talk about it… you know me, move on!’

‘This is not a “move on” kinda thing. Did he hurt you?’

‘No. I just thought he was going to. Look it is over, I got my keys back and he left. Ok?’

I looked her in the eyes for a second before replying. ‘You ever, and I mean ever, need to talk about this you call me ok?’

‘You know I wouldn’t’

‘Look this is serious…’

‘Move on!’

I sighed and sat back watching her as she lit another cigarette and stared out at the traffic again. Julie could be such a bitch; I knew she felt vulnerable talking about things to me as if me knowing bad things about her would make me love her any less. Women were such a mystery to me. I have had several relationships with women, some lasting just one or two nights of lust, but still when they were over I seemed to have learnt less and less each time.

Whereas with my boyfriends I always felt that we understood each other, it was almost an empathic knowledge that we either knew it was for a night, or we wanted a relationship. Like with Luke, we met at a bar, exchange numbers and planned a date for the following week. We knew that we wanted our first night together to be special and not just another one nighter, and now we are in our fourth month and loving it.

I let the moment pass and reached for my lukewarm coffee and waited until she came out of herself again. I let my mind drift back to the first time I met Julie, it seemed sometimes that I had known her for ever. I had to remind myself that it had been only a few years since she came into my life.

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