From Australia With Love
by Barbara A. Taylor

Alienation Revisited

         “Here’s your ticket to love,” Kim had written to Lynette.

         And here's Lynette, consumed by her loss and squandered trust, unable to forget how they suddenly parted. Remorse still looms. She cannot find the path of transcendency, will not erase those blissful memories.

         Kim's emails remain in Lynette’s in-mailbox. They are now almost two years old.

         Tiny crabs scuttle into golden snowflakes, at home in ornate mandala-like sandy orbs, protected by mounds of pungent seaweed strewn haphazardly by the tide.

         Lynette strides wildly on to the end of a secluded rocky bay.

         Sunset is splendid. Coloured waters gently ripple over the burnished shoreline, now dotted with translucent jellyfish, as stars glazed in aspic.

         She and Kim came here on Kim's first visit to Australia.

         Lynette loves this place; here, where in sparkling sunlight they had danced, knee deep in silver-pools. They camped under sheltering casuarinas, tossed wishes to shooting stars in that black velvet sky. They had held hands and dined in the light of the moon. Kim caught the fish. Lynette grilled it to perfection. It was one of those magical nights where souls connected, dreams came true. Together they planned their future.

         She sits on a rock.

         Froth, foam and bubbles.

         Her life washes before her.

         Crashings of surging waves into rocky caverns and the swoosh of a myriad shells echo a melancholy eddy of time and tide.

         Tears trickle down her cheeks. She cannot forget their last fateful night.

         Uncomfortable times. Obsessively, compulsively, she relives that scene where romantic optimism was quashed.

         She is back there again --  nightfall, clutching a map without a torch; looking for a door without a key.

         Kim’s voice reverberates.

         “You can’t stay!” Kim had said sharply.

         “It’s your girlfriend, Angela, who’s got a problem!” Lynette retaliated, simmering with restrained tears, feeling Shiraz-induced emotions climax. “Okay, okay. Call Jacky, see if I can go there, please?”

         She gathered her few belongings that were already a visible landmark in their intimate domain. From the start she had been an intruder. She wanted to be received as a visitor, a friend, and hopefully her lover.

         “Write down where I’m headed,” Lynette pleaded, painfully, panicky.

         She had been only two days in that country, and was unfamiliar with Kim's foggy city.

         Strangely, an episode of such rejection and retreat had crossed her mind en route from the airport to Kim's apartment. It was a stormy night. Rain streaked like scud missiles onto the gleaming tarmac. Through the cab window she tried to follow signs, but the journey was too speedy, each frame a giant multi-media image, a screen of blinding monsoons and flashing neons.

         After one last survey of the large airy lounge, she checked the bathroom; an extra toothbrush, a lacy bra or unknown knickers cause great havoc in a lesbian's life. In no time she had zipped her backpack, strapped herself with passport and money-belt security. Kim's generous gift, her lure the return ticket, was again neatly folded into a secret side pocket.

         On smoky streets nearby this supremacist-guarded enclave, beggars, thieves, and the deprived awaited the exodus of its inhabitants. In-your-face guilt was high. Inflation was high. Drugs, discrimination, disease were high. Death was high.

         Lynette’s hopes were low.

         Disappointment. Dismay. Distrust.

         “I’ll drive you there,” Kim offered, in a softer tone. “ I’ll just say where I’m going, it’ll be cool.”

         She left the room.

         Without validation, her estranged partner, Angela, would invariably create more hostility. Her words were harsh.

         All, she the psychologist, could say, was "She's so classic!"

         "Classic? Classic what?" Lynette asked.

         Lynette embraced the solitude. She was beyond listening to their conversations, no longer wished to participate within their bizarre psycho dramatics. Get out now, obviously this was prudent, her integrity at stake. But the sadness was real.

         Alienation revisited.

         Kim returned.

         “We can go now. Come on. I want to.”

         Lynette took a cigarette from her packet.

         Kim zoomed forward, flicked on her flashy gold struck up a momentary brightness.

         Her spontaneity amused, distracted Lynette's gloomy thoughts on fear of freedom.

         “Ready? This just won’t work here.”

         The gas flame flickered.

         Lynette cupped Kim's hand, inhaled the glowing cigarette, and then blew out long puffs of poison. The relationship was toxic to the end.

         Kim's fingers were shaking. Her stare pierced.

         Lynette wanted to grab her, pull her close, pretend that all in the world was beautiful, and this was but a nasty dream.

         No Goddess blessings then, for their harmony had dispelled.

         Kim telephoned Jacky to tell her they would be over directly.

         Lynette heard Kim whisper, “G’day matey, guess what? Your plan’s worked brilliantly. My darling Angela desires me more than ever!”


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