Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Yank and a Sheila

A Yank and A Sheila

I first met Anna Foster as the southern sun set on a jetty or a warf (or a plank or a pier or whatever you call it) off of Melbourne Beach. “Would you like a beer?” She asked. “What kind?” She said, “Does it matter?” Introductions were quick - I’m Chris. I’m Anna and these are my friends X,Y, and Z(ED). It didn’t matter because I didn’t think I was going to be that long. A 12 pack gone and another one on the way via friend Y... or was it Zed? Bull sharks reminded onlookers of their presence with an occasional fin. It didn’t deter the local mental Aussies as they did running jumps off the jetty. Anna was that comfortable in-between of pryful and friendly. The setting sun brought an even larger glow of her fiery red hair. She joked on more than one occasion on how she was “ginger”. That it was some sort of badge of honour or a badge of repulsiveness. “It happens,” was my reply. “What - being ginger?” was hers and with a shit-eating grin I would nod in agreement. She was playful and her agile banter was sexy. To her, I was a “yank." Quickly condemned as a "thick yank" but only because the Americans she had come across before, lacked a sense of humour, her Aussies had so well.

My time in Melbourne was spent drinking at night and hiding from the heat during the day. Although I had set out this evening to avoid the nightlife, I knew that probably wasn't going to happen. Then again, I wasn't putting up much of a fight with myself. Anna had that great way of telling you what you were going to do in a way that might've come across as a question. "You're gonna come with us to this bar?" Like I had a choice. Like I wanted another choice.

The sun set slowly at first as the ferry to Tasmania  gently floated off into the horizon. It reminds me of places I've never been to. The dark night came in quicker once the initial drops of sun rays began to sink away. We got up and walked back toward St. Kilda. The collection of backpackers drowned out the soft breaking waves against the shore. Music thumped out of every bar and with a tug at my arm we were nestled up against a crowded table. Anna shouted at the barman... 5 long necks she said and I was asked again by friend X where in America I was from. New York. "What do you do there?" I told her I worked in construction. Perhaps not the romantic answer she was looking for, but unfortunately it was the truth. Anna turned back toward me. Her sharp turn sent a fragrance filled slap of her red hair across my face. "So yank," she said. "What's next for your great Australian travels?" I wasn't sure to be honest. I was in Melbourne longer than I planned out to be, letting a flight to Brisbane 2 days ago leave without me. She laughed hard. She laughed like it was the first time in years.

Beers in Australia went down lovely. Before you realized you could be 20 drinks in, searching for some sort of change for another round. So much for a quiet sober night. 3 bars later and kisses under street awnings. "Not bad for a yank." Not bad at all I thought. Being far away from home gives you great powers I believe. No nonsense banter; awkward mulling over work or relationships. In her front door, bits of clothing disappearing one by one, where they land no one cares. Another little tug of my arm and we're in her bedroom. Crashing against something cold, the corner of my eye catches a glimpse of the room. Spacious with a small terrace with a view. I'm brought back with a final drag onto the bed and the last bits of clothing unclasped and yanked off with a liberating tug.


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