Do you remember my love you wrote me a letter asking for my hand in marriage? You paid someone to write it because you didn’t like your handwriting. I still have it. What would you say if you wrote me a letter today? Address unknown, for I have been feeling a little lost lately.
You keep telling me that we can’t go back. I went today to where it all began; 35 Fitzgerald Street South Yarra. It looks the same. I walked down the driveway and took some photos. I felt like an intruder; I didn’t look like one. I wanted to walk up the stairs and open the door and go in.
The Year is 1993
The apartment is profoundly ordinary—a one-bedroom box with a bed, bookcase, table and two chairs. No TV, as we have no money. It has a bath and a little basin that is attached to the wall. We pay $110 per week in rent.
I’m wearing navy, and my hair is up; it is always up. It’s the end of the day. I place my keys on the bookcase shelf; I won’t be leaving until the morning. You are home; you are always home. I work, and you study. I take off my coat and head into the kitchen. You are there, right behind me. You want to know what’s for dinner. I think as I lean back into you. Your hand is on the top of my shoulder, four fingers resting over my collar bone and a thumb sliding down my spine. How was your day gorgeous, you say. Sometimes we eat; sometimes, our hunger is satisfied in each other’s arms.
The bed dominates spatially and emotionally; we spend days in there, leaving to get food or go to work. We fall asleep every night touching one another. I like that we still do that. And when we wake up, there are remnants of the previous day resting on top of the bed, like we barely moved in the night, so the sound was our slumber. There are novels and notes and textbooks scattered about. Do you remember we would read to one another? Something I have continued to do for others but not for you, my love. Perhaps I should bring that back.
The kitchen drawer, with unvarnished wooden base and a grained pattern. We place the spare coins in there, and every few weeks, we count them to see if there is enough for a pizza and a bottle of red wine. There are many windows in this flat, but I can’t tell you what they look upon. My whole world exists within this little box, and I do not need to leave, not even for a glance.
And so, as my mind roves the landscape of our lives, it chases the good times, the serendipity that sustains me. If I were to write you a love letter today, I would say I still feel young and hungry. Lately, we have been talking about our future life together. And the reason I keep wanting to go back is that I want to live in a room without windows, and then I will never be lost. I keep trying to find this place, but so far, it has eluded me. Let’s be time travellers together.
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