Friday, June 30, 2006
Nina Simone

The last few trains on Wednesdays are always surprisingly full. There are less carriages, and they are livelier and louder than those on the stoic peak hour trains. Passengers in suits, coats, jumpers, tracksuits, dresses, skirts and jeans sit and tak or read papers, or in Melbourne Train Girl's case tap their feet to the music in their headphones and write.

She listens to Nina Simone and closes her eyes to let that voice surround her. Blocking out the harsh lights, blocking out the loud conversations, and blocking out the scrolling words that thank her for travelling with Connex. She writes and writes until her pen runs out, and when a search for one that works in amongst the endless array of useless items in her handbag comes up empty she turns phrases over in her mind, remembering and refining the best ones.

She writes in someone elses diary. She found it on a bench on the platform at Flinders Street, and has been carrying it in her handbag ever since. Useless items. She had shown it to the Short Boy, and he had turned to her like an excited school boy and told her they would each tell the other who they thought had owned it. Melbourne Train Girl had lit up and dived hungrily into his game. People fascinate her. He fascinates her.

Now she adds her thoughts to the international phone numbers, the letter to god and the notes on a manicure class. She thinks she might leave it somewhere herself after a time. She wonders who will find it and what they will think when they read it. Will they add their own words to those already accumulating? She hopes so.

Nina Simone plays through her head long after she has turned the music off, and her hands have once again found themselves a working pen. She could listen all day and all night and still never hear all of what that voice and those fingers over ivory keys can do.

posted by melbourne train girl 3:12 am

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Big screens

It was after 5am when Melbourne Train Girl got into her house.

"I think I'm going to miss you when I go away..." the Short Boy said as they once again sat in his car outside her house.
"And I think I'll miss you too..." Melbourne Train Girl replied.
"...which is is a little odd seeing as it hasn't been very long at all," he continued, smiling.

At 8:22pm that evening Melbourne Train Girl stepped onto the train. She was supposed to catch the earlier one, but it had taken longer than expected to get to the station. She sent the Short Boy an SMS telling him she would be late.

On the train there were people everywhere dressed in green and gold. They waved Australian flags and children laughed excitedly at the prospect of staying out much later than their bed time. Melbourne Train Girl decided she was the only person on that train going in to the city to watch a film instead of the soccer.

She took the hair tie she kept constantly around her wrist, and the bobby pins from her coat pocket, and tied her hair first up high, then low, and then to the side. Frustrated, she put the hair tie back around her wrist, the pins back in her pocket, and left her hair loose. It hasn't been cut in over a year, and Melbourne Train Girl doesn't know quite what to do with it. She thinks she is growing it. But she's not sure.

Once in the city more and more people dressed in layers of jumpers, coats and green and gold scarves joined the crowds coming up on escalators from train platforms and putting tickets through barriers. Melbourne Train Girl crossed the road with them, and stepped onto the first waiting tram.

The Short Boy would be in the book store near the cinema. Melbourne Train Girl walked in, and wondered which section she would find him browsing. She spotted his shaved head and black jacket at the magazines. He was reading an industrial design magazine - she liked that very much.

He kissed her hello and told her he had already bought tickets. It was his choice of film, and he had chosen well. Dark and funny; although after it was over they both agreed that the ending let it down. They sat close in the dark cinema, he on the left and she on the right. Melbourne Train Girl's left foot rested on her right thigh, her knee on the Short Boy's left. He held her hand and everything was so comfortable. At times she rested her head on his shoulder, and he rested his head on her's.

The Short Boy is only a little bit shorter than Melbourne Train Girl.

They stepped out of the cinema and into the bustling excitement of Lygon Street. All around people in coats and jackets and hats and scarves greeted each other, and restaurants and pubs were full with patrons and anticipation as large crowds drank beer and huddled around outdoor heaters, waiting for the soccer match to start. The street had been closed off, and police and security stood casually chatting to one another. They could afford to. The crowd were all surprisngly good natured.

At a busy pub Melbourne Train Girl drank hot chocolate, he a coffee, and they shared a plate of dips. Then the game started, and they decided to walk down to where one of the large screens was erected on the road. It was freezing cold. They stood, arms around each other, making bets on when the first goal would come. He said minute 37, she said 48. Both were wrong. At half time they walked to the other end of the street to watch the second half of the game on the other screen. This time the Short Boy stood behind Melbourne Train Girl, his hands in her coat pockets and his head on her shoulder. He hummed a little jig and they danced together to it to keep warm.

"What are you singing?" Melbourne Train Girl asked.
"Nothing. Just a made up song. The Short Boy's special song." he replied, still singing.

Melbourne Train Girl smiled and put her hands in her pockets to clasp his.

Australia lost.

The crowd dispersed, cold and subdued, walking back to cars or into homes. The Short Boy hummed again as they walked hand in hand.

"What are you singing now?" Melbourne Train Girl asked, "Short Boy's Song 2?"
"No, I think this is the same song as before. The second verse."

Melbourne Train Girl smiled again. She kissed him on the cheek and then they ran across the road to his car.

Melbourne Train Girl doesn't think she will see him again before he leaves, but she is certain he will call her. And he will miss her. She wonders if he realises just how much she will miss him.

posted by melbourne train girl 3:29 pm

Sunday, June 25, 2006
So soon

On Thursday the Short Boy is leaving to go overseas for five weeks. Melbourne Train Girl knew he was going, but she didn't realise it was so soon.

"When do you get back?" she asked him last night as they sat in his car, her chin resting on her hands, her hands resting on his shoulder.
"The beginning of August," he replied as he tucked a stray piece of Melbourne Train Girl's auburn hair behind her ear, "and I hope that I'll still be able to see you after I get back."

Thinking now about the way he pronounced that sentence makes Melbourne Train Girl's heart beat a little faster.

"I hope so too," she replied smiling, and then joked, "but you might meet some lovely Croatian girl and forget all about me."
He looked at her and raised an eyebrow.
"I don't think that will happen. But you could meet some dashing young man who comes and sweeps you off your feet, and then you'll forget all about me."
Melbourne Train Girl smiled, then hesitated slightly before answering "No, I don't think that will happen either" and kissing him on the cheek. Telling him that she didn't want anyone else to sweep her off her feet would give away how much she actually liked him.

For some reason he makes her a little shy.

Five weeks is too long. She told him that.

"Can you fit in a suitcase?" he asked.

It was getting late. She told him that too.

"I am saving sleep for when I am on the plane."

He is leaving on Thursday.

And things are only just beginning.

Melbourne Train Girl wonders how little sleep he can survive on until then...

posted by melbourne train girl 2:08 pm

Friday, June 23, 2006
At last...

The Short Boy had surprisingly soft hands.

Melbourne Train Girl was going to catch the last train home, but he offered to drive her, on the condition that they stay out a little later and have another drink. Of course Melbourne Train Girl accepted. They flirted. His hand on her leg when she made a joke, her shoulder against his on the couch as they talked. He let her eat the wedges of lime from his finished vodka.

He stopped his nice car outside her house, behind Melbourne Train Girl's not so nice car that hadn't started that morning. He left the engine running.

"That's my stupid car," she said, pointing at it. "Cars are more trouble than they're worth."
"Hey, cars are what got you home," he replied patting his steering wheel, "don't knock them!"
"That's true," she turned to him and smiled.

That was when he lent over the hand brake and kissed her.

His skin smelled like Germany and he tasted like limes. There are still traces of him on her jumper; Melbourne Train Girl wore it again today for that reason.

It was ten minutes before he took his hands from around her neck and shifted to turn off the engine. He kissed her again as he pulled up the handbrake with a soft click.

"Your foot was on the brake that whole time?" she asked.
"Yes, it was," he laughed. Melbourne Train Girl remembered how much she liked his voice.

It was 1:30am when they arrived at her house.

When the radio announcer said it was 2:30 Melbourne Train Girl stretched and looked at him with her head inclined.

"You have to work tomorrow..." she said as she touched his open palm with her own.
"I'm past the point of no return now," he ran his hand down the inside of her arm, "I'll be tired no matter what."

At 3:30 the rain started again.

"Aren't you glad you accepted my lift?" he smiled and brushed Melbourne Train Girl's hair away from her face.
"Very glad," she returned his smile and traced his lips with her finger.
"You would have had to walk home from the station in the rain!"

At 4:30 the rain had stopped. They both stretched and reluctantly agreed it was time to part.

"So can we do this again?" he asked her, his fingertips on her cheek.
"I'd love to," Melbourne Train Girl kissed the palm of his hand.

It was very cold when she left his car and walked to her front door. But she didn't feel a thing.

posted by melbourne train girl 4:54 pm

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Less than two hours.

Melbourne Train Girl didn't take the train today. That is why she is early. She will sit outside the State Library and eat the mandarine she found in her bag while she waits. The scent will linger on her hands and when the Short Boy arrives he will smile and comment on it. Then the next time someone is sitting nearby him, breaking soft orange skin with their fingers, he will think of her. Or so Melbourne Train Girl likes to hope.

There is a man nearby her with his shoes off. He is slouched, in an olive green knitted jumper with a forest green parka hanging on the back of his chair. He looks very bored. Melbourne Train Girl looks at the rolled up cuffs of his jeans, and his black socks. The heavy creases in the back of his jumper distract her for at least several minutes.

Less than an hour and a half.

The tiny butterflies inside Melbourne Train Girl's stomach are growing more restless. They have begun to dance and chase each other in and out of her ribs, following one another up to her chest, to quicken her heart just a little. Melbourne Train Girl's right shoe is coming apart. She should have chosen a less worn pair, but she will have to walk home from the station. And these are comfortable. He will find them charming, she decides. The butterflies laugh and dance faster at her optimism.

Less than one hour.

There has still been no real kiss. How will he greet her tonight? The butterflies swarm at the thought of his lips. Melbourne Train Girl takes a breath and lets the air escape very slowly from her nose. She closes her eyes. She had not worn a very heavy coat tonight, and the air is very cold. She wonders if he will warm her with an arm around her shoulders. If he does, Melbourne Train Girl will turn to face him, take his hands and draw them around her waist. And then she will kiss him. If he doesn't, she will possibly still do the same.

Less than half an hour.

She will kiss him.

And hopefully he will kiss her back.

posted by melbourne train girl 6:46 pm


The Short Boy emailed Melbourne Train Girl today. And he called her tonight. Melbourne Train Girl was so excited about his phone call that she promptly fell over very embarassingly.

posted by melbourne train girl 2:04 am

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Red wine

Melbourne Train Girl had been in the city since lunch time. She wasn't meeting the Short Boy until nine. At exactly 8:02pm she walked to the tram that would take her to their decided meeting place.

When the Short Boy had told her the name of the place to meet in, Melbourne Train Girl wasn't quite sure whether it was a bar or not. She replied to his SMS.

"Is that a venue, or an oddly named architectural landmark?"

He had laughed in reply, and told her it was a place. That day he sent her an email with a map in it. Just in case Melbourne Train Girl was thinking about getting lost, he said.

Melbourne Train Girl left the tram and walked down Bourke Street. It was a Monday night, so restaurants were all closing early. Short, stout Italian men in aprons were dismantling umbrellas and stacking chairs on the street, whilst younger, thinner Italian men swept floors and wiped down tables inside. One restaurant owner greeted Melbourne Train Girl as she passed. She waved politely, and continued walking.

It was exactly 8:52pm when she arrived at the laneway. She decided to wait for him on the corner. She stood in her red shoes until exactly 8:58pm, when she changed her mind and walked to wait inside the bar.

"What can I get you?" the barman greeted her.
"Just a glass of house red please," Melbourne Train Girl replied with a smile.
"What are you up to on a Monday night?" he asked as the dark red liquid ran down the inside of the large glass. Melbourne Train Girl's fingernails were painted the same colour as the wine.
"I'm meeting a friend," she smiled, more to herself than the bartender.
"An old friend, or a new friend?" he asked, and Melbourne Train Girl caught a knowing glint in his eye. She knew he had picked up on her nervous fumbling inside her bag for change.
"A new friend," she replied, smiling again, this time at the bartender.
He left her to sit akwardly on the too short stool, with her too large wine glass on the bar. Melbourne Train Girl waited and watched the door.

When the Short Boy arrived he greeted her with a kiss on the cheek. They went to sit on a quiet couch in a quiet corner once he had ordered a drink.

Melbourne Train Girl drank red wine.

The Short Boy drank vodka.

Their conversation was lively. They laughed a lot, and the hesitancy she had been feeling toward liking him disappeared completely. With each drink the space between them on the couch narrowed. There was an intoxicating tension hovering in the air. Melbourne Train Girl didn't pull away when her foot brushed his leg, and the Short Boy didn't hesitate when his hand brushed her arm.

They lost track of time.

Melbourne Train Girl should have been at the station at 12:13pm for the last train. It was already 12:24. The Short Boy asked if he could offer her a lift. Melbourne Train Girl smiled and said she had no choice but to accept.

The Short Boy had a very nice car. It made Melbourne Train Girl feel young, and very much a student. The Short Boy can also speak fluent Japanese. Melbourne Train Girl can only speak semi-fluent German and a little French. That also makes Melbourne Train Girl feel young.

When they arrived at her house they said goodbye. This time his kiss was directed at her lips, and not her cheek. It was only a tiny peck. And that was somehow more exciting than any other kiss Melbourne Train Girl has ever had.

posted by melbourne train girl 10:26 am

Thursday, June 15, 2006
A kiss

The Short Boy lent in to kiss Melbourne Train Girl goodbye on the cheek. She misjudged his direction and they almost met in the middle. Almost. Melbourne Train Girl laughed at the akward moment that followed. On the second try he found her cheek, and then they parted ways.

The Short Boy was different to the Tall Boy. The Tall Boy was loud and vivacious. A big personality who threw himself completely open to the world, leaving nothing to mystery. The Short Boy on the other hand was quieter, and perhaps a little shy. Melbourne Train Girl had to unwrap him slowly, layer by layer; peeling away each newly discovered secret to reveal another.

The Short Boy didn't make Melbourne Train Girl feel as though she had just left a tornado the way the Tall Boy did. Every time she saw him he left her even more intrigued than the time before.

Tonight there had been some akward silences, but he had always filled them.

Now, the thought of the hints of South Africa in his voice made Melbourne Train Girl's stomach flip unexpectedly. She closed her eyes on the train and imagined he was sitting next to her, talking.

Then she imagined kissing him. She wondered what moment would lead up to that first kiss. Melbourne Train Girl was getting too used to drinking a little too much wine and letting the alcohol make that moment. It was easier that way.

But was it more fun?

Perhaps they would stand on a tram together. And perhaps the tram would jolt, and he would catch Melbourne Train Girl's shoulders to stop her from falling...

Or perhaps they would go indoor rock climbing like a few weeks ago, near closing time when the gym was empty, just the two of them. He would belay her down much too fast, and then offer his arm to help her up from where she had landed...

Or maybe he would walk her to her door, and as he laughed at the plastic plant her mother kept hanging in a basket on the front porch he would tell her he had had a lovely evening, take her hands in his, and leave just one simple kiss on her lips.

posted by melbourne train girl 12:33 am

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Guitar strings

A young boy stepped onto the train carrying a guitar. He didn't have a case, and when he sat down in the far corner of the carriage he began to play very softly. Melbourne Train Girl listened as his fingers danced tentatively up and down the frets, picking out scales and arpeggios. She heard the notes only every now and then, but the sliding of his fingers along the steel wrapped strings drifted down the carriage, rhythmic and steady.

He looked like Nick Drake, Melbourne Train Girl thought. She wondered how old he was. Younger than her.

He rested his head on the body of the guitar, listening to the strings. Melbourne Train Girl smiled. She often does the same when she plays.

It was not even 5pm, and already the sky was close to night. The sun was low and beautifully golden against the silouhettes of trees and small houses rushing past. To the east it was impossibly dark. By the time she reached the city everything would be black, and there would be no stars. The sky would reflect the street below, hundreds of bodies in black coats rushing for trains and trams, and Melbourne Train Girl would be standing in red as the tides of people flowed around and past her.

Melbourne Train Girl had looked at her red shoes before leaving the house.

She had put on black boots instead.

posted by melbourne train girl 7:27 pm

Monday, June 12, 2006
Washed up

Melbourne Train Girl sent the Tall Boy one final SMS yesterday afternoon. By that stage she was sure she had hit the ball squarely into his court. It was a flirty SMS. A fun SMS. An SMS she had spent the morning thinking about. Drafting in her head. It was the kind of SMS he should have read with a smile, and then replied with something equally devious and saucy.

Now it is today afternoon and he hasn't replied.

Melbourne Train Girl is fairly sure it is doomed.

The ball is sitting in his court, but it seems he has decided to keep it. Perhaps he decided she was too crazy. Or found someone a little less deranged who he liked a little more.

Melbourne Train Girl has told herself she is not going to think about it any more. She even put her phone away in her bedroom.

But Melbourne Train Girl thinks she really did like him...

posted by melbourne train girl 2:45 pm

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Melbourne Train Girl had called the Tall Boy yesterday.

There had been no answer.

She couldn't concentrate on anything all day, and she still can't concentrate on anything today.

She even forgot to hold her breath as the train passed the cemetary.

She did take notice, however, when the train stopped completely and all the lights went out. Passengers on her carriage looked around, over their shoulders, and out the windows. Faces that would normally remain blank made eye contact, and a collective tension rose up from the floor to hover dense and silent in the air. Then, as suddenly as it had come, it was gone, sighed away, as the train engine rumbled to life and order was restored to the world.

Melbourne Train Girl looked down at her red coat and saw that she had covered the front of it with biscuit crumbs. She brushed herself down but to no real effect. The girl sitting opposite her screwed up her nose and furrowed her overely pencilled eyebrows. Melbourne Train Girl smiled apologetically, although why, she wasn't quite sure.

Last night Melbourne Train Girl's friends had gone to the pub, but Melbourne Train Girl had stayed home intending to do homework. She had written three sentences. Her friend's work friend, the Short Boy would have been there. Perhaps she should have gone.

The Short Boy had come to see her unexpectedly at The Bar two Wednesdays ago. he was very sweet, and very intelligent. As they had chatted, Melbourne Train Girl had listened to his accent. Here and there she picked up little hints of South Africa. She had asked, and he had told her he was born there.

She hadn't known that; she liked that he was surprising her. Perhaps she should have gone last night...

Instead she had sat on her couch and watched an episode of Wallace and Gromit. It wasn't until she was half way through that she remembered she had watched the Wallace and Gromit movie with the Tall Boy those weeks ago when she had stayed at his house. They had sat, in separate chairs, his hand on her leg, her hand on his, tracing the outline of his knuckles. That was nice.

Today Melbourne Train Girl was on her way to the State Library. She hoped that she would get more work done out of her house. Melbourne was grey. So grey that the tops of the tallest buildings disappeared into the viscous covering of fog. They looked never ending. Melbourne Train Girl wondered what you would see if you were on the top storey looking out of the window.

Sitting in the Reading Room at the library, Melbourne Train Girl fidgeted and wasted time. She switched off her phone, but a minute later turned it back on again. She sat, her papers spread in front of her, watching the girl at the next study booth highlight notes about vaccination.

Melbourne Train Girl knows she won't be able to start up as easily as the train did. She knows she will get nothing done for the rest of the afternoon.

She packed up her books and walked outside to meet a new friend for coffee. Standing on the corner of Swanston and Latrobe streets, a Canadian boy she had met at a bar last Friday walked past. He didn't see her. They had chatted for half an hour or so that night, until Melbourne Train Girl wanted to dance with her sister to the gypsy jazz that was playing. She had invited him, but he declined. He didn't look like much of a dancer.

He had told Melbourne Train Girl he was a primary school teacher. She believed him. When she told him what she did, he told her he thought she would have been a writer. Melbourne Train Girl is not a writer. She wonders if she looks like one. Melbourne Train Girl can't even remember his name.

Melbourne Train Girl wrote four more setences today.

That makes a total of seven.

Melbourne Train Girl needs her concentration back.

posted by melbourne train girl 7:12 pm

Friday, June 09, 2006

Late Wednesday night Melbourne Train Girl stood at Parliament Station waiting for the train. She had missed the previous one by exactly thirteen seconds. The doors had closed and the train had pulled away just as she reached the bottom of the escalator. The next train was thirty minutes away.

To pass the time, Melbourne Train Girl had taken the two escalators back up to the station entrance. The second escalator is very long and very steep, and Melbourne Train Girl likes to stand, looking right up at where it ends, far above her. It is so steep that it feels like she is travelling horizontally. Once she had arrived at the top she turned back around and proceeded down to the platform again.

She had stood on the platform next to a woman wearing purple socks for the remaining seventeen minutes.

The train had arrived, and she had sat on the floor near the door with her Wednesday cases and bags around her. There were no seats left. They were all taken up by pairs of people falling asleep on each others shoulders. There was a couple by the door opposite her. He had held onto her arm much too tightly, as if afraid someone would come and steal her away. Even when she went to look at the map of stations on the wall he kept his grip firm. If Melbourne Train Girl were that girl she would have told him off. She then would have gone and stood defiantly next to the cute boy towards the back of the carriage. This girl just stood. Perhaps she liked it.

Her car was much too far from the station.

And the night was much too cold.

Melbourne Train Girl's smile has been slowly wearing off...

She had met the Tall Boy for lunch on Monday. It was over much too soon. Now it is Friday and she wants to call him, but she has called him much too much. Which isn't very much at all, but much more than he has called her. It is now Friday, and Monday was too long ago.

This morning, she woke to her phone ringing. Too tired to answer it, she let it ring out. She lay for a while, and then the thought that it could have been him calling her bobbed to the surface of her sleepy mind. Her room was cold, but she threw off her blankets anyway and stood shivvering, in only a pair of underpants, listening to her voicemail.

It wasn't him.

It was a friend, older and wiser than her in the ways of love.

She sent him an SMS, and told him she was hoping he was the Tall Boy.

He replied and told her she should just call the Tall Boy. "What have you got to lose?", he had said.

As Melbourne Train Girl's finger hesitates over the call button on her mobile, she thinks she should stop taking advice from friends.

posted by melbourne train girl 12:10 pm

Friday, June 02, 2006
Melbourne Train Girl wondered if she should have added a smiley face at the end


TO: Tall Boy

MESSAGE: My red shoes and I will be at That Bar on Brunswick Street tonight. We would very much like your company if you are free. We shall be waiting together downstairs.


posted by melbourne train girl 9:09 am

melbourne.train.girl takes the train. And sometimes the tram and the bus as well. She is the girl in the corner seat wondering if the boy by the window will say hello.


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