Saturday, July 22, 2006

Just past 8am. Melbourne's sky was a fresh clear blue, Melbourne Train Girl's hair freshly red. She dyes it herself with henna, spreading the thick green mud onto her hair and then sitting for five hours, her head wrapped in cling wrap, a shower cap and a thick towel. Her new fringe covers the orange stain in her hairline.

She has not slept since the night before last, and her stomach churns with too much chocolate and nowhere near enough substantial food. At just past 9am she will arrive home, but she will not go to bed. Instead she will email the Short Boy. She lets the sentences she will write meander and form in her mind as she sits watching the neglected backs of brick buildings go by the train window.

It has been more than three weeks. And less than two until he is back. In that time he has sent two SMS messages, one exlusively to her, and two emails, one exclusively to her. She: three SMS's and two emails. He is always playful and funny with his words, and Melbourne Train Girl uses too many and makes jokes in her replies.

On Tuesday the friend who introduced Melbourne Train Girl to the Short Boy had returned from overseas. On Thursday fancy coffees and pots of tea were spread on a table in a local café to welcome her home.

"You have nothing to worry about," Long Legged Friend said to Melbourne Train Girl with a smile as she added milk to her tea, "the Short Boy is really into you."

She had met up with him in Berlin, where they had apparently talked of Melbourne Train Girl quite a bit.

By the time Melbourne Train Girl reached her stop, clouds had begun to gather in the west to sprinkle themselves across the sky. Melbourne Train Girl predicted that before 11 it would be grey and like winter again. The weather never setlles in Melbourne. She sat on the train distracted by her thoughts, and it wasn't until she saw the sign of her station disappearing into the distance that she realised she had missed it. She caught the train back from the next stop and was at her car, after that short detour.

Things and places and people and names no longer remind Melbourne Train Girl of the Short Boy. Instead he sits perched constantly in the back of her mind, smiling the silly way he does. Melbourne Train Girl can never recall faces, but his dances like a photograph.

The first time they had met was on Friday the 24th of March. Melbourne Train Girl had liked his lego shirt, and he had liked her red shoes and the matching red lace she had safety-pinned around her wrist. Those tipsily exchanged compliments at the start of the night and about ten minutes of conversation at the end were the only words that they had spoke.

"My friend the Short Boy really liked you Melbourne Train Girl!" Long Legged friend had said several days after that night.

"The Short Boy...which one was he?" Melbourne Train Girl never remembers names.

Long Legged Friend had described him, and Melbourne Train Girl had remembered him by his T-Shirt.

That was the first time they had met. All Melbourne Train Girl's friends now know that story. Some have possibly heard it more than once.

Finally, Melbourne Train Girl arrived home and opened her email.

posted by melbourne train girl 3:54 pm

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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from the archives
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April 2006
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