NGV #4: Points

The pool (1909)  J. J. HILDER
The pool (1909) J. J. HILDER

Inspired by The pool by J. J. HILDER (1909)
 
OUT IN THAT wide field with you but also before that, you touched yourself in the shower while I waited in your room (imagined that I heard you), before we went to the game, then to eat, then to the party. Open air (imagined you saying my name), you said B was walking around with a shotgun but you were pretty fucking high, marsh ground, soles slipping, hung onto a wire fence while we talked.

You fit a smoke into my mouth while I held our drinks, I think I looked at you in the way I always tried not to when you lit it for me (imagined your thumb on my mouth), hand on the crushed collar of my shirt. You were looking past me, at everyone back under the lights, sounds spanned the distance, girls lay on wild grass, someone stacking the fire pit high. Are you having a good time, Willie (imagined you touching my teeth), do you wanna go (imagined blowing you in the cab home), do you think everyone’s gonna sleep out here tonight? I said it’s warm, you nodded, had your eyes on the water in front of us, manmade lake, a cut in the earth, said wanna go in.

I looked at the eucalypt bending in the blue, the sky was deep with colour. I pointed it out, gestured, see how that colour is almost the same in the water, almost exact but darker, see how the shape of the tree starts to dissolve, see that flat light, see how it shifts, see how blue becomes ashy, becomes greener, becomes fluid.

But I didn’t say any of that (imagined your eyes changing), I knew it was too much. Your face was dull in the light, blue the colour of suffocation but I saw the heavy breaths you took, the drag on that cigarette (imagined smoke from your mouth to mine). You said summer’s gonna sweat, I said no shit, you tipped the rest of your drink down fast, spilled it on your shirt, seeping through cotton, wet patch touched your skin (imagined pulling it away from your body).

You wanted to do more so we walked back, left that blue time behind just as most of the trees were folding into darkness. In the house we were standing in the hallway, everyone smoking inside, the light was pink (imagined your flush face), signal for another drink, came back to find you leaning against a wall, eyes closed, mouthing a song, nobody noticed me and how I was looking at you (imagined that deep sound), you said thanks without looking, said come stand with me, your hand on my arm (imagined a different intention), you said I feel good now (imagined you pressed against) I said yeah yeah, you said alright.

 
 

About Laura Stortenbeker 1 Article
LAURA STORTENBEKER is a Melbourne-based writer and editor. Her work has been published in Overland, Meanjin, Chart Collective, and the Review of Australian Fiction. In 2016 she was the recipient of a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk fellowship. She is currently working on collection of short fiction.