As a transcriptor for the deaf, I should know better. Here I am, at 6pm on a Sunday night, listening to my country music full blast with a headset. And yes, I should know better but this feeling… There’s nothing quite like this feeling of being transported back into an inaccessible past though songs and wine.
All these country songs make me think of stories. I guess that’s because that’s what they are: stories. “Ticket to LA” by Brett Young describes a girl and boy meeting at the airport during a storm and realising they aren’t going to same way. They have a drink at the airport and she tells him she’s on her way to law school. They open up gradually and he even misses his flight just to stay there with her. How rom-com is that? I’d watch it.
Or “I Don’t Know About You” by Chris Lane. He meets a girl in a bar and neither one of them are regulars; at least, not at that time of night. In a way, it feels like destiny to be meeting this person who has an attractional pull about them. They talk about favourite beers and tattoos. It’s a moment of conversation and alcohol in a country bar. Two people looking to get away from something, looking for an adventure and a memorable night. It’s kind of ironic that it’s all about getting to know this girl and at the end he realises he doesn’t even know her first name.
As I listen to the stories, I’m also reminded of my own. The first memories are those of my army dates. Lilley, the sweet soldier who took me out for Valentine’s in 2015; or Nick Waugh, the officer buying presents for his nephew from the ABC store who asked me out via email later. Then there was Peter, my very first army man from Austria, who… Who was in the army for the money and the workout. Still a sweetheart though.
If our stories were songs, I’d listen to them often. If they were books, I’d reread them. To be fair though, I’d need to embellish them a bit because the endings aren’t very inspiring. When I think about drawing various scenes, I just want to throw paint at a canvas or scribble on a piece of paper. In a way, it helps me feel new found respect for abstract art.
All that said, you can’t end up with your first loves and romantic lovers. If you did, they would no longer belong to that catergory. Time heals all wounds but it also puts a damper on all romance.
What time won’t do though is take away my memories of sneaking into a military base in the trunk of a truck. It won’t erase my night with a stranger pretending to be a vampire to steal a kiss. It won’t make me forget how much I liked Nick Waugh, or Lilley, or Peter.
With Nick, we went to the movies and had some coffee, drinks and a meal. I remember him telling me he thought it would be cool to meet a sociopath after seeing Night Call, and I thought “my mother is one. Don’t know how cool it is”. He left as quickly as he appeared. No fighting the life of a military boy. We couldn’t spend the New Year together but I made the most of “living in the moment” with him in mind the next day. Drinking champagne on the beach with someone whose name escapes me.
Lilley “picked me up in a bar” through an unusual lie: as a landscaper designing beaches for people like the prince of Qatar, he wanted to know what kind of beaches my friends and I liked. Later, he took me to a French restaurant where I had to translate for the waitress and we almost missed the deadline for the parking lot. He had read “The Shack”, a book I’d loved, and he even came to church with me once. Ben’n’Jerrys… The movies with large popcorn and lollies… The park after hours making out by the lake under the moonlight.
Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing in France when all my fondest “romantic” memories come from Oz. That said, I was more in love with my boyfriends here and I’ve always been more successful professionally. It doesn’t stop me wondering if I won’t somehow find myself back in Australia someday. Deep down, I feel sure of it. I feel sure that this is not my forever life. As someone who has gone through phases of conspiracy theories, religious searching, medium interest, studies on grief, bouts of anxiety and more, I’m sure there are more discoveries in my future. For whatever reason, it doesn’t feel like they’ll all be here.
For now, I’m lucky enough to work in or for at least 5 different companies in a number of different fields while I figure out what all of this is actually about. As they said on QI (a quote from the Congo anthem): “And if we have to die, What does it really matter?”