Coming home from a gig on Saturday night realising that if I managed to make it home by 9pm The Bill would be in full throttle and even with my comprehensive knowledge of back-story I’d struggle to keep up, I stood waiting for the illustrious No 19 tram. Not to worry, I wasn’t alone. I had the luck of keeping company with a couple of teenagers/burgeoning football team and when I say a couple I mean not enough to terrify me into a gang bang, but enough to have quite clearly justified their purchase of two slabs of Jim Bean & Coke.
Not that I’m a snob in the traditional sense, but yes I will admit, a couple of slabs of some sort of pale ale and these young men would have easily transformed in my eyes from just sex offenders to alleged sex offenders.
One of them spat in front of me or threw up (I’m finding it harder and harder to tell these days) before asking me how my night was, well that’s what I thought ‘…avin a good night…cat…apper…penis’ meant.
Having promised myself not to get herpes in this lifetime I stepped back from him and then watched as he tried to chase a car packed with ‘the ladies’ down Sydney Rd egged on by his friends in a way a dog might chase a car, a dog whose parents paid for it’s private school education.
I noticed a girl in the mix drinking a Red Bull with her hair pulled back into a sensible ponytail. She watched the idiots around her and for a moment I was reminded of a young me. One of the boys kept pulling her hooded sweat, trying to drag her over to him like a caveman but to her credit she spurned his advances as he tried to whisper something in her ear. She pushed him away.
‘No Tony, I’m not giving you a hand job.’
You go sister I thought as I smiled to myself.
‘Last time my hand cramped and I couldn’t text for like hours and you didn’t even cum, f**k that.’
How I yearned for those curious fumbling years…
Finally the tram arrived and we all climbed on board, the teenagers by now figuring that if they sat at the back of the tram they’d come across less like drunk dickheads and more like hip urban commuters. I moved to the front as I heard a conversation about ‘how to spot a tardo’ fade into the distance.
Deciding to stand for the next few stops, I noticed an older woman staring at me and found myself wondering for a brief moment if the No 19 was the tram of choice for lesbians to cruising away their Saturday night. I didn’t have to wait long for my answer as the woman came over to me.
‘You remind me a lot of myself when I was your age.’
Now I don’t know about you but I’ve never been into the idea of hooking up with people that look me, admitting though that I was yet to come across 5’3 curvy Latino type gentlemen who couldn’t grow a decent moustache, but hey, the night was young.
‘Um, thanks’ I replied to her, not that it was a compliment she’d paid me as I looked down at her cankles.
‘Back when I was your age I tried to kill myself, didn’t manage it mind you. Just ended up alone.’
My eyes drew away from her cankles and elasticised Susanne Gray pants and I suddenly realised how sad a complete stranger could make me feel.
I didn’t know what to say and my overwhelming curiosity to ask why she hadn’t kept trying was threatening to leap out of my mouth at any moment.
‘Um…I’m sure someone loves you.’ I offered.
‘Does someone love you?’ she asked.
‘My parents I think.’
‘Some of my friends?’
‘What, you mean like a boyfriend or something?’
‘I knew the touch of a man once, his name was Tom. Full of cock and confidence Tom was.’
‘What happened to Tom, did he die in the war or something?’
‘The war? I’m only 37, he was only 17.It was the love that dare not speak its name. Don’t be stupid. Died in the war. No, he just changed schools. It wasn’t meant to be.’
‘That’s a shame.’ I muttered, looking at this woman, this broken woman. Why had she been so unlucky? Would I have the same fate given I once admitted to a crush on the red head from Harry Potter?
‘If you don’t mind my saying your fringe makes you looks like a guard at a women’s prison.’
Oh, this must be why no one loved her.
I pulled the cord announcing my impending stop.
‘Ok, well you have a good night then.’
‘You don’t work in a woman’s prison do you?’
‘Would you like to?’
‘Ok, no harm in asking.’ And with that she started up towards the back of the tram looking to acquaint herself with some of Jim Bean fuelled football team.
As I hoped off the tram I heard her turn to the girl I’d seen earlier.
‘You remind me of myself when I was your age.’
‘I’m not licking you out or nuffin’ the girl spat back at her.
You go sister I couldn’t help but smile to myself.