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Rose Lane Ch12

by Jubbly 

Posted: 04 January 2004
Word Count: 3819
Summary: The other chapters are in my profile for anyone following.


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Chapter Twelve

It was ten o'clock in the morning, she'd slept in again. Waking late to a slide show of jumbled images. Anxiety dreams, teeth falling out, finger nails peeling off, those awful chewing gum nightmares - that no one else seemed to have. Sleeping Melanie chewed endless pieces of gum that grew larger with every mastication, filling up her mouth until squelching out and coating her lips then she could finally grab hold of a piece and tug at it but the gum would always stretch and lengthen, never ending - an Indian rope trick. Yet everytime she managed to get rid of it, another piece would pop into her mouth as though she was some sort of illusionist, Mysterious Melanie and her eternal chewing gum.

She lifted her head and slowly came to life, her bad arm felt even heavier in the morning, which reminded her of yet another deranged dream. Melanie walking down that famous street in Hollywood where all the film stars have left their hand prints in the cement. She bends down to take a closer look and places her hands over the celebrity indentations, but when she tries to stand up her right hand is stuck fast. What a typical plaster cast dream, casebook the only difference is the total absence of the indented celebrity, who is it? Marilyn? Judy Garland? Cary Grant? Lassie?


Her head ached,that dull ache caused by cheap wine and too many cigarettes . How pathetic a hangover from drinking at home alone, a fabulous evening spent watching late night pap TV and skipping dinner. As she stepped into the shower and felt the hot water brutally rain down on her tense upper back she remembered she had a lunch date to get to. Her best mate Sarah was meeting her for a catch up gossip and a spot of shopping. Sarah one of her oldest 'over here friends,' quite separate in her mind from her old Aussie pals. Not that there were many of those left, it was difficult to maintain friendships across oceans even now with email, there would always be a time difference. Words poured out , clickety click and posted after mid night were never quite received with the same sentiment in the cold light of day.

Aunt Jean often remarked, 'Why don't you use your spell check Melanie, it's a nightmare trying to decipher some of your letters, hard to believe you earn a living as a teacher.'


It was harder still, when she used to send letters the old fashioned way. Spewing out a flood of passion and sending them all raw in ink only to arrive at their destination several weeks later when the emotional sea was calm once more. Replies of support and encouragement were confusing and frequently led to yet another 'old' friendship fading away, filed under "We just grew apart etc."
The friends she'd made when the boys were babies had all drifted away, moved out of London, gone back to work, realised that after the potty training period was over they really had nothing in common. Then there were her son's friends parents, mmm, nice idea in theory but rarely worked in real life.
Yes I'm sure George is a lovely boy but do I really have to put up with his bloody mother, for God's sake, she's wearing pop socks with sandals and reading 'Take a Break'. No!

Two hours until she had to meet Sarah, plenty of time for a nice cup or two of hot sweet tea a well known hangover cure. Followed by toast with lashes of vitamin b laced vegemite. You had to grow up with it to love it. Matthew thought it tasted like marmite with sand. But Mel's loyalty and antipodean roots always ensured there was a family size jar in the cupboard.


The old diary Aunt Jean had sent remained on the kitchen table, Melanie hadn't delved into it for several days now. It wasn't in the way , he table for traditional purposes these days. Breakfast consisted of coffee and a slice of toast, eaten on the go and all other meals were consumed in front of the telly. It's not that she was depressed, eking out some dire existence in a pigsty of her own making , too exhausted to pick up a jay cloth or plug in the Dyson, things weren't that bad, yet.

Melanie tried to ignore the diary, that key to her personal home time machine , largely on the advice of Sarah.
"You can't live in the past mate, life's about getting on with it, the future , not looking back, very bad for you to dwell."
So there it stayed, a warning of what could happen, a tiny domestic version of the great H G Well's vision of mankind's control over his destiny.

But it was no use, her old life was creeping toward her like the tide gushing over the sand and dumping all the junk , the odd shoes, broken bottles and discarded rubbish back on the beach .
Melanie circled the diary like a panther. If I just open it at any page at random, perhaps that doesn't count, that's not maudlin and delving into the past, just a fun guessing game and so that's what she did.


May, 1972.

Incredible, Jenny Lincoln has quit the show, says she's too busy at the moment and might come back next season. Inge is taking over her role as the main dancer. Angela reckons she's up the duff. She used to be engaged but they broke up, Angela said she saw her crying and Inge was trying to comfort her and look for the little diamond ring that she'd thrown on the floor in the changing room. They both told Angela to get out and go and buy some lollies. Angela was really mad, she said she wasn't a little kid she was nearly 14 and Inge said, so what, that's still a kid, she's 20 which is so old. And she hasn't got a boyfriend. Angela said it was weird the way she had her arms around Jenny, and that Jenny's boyfriend probably dumped her because her and Inge were on with each other. But I don't think they're lezzos, they're too pretty, and Jenny has been really upset lately, always crying. Cindy said her mum said they should think about putting her on the pill, might stop her mood swings.

Grown up Melanie blushed on reading her immature outpourings. The ghost of that odd, little girl stood beside her, sniffing self consciously, frightened eyes constantly seeking approval .
Oh grow up, she thought, you silly, silly girl.

There were tiny drawings at the top of some of the pages, little figures of ballerinas , pointe shoes and amazingly - unicorns. What a peculiar child she'd been. Even then at nearly fourteen, dreaming of mystical horned horses while other girls were experimenting with boys. Learning how to kiss just right and letting boys slip their hands into your knickers on the bus. Not Melanie, she'd redden with embarrassment and feign deafness whenever her peers shared their secret carnal adventures with each other.

"Have you done it yet?"

"Not all the way, but he's lain on top of me and we've rubbed it together."

"Did he put it inside you?"

"No, ergh how disgusting, he just put it between my legs and wriggled it around a bit, it was alright, he liked it."

"What, you took your undies off?"

"No, I pulled them down to my knees and he just took his dick out of his trousers, it wasn't rude or anything."

Melanie felt left out whenever her girlfriends held these intense powwows. She was curious but terrified at the prospect of getting that intimate with a boy, especially one from her school. The seventies was an ugly decade but in suburban Australia, they mined entire new depths of ugliness never seen before in the modern world.

However, peer pressure is a dangerous thing, it can cause whole lives to disintegrate when given in to. So pure, innocent little Melanie caved in and for a young impressionable girl like her it was worse to be thought of as different than to do something that you knew in your heart of hearts you absolutely did not want to do.

One night after a school party where a very questionable punch cocktail was served, the contents being largely gin, vodka and red wine, Melanie had gone for a walk with Michael Beeney. He'd left school the year before and was working as an apprentice plumber. They puffed on cigarettes and shared a can of beer as they walked, Michael getting closer all the time until his shoulder was touching hers.

"Do you still do your belly dancing," he asked her?

"Ballet." she snapped back, feeling slightly queasy from the cigarette.

"Yeah, that's what I said."

Touched by his knowledge of her private life, she warmed to him.
"Not really, not seriously, just for fun really...
But Michael wasn't listening, he stared straight ahead and gripped her elbow, drawing her close to him, he walked faster and she had to almost break into a run to keep up with him.
"We're we going?" she asked.

"To the new houses they're building in the cul de sac, we'll go in one of them."

"Why?" asked Melanie, naively.

He snorted.
"You're funny you are Melanie Baker, right let's try this one, it looks like it's nearly finished.

They walked up the unused drive to a modern house poised on four concrete beams. It was dusty inside , a skeleton of a home. Pots of paint queued in one corner and glassless windows gave them a perfect view of the night sky. Michael took her into a half built room. It was all so surreal.
"Is this going to be the lounge room?" she asked.
Michael ignored her, his breathing quickening. Melanie imagined a sofa and a couple of armchairs dotted about the space, even a television in the corner. This is someone's home, she thought, someone will live their whole life here one day, there'll be a Christmas tree over there and little children will race excitedly out of their bedrooms , skidding down the hall desperate to open their presents.

He pulled her close to him and kissed her clumsily on the lips, neither of them really knowing what to do with their mouths.
"So do you want to do it?"

She looked down, and shook her head,
"No, I don't think so, not yet."
"Tomorrow?" he asked eagerly.
"No," she said. "I've got to go shopping with my mum."
The very thought of her mother dragged her to her senses, she'd most probably kill her if she knew what she was up to. Going into building sites with boys, letting them kiss her, contemplating a timetable when they might indulge in sexual intercourse.

"Ok," gasped Michael, accepting the inevitable. "Just hold this and let me finger you then."

So they sat crushed in the corner, his chubby dirty fingers, exploring her delicate untouched genitals. She winced as his jagged fingernails caught her baby soft skin."
"Come on." he urged.
She occasionally and obviously not frequently enough moved her hand up and down, clutching his short little dick , pulling it out and around until he yelped in pain.

"Fucking hell! Not like that, what are you trying to do to me?"

Finally he took hold of it himself and wanked away until he came, his other hand plunging right into her, in a haphazard rhythm. God she thought, soon he'll be in my stomach.

When it was over and he fell back gasping, she managed to free herself, his sticky wet hand dropped to the floor, she pulled her undies up and noticed her skirt was covered in grease as well as the horrible juice he'd squirted everywhere.

"Shall we go back?" she asked.
"Nah, I've got to mow the lawn for me Nanna, see you round."

She stood up and tried to remember which way they'd walked, when she finally did get back to the party, everyone had paired off and had either disappeared into bedrooms or were in passionate clinches on various bean bags and sofas. No one noticed her at all, then she heard Sheree Hales screeching twang.
"Ergh, look Melanie Baker's been for a walk with Beeney, ergh, did you two do it? "
Melanie's one true friend, Linda Gordon slapped Sheree across the face and within seconds a fight had erupted.

No wonder her mother hated living in the suburbs.

Melanie put the diary down, it was too early in the day and too late in her life span to start remembering everything that may or may not have contributed to any serious personality flaws she now had. Instead she switched on her computer and checked the email. Ping!

Dear Melanie,
Good news, I've got another dog. A poodle of course, Bobby he's called. Used to belong to a friend of mine, Norma Jones, I'm sure you met her, Norma I mean. Anyway, she's had to go and live with her daughter in Sydney because she's got terrible blood pressure and can't cope on her own any more and the daughter's already got a dog, (Don't see the problem there myself) but she's insisted Norma has to give Bobby away. I'd have told her to stuff it, but Norma's not me is she?
Now let me fill you in on the latest, they reckon that body of that poor girl might have been lying there since about 1978, so that makes it years after you left that musical society. Still no ones come forward, nobody's said if they've lost their daughter or that any of their friends or relatives have been missing for twenty odd years. Perhaps she was an orphan, very strange , perhaps no one cared enough about her? You do get that in some families. My friend Valerie's brother's been away for nearly forty years and they don't know where he is. They do know he joined the merchant navy in the early sixties and he was rumoured to have moved to Malaysia and had a family there, Eurasian I expect, but they've no idea really. For all they know he could be dead or living in Tasmania, who knows. He just didn't bother keeping in touch and they didn't have computers and all the stuff they've got these days to keep track of you. No, once you went and disappeared then, you were gone for good. Of course some people just don't want to be found do they? You should try and keep in touch with all your old friends back here Melanie, it's easy now you've got all those search web sites and email addresses. In fact I typed in your name out of curiosity and quite a few pages came up. Most of them were for a different Melanie Baker, a County court judge in Florida, and another one and a psychic spiritual poet, what ever that is in Hong Kong. I typed in your married name and bingo, only stuff to do with the school and various exhibitions and things.
Anyway better go, the veranda roofs leaking so all those old videos of yours got wet and I think they must be ruined. Doesn't matter does it, they're only old black and white films that belonged to your mother, silly old romantic stuff, a couple of dreadful musicals, I've still got her copy of the King and I, that's alright, I watched it the other night with the dogs, it was awful really, that silly Yul Brynner pretending to be Asian, wouldn't get away with it these days would he? Oh and there's still some of those old super 8's of your fathers that your mother had put on video. Do you want me to send them to you? They should be alright as they were in a box near the door, away from the leak. Mind you they'll probably be quite expensive to post, you might have to send me the stamp money. Oh, I've knitted a big black jumper don't know if it's your sort of thing, got the pattern from an old Women's Weekly, 1958, but those things don't go out of fashion do they? There's not much shape to it, some of the pattern was missing it's an old one from a magazine I found in the shed. I improvised a bit but I'm sure it's warm, nearly went blind doing it mind, now I know why Nanna used to complain when you wanted her to crochet those awful purple ponchos you used to wear years ago.
Anyway a jumpers a jumper, I've still got one I made in 1962, full of moth holes but quite warm and it does get cold over there doesn't it?
lots of love
Jean and dogs


Melanie sat at her desk, re reading Aunt Jean's eccentric ramblings on the screen. 1978, Good God, so long ago what had she been doing that year? The personal time machine was really kicking in today. Still at uni, sharing a big old ramshackle house in the inner city suburb of Glebe with a motley collection of fellow students and oddballs. Cliff, the politics major from New Zealand, who hoarded newspapers, piles and piles of them stacked to the ceiling in his room. Every corner a shrine to printing presses. sometimes Cliff would gently tap n Melanie's bedroom door, "Hi, it's me, can I come in?" Melanie always answered the same, "Go back to bed Cliff, I'm asleep."
'But your lights still on."
"Please Cliff, I'm reading, just go back to bed."
Then next morning Cliff would look dejected and hurt, "I wish we could make love Melanie, just once, I know it would be amazing, we wouldn't have to go out together or anything, just be there for each other."
Poor Cliff, at 24 he was the oldest of the group, yet the most immature. After a few months Melanie moved out of the big Edwardian house and into the converted stables of a grand old crumbling mansion further along the street. She'd seen an ad on the notice board in the student union . The current occupant was going overseas and wanted someone artistic, with a love for atmospheric surroundings to move in.
There Melanie lived for the rest of her duration at uni, in the tiny, cramped bedsit, once home to horses now her lodgings. The mansion was broken up into equally seedy flatlets all occupied by an assortment of Sydney's leftovers. A fat ageing woman who lived for her job on the assembly line at a chocolate factory, several Irishmen in their late forties, a couple of very old ladies with drooping bosoms and bloomers that hung below their hemlines often meeting the tops of their tourniquet styled stockings. The whole place smelt of lard and mildew, a sickly unforgettable mixture .
Oh she made it her own, painting the bathroom bright pink and creating a boudoir affect for the bed area. Pinning red chiffon curtains to the walls so they draped seductively over the old wrought iron bed. For now she had lovers. Boys she met, sometimes older than her - mysterious men. Melanie had lost her virginity to a fellow student early on in her course. Mark Bridges, he had very long blonde hair, waist length, blue blue eyes and he was English. He reminded Melanie of her very own version of a Pop stars, just like the ones in the magzines her mum brought home from the Newsagents. They first had sex in his room at his family home in Bellvue Hill, this became a habit for several months, then he finished it.
"Yah, really sorry Mel, but I've met someone else, well actually I've known her for years, we've been sort of boyfriend and girlfriend since we were 15, really sorry, but she wants to get engaged. You okay?"
After that Melanie decided to give up on love and go for the real thing, SEX!!!!

Her suitors never lasted long, a few outings, load's of sex then bye bye, that's how she liked it. The living area of her little home consisted of an old two seater sofa and an armchair both with fraying pale pink and gold tapestry. A threadbare carpet with a barely visible swirly effect almost covered the floor between the lounge room and kitchette, giving Mel just enough space to put up a canvas and paint whenever she felt the desire.

These odd little place were home to Melanie for two years, Flat B, 287 Glebe Point Rd, if she'd looked very carefully at her grandfather Bernie's birth certificate, she might have noticed that in the year of our lord 1895, Bernie Small was born at number 289 Glebe point Rd, the once splendid mansion next door that for a few years on either side of the great war was a convent, now another block of flats. But what did it matter, it was at least four years after she'd stopped dancing with the musical society, could it be poor Jenny Lincoln buried in Brian's garden, as Melanie showered in readiness for her lunch date with Sarah, she thought back to a day long ago.

*
One day, Jenny Lincoln arrived at rehearsal looking pale and drawn, her eyes were red and she'd obviously been crying. When she excused herself for the third time and ran to the toilet Brian called a break and followed her.
Curiosity got the better of Melanie and while everyone helped themselves to soft drinks and biscuits she slipped out of the rehearsal room and crept up the stairs, no one noticed, just like before, the last time she witnessed Brian's special counselling methods.
As she thought, voices could be heard coming for the little disused office on the third floor, up she went, higher and higher , the thrill of making someone else's business her own spurring her on. She peered through the small pane of glass in the door unsure as to what she might find.
Jenny was seated on that same sofa, sobbing, Brian had his arms around her and gently dabbed her tear strewn face with his handkerchief.

"Oh darling, I am sorry, have you decided what to do?"
Jenny nodded,
"I'm..I'm going to get rid of it."
"Are you sure darling?"
"Yes," she said blowing her nose.

"When luv?"

"Next week, the sooner the better, you better get Inge to take my place, I've told her and she knows all the moves, sorry Brian, I'm so sorry."

Brian held her whimpering body against his, and tenderly stroked her hair .

"Ssh, Jenny, ssh, It's going to be ok, you do what you have to do."










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Comments by other Members



Account Closed at 21:13 on 04 January 2004  Report this post
Oh my God, Julie. I have that chewing gum dream Ė often. What does it mean? Please tell me!
You had to grow up with it to love it. Ė Iím with you there. The French HATE marmite. They canít believe we want to put it on our toast.

It wasn't in the way , he table for traditional purposes these days. ? Something got cut?

Her best mate Sarah was meeting her for a catch up gossip and a spot of shopping. Sarah one of her oldest 'over here friends,' quite separate in her mind from her old Aussie pals. Not that there were many of those left, it was difficult to maintain friendships across oceans even now with email, there would always be a time difference. Words poured out , clickety click and posted after mid night were never quite received with the same sentiment in the cold light of day.

It feels like youíre introducing someone new here but we already know Sarah and there was the para about counting her real friends on the fingers of one hand earlier on so this seems redundant (and I was confused at first, thinking it must be someone new)

I like all the description of her student days and her love affairs.

One day, - Do you need this?

Itís definitely hotting up! The plot lines are weaving in nicely together and itís flowing along all on its own now.

Keep it coming
Elspeth


Jubbly at 06:41 on 05 January 2004  Report this post
Thanks Elspeth, helpful as ever. My fingers are quicker than my brain, and I often accidentally cut things out, whoops, will go back and check.


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