I came to work last week utterly exhausted and my best friend asked me why.
I couldn’t sleep. I was up ’til 2am, I said.
I shrugged. A guy back home messaged me. He said I might be the one and it stressed me out.
She chuckled and said something sarcastic back before swiveling back to her computer.
I didn’t blame her. The Amazon is burning, people are rioting in Hong Kong, and the thing keeping me up at night is a boy’s affection.
Cue obstacle #152 of moving overseas: how to navigate Aussie guys from my past.
This particular guy had been there from the beginning. Credit to him, he stayed in touch after I moved, despite the fact I didn’t say goodbye when I left (let’s not forget I had a kiwi boyfriend).
After I moved here we talked every now and then, but the other night he messaged me asking which city I lived in again, wanting to search photos of Wellington on the internet.
He said he wanted to come visit. I said I had no annual leave.
He said he thought we had a lot in common and got along well. I reminded him he didn’t want marriage or kids, that it would never work.
He said he’d changed his mind.
I said I didn’t want to live in Adelaide again.
He said he wanted to move from Adelaide.
I said he should probably stop messaging me and go find a girl to settle down with.
He said: What if it’s you?
I could feel the cortisol pumping through my veins, my heart rate increasing. I didn’t want this. I wanted to stay in my single, Wellington bubble, not go back into my past, back to a guy who didn’t treat me that fabulously when I was young and vulnerable.
But he sounded different. Maybe it could work now, after all, I had wanted it when I was twenty-two, right?
He said he would check his work schedule for the next few months and let me know when he could come over to visit. I said goodnight and lay awake for another hour, eyes wide.
A awoke to a message in the morning: I miss you.
A couple of months ago another Aussie guy from my past had gotten in touch via Instagram. We hadn’t spoken in four years. He was living in London and when I told him I wanted to move there someday he confessed he missed me and wanted to take me on a date. I felt uneasy. Was I really going to go all the way to the United Kingdom, live among delicious British accents, only to settle for a guy I’d slept with when I barely knew what an orgasm was?
A few days after my sleepless night I was perched comfortably in a bookstore’s chair when a message came through, asking what I was up to.
I said I was finding some new fiction to read, researching for my novel.
Mr. Adelaide asked what my book was about.
I told him it was a fictionalised version of things I’ve learnt living in Wellington.
Oh, so like an autobiography?
Oh. Why don’t you write an autobiography? People enjoy reading real stories. They can relate.
Who did he think I was? Michelle Obama?
He continued: so you’re reading to work out what you need to write in order to get published?
By this point I considered not replying at all. Instead I said: no, i’m reading to study different author’s writing crafts.
He then told me that writing books fueled capitalism and the only reason people write is to feed their ego and get their name on display.
But apparently we are fit for marriage?