FLAME TREES

The other day I heard the Sarah Blasko version of Flame Trees and remembered that summer we all drove down the south coast. and my heart was broken. When we stopped at the lookout before Wollongong the sun was glaring and everyone else seemed so happy and confident. My heart wasn't broken for him, I didn't care about him much at all actually, but broken because he'd walked away. Changed his plans, found something more, and I felt like - as usual - I just missed out. Missed out on having someone by my side for the new year, someone to get sticky and sweaty next to in the car on the long drive, someone to duck under waves with or just smile at, over busy share house dinners in a seen-better-days holiday house for those five balmy nights.

Instead I got two rainbow ice creams after dinner the first night and spent most of the rest of the time quiet, reading my book on the couch. I mostly felt constantly out of place. It was too hot, none of us could stand the heat and the nights felt heavy and long. I spent one afternoon sitting on the bench outside Woolworths for forty minutes, just for the relief of the air conditioning and the quiet.

Eleven or so years later it doesn't seem to matter much, he chose me in the end and I walked away anyway, but it's the disappointment that still hurts. It feels too familiar, too common, too much of what's left when things don't work out.