Below is the fifth chapter taken from an unfinished short story titled The Tale of Sticky Killer.
I wouldn’t say I was surprised with how Emma took to city life – what, with my boasting of Melbourne since we met. But with her outgoing and friendly nature you would have thought a duck to water would have paled in enthusiasm. After a week or two we found an apartment in Hawthorn, I was re-united with city life and I thought Hawthorn and its proximity to the city proper; its upper-middle mood and not being out of reach for my mother in case of need, would be a nice place to settle for a while.
It was far from a lavish lifestyle. We had a small amount of money to get us off the ground. We’d both saved from our McIlroy’s days – not a lot, but enough. Trams were an amusement park ride for Emma. We’d ride them anytime we could. To get coffee, to see a band or to get lost. We had money to buy our fare but Emma enjoyed most of all the not paying. She’d never been anywhere without buying a bus ticket or hitching or sharing a ride with someone from the main house – “it’s a victimless crime, Darling!”
Of course there were ups and downs through our time in our Hawthorn single bedder. The first was a emotionally turbulent year. My mother’s health was (surprisingly) stable and she was in good spirits for the most part. Our relationship was stunted however. She was vague and understandably missed her husband crushingly. I found a job moving furniture and found it hard to keep in touch. This was my fault, I should have done better. It’s a tiring task having to bury your father. You need energy for yourself and your mother. Energy to give at a moments notice: on a Tuesday at 3pm with a phone call “just to say hi”… and talk about your father.
It was a fairly straightforward year from what I remember. Save the proposal. I asked Emma to marry me in what was as casual an action as a mother telephoning her son. It was a Wednesday, my day off, Emma boarded the tram without a ticket and arrived at the cafe with a ring – modest yet beyond my means as a removalist.
Written April 2016