Steve and Rae
“Fuck it’s hot” Steve exclaimed. “God I hate this place, it’s so small, dank dusty and dingy”, he blurted . he was lying on his bed in the flat behind the café. Luckily the café was closed so no one heard him carrying on like a lune.
Steve lay on his bed pondering and turning his thoughts over. Inner-city Melbourne baked on the hottest most torturous dangerous summer ever experienced. Not knowing the horrid tragedies to come due to deadly bushfires.
This was the worst weather he had experienced in many years and he was trying to hide from the oppressive 43C degree heat.
While contemplating the situation he couldn’t help but notice the irony as he had grown up in Western Australia which is well known for its heat, dry weather and frequent heat waves.
Steve had recently arrived in Melbourne and was trying to get accustomed to this new environment this grand old wonderful city Australia’s second largest city. A city very different from where he grew up in Western Australia,
and a complete contrast to the place where he just left in Northern New South Wales in the district linked with Byron Bay.
If the café was open he wouldn’t feel as comfortable even being home let alone trying to relax and chill-out on this extremely hot Melbourne day.
What were the words to that song Minyama Manyana; – Melbourne in summer no place for fun.
Anyway what would I know about fun? Steve asked himself.
He didn’t want to let himself slide into that familiar dark, dangerous spiral to persecution and loathing. He was just taking the opportunity to do nothing and avoid the heat. “One thing about living in this dump it makes me really appreciate where I’ve been before and motivates me to get out and do more for myself”, he thought.
“I thought that place on Stirling Highway was crappy and it was, but, it’s nothing compared to this. And, at least that was near the river, beach and Freo. But, Jesus I was really down then and even though I had lots of good stuff around me and was seeing people occasionally and going out and stuff.
I was lucky that night, imagine if I’d fallen further probably would have broken a few things and god knows how long I would have been there before anyone noticed me. It sure woke me up in more ways than one.
Don’t think pot, heat and depression were a good combination at that time for sure. How did I get myself out of that clog-mire?
Did I do anything or just wait for intervention?
On reflection the flat in Cottesloe was alright. It was probably more his attitude. He wasn’t too sure what was really wrong with him but, he knew he better change it fast. His late night `stoned-out` stroll along the hilltop and unexpected fall to reality helped him realise that he wanted life and wanted to experience as much of it as he could.
Steve was having one of his self-exploration moments. Asking himself lots of unanswerable questions but, this time he wasn’t getting sad or mad when he couldn’t find the solutions just by lying down and thinking about them He had a goal, as usual it was pretty vague and had no plans to put it into action. But, he knew what he wanted and knew that waiting for intervention divine or otherwise would not work. He didn’t want to be a victim anymore; so, could not rely on being rescued. And, he certainly was in no position to be anyone’s white knight, so being the rescuer was out of the question too. One thing he’d realised lately that it wasn’t about trying to escape; it was about trying to improve his situation and for once attempt to look towards the future and look forward to it.
Steve got off the bed and decided to put some music on and make a cup of tea. He chose a unnamed mixed music folder on the computer pressed play and waited to see what came out. It was great some good old country rock`n`roll. Then a bit later the computer played a very familiar track – The Pretty Place and as usual it brought a tear to his eye but also made him smile broadly. “It’s great now that song has a pretty location that I can link with it as well as the pretty face I always associate with it”, he thought to himself. He put the track back to the start turned it up loud and sang along with it as best he could. The memory of that beautiful bay and lovely time always filled his heart with joy.
He and Rae had such a brilliant time when they stayed on their holiday on the bay up the North Coast. It was relaxing, fun and just simply wonderful to spend time doing whatever they pleased and loving one-another.
While Steve thought about his future in Melbourne town his mind drifted back to where this current adventure started.
It was a beautiful Spring evening in Fremantle. The town had been celebrating The Blessing of The Fleet, a wonderful joyus tradition started by Italian fishermen.
First introduced to Fremantle by Italian migrant fisherman in 1948 and is a celebration of fishing traditions, religion and the wider Fremantle community. It’s a great day, lots of colour, noise, food and fun.
Steve had been down at Fishing Boat Harbour earlier in the day and had enjoyed a very pleasant day. In the late afternoon he wandered back to his new apartment on the other side of town and decided to take a nap. It was still quite warm and he left the front door open to allow for a breeze to flow through. Steve did think about locking the door but, thought; “ah who is going to bother me up here? I don’t want to get paranoid like weirdo next door – life’s to good to worry about anything”, he assured himself.
Steve lay on his bed at the other end of the spacious apartment with the radio on.
It was still noisy with Freo crowds enjoying the day outside, so he wanted to create his own vibe in his own space. After about an hour he awoke feeling refreshed and ready for anything: well almost anything.
Steve walked down the passage and noticed the front door was propped open.
“Shit”, he yelled.
And quickly thought, “that noise, I ignored it, But! Fuck! – it was the door opening”.
“What the fuck”, – “I don’t Believe this”, Steve bellowed.
Steve quickly moved to where he kept his wallet and mobile phone; yep they were gone as well as a jar of coins and some other miscellaneous items.
“Oh well, they didn’t like my music collection”, Steve said ironically as he noticed they had rifled through a bag near the stereo, but had not taken anything.
“maybe I disturbed them as they were looking at other stuff to take”, Steve thought to himself.
After many phone calls, police, banks to cancel credit cards and some other business arrangements, Steve was exhausted and at a total loss.
He rang his friend Thomas who lived in another section of the apartment complex to tell him what had happened. Tom was a great friend who would always lend a helping hand and have a comforting drink or two available for any occasion.
Steve had no money, no beer and no where else to go.
And, mostly needed a good kind friend.
Thomas welcomed him warmly and listened generously to Steve unburdened his woes. Steve was soon feeling a little calmer and feeling a little more like normal, I get by with a little help from my friends.
“Sorry mate, I think our peaceful time together maybe disrupted soon”, Thomas said apologetically.
Thomas explained; “Rae and Barbara are supposed to be coming over, they’ve rung a couple of times. They are both pretty out of it, and you know how they can get when they’ve had a few”.
Steve replied; “not sure if I’ve had the pleasure”.
Thomas continues; “oh, I thought you have met Rae, maybe not, well you’ll soon meet the tornado that is Rae”.
Thomas gave me a quick brief run down on Rae and Barbara and how he met Rae along with her housemate Barb.
Just on cue Tom’s phone rang and a very loud confusing conversation took place.
“look just make your way, ring me when you’re near and I’ll give you more directions then”, Thomas said exasperatedly.
Twenty minutes later the phone rang again; “We’re not sure where we are, I think we are nearby, but, don’t know where to go from here. We’re at a hamburger place near the footbridge to the wharf”, Rae was doing her best to explain.
Thomas replied: “Ok, I know where you are I’ll send my friend Steve down to get you”.
So, Thomas sent Steve out on a mission that would ultimately change his life.
Steve, set off to go and rescue these wild lost women.
He found them at the car park at Captain Munchies and directed them to Thomas’s place.
Within moments of their arrival several other people joined them and there was instant mayhem. The small mob of merrymakers seemed like a multitude in the tiny enclosure of the small apartment.
As things go one of the women, the pretty one – Rae, had an argument with the host and left abruptly.
Steve took notice of this and thought how he liked her spirit and feistiness.
Even though her logic and the reason behind the whole argument was very odd, he understood her motivation to get up, stand up and walk out for her rights.
There were no indications at all that night that Steve had just met a woman he would fall deeply and greatly in love with.
I attempt here to share their story and illuminate highlights of their magical journey. Well, when I say highlights I use this term in a general sense all journeys well-travelled have mishaps, low points as well as the good. There is a well-known saying that states `no man is an island` and science tells us that humans like most animals with higher intelligence are naturally social beings and try as hard as we may we can not avoid this fact.
Steve and Rae were two individuals living parallel lives both doing their best to be self-sufficient, self-reliant successful people living relatively happy carefree lives.
A fun and funny exploration of love.
Steve reflected warmly and fondly on the first night they went to her flat. He was feeling great, excited and yet pleasantly calm. Even though he had been looking forward to being alone with her and getting intimate he was in no hurry and was open to anything to come. He was immediately taken by her place a very small quaint old fashioned flat. Without knowing her at all he was at ease and keenly aware that this was `her` home. The little living room was incredibly wonderful and beautiful a reflection of her and her life, you could just tell this was Rae’s place. And, Steve liked it a lot, the look, charm prettiness and general feel it felt homely, welcoming, enticing and sensual all at the same time. Steve was to find out in time that was Rae; you could sense danger, but also felt like she would look after you In a storm.
They had already had a great night at their friend Thomas’s and weren’t too sure about what to do once back at Rae’s house. I mean it was obvious they both wanted to express their lustful desires, but they both wanted to move cautiously and respectfully. As an interesting ice-breaker and method of consuming time Rae decided to read Steve a story. When suggested he thought she’d pull out a sensual story of adventure or maybe a thriller to draw them together, but the first book she laid her hands on was Dr Zeus The Cat In The Hat. She began to read, as a joke at first, but as she went it was so much fun she continued. The contrast was fabulous and the light-hearted oddness of it brought them closer and help form a bond. It was great and truth be known Steve really enjoyed the story. But, more importantly he was thoroughly captured by this infectious glorious personality. But, enough was enough as fun as Dr Zeus is it was definitely time for some adult play now. Their night in bed together was nothing spectacular, especially in light of things to come. But, it was very sexy, fun and lovely.
Steve didn’t go much for clichés, but for him at the time of his fortieth birthday he really did feel like his life was just beginning. There was so many new, interesting fun and sensational things all kicking off around him. Life was looking great and only getting better.
It was late January when he first started to get to know Rae some months after their initial fleeting blustery introduction. They had a mutual friend Thomas and both spent a lot of time at his house, so they were able to gradually get to know each other in a neutral setting where they both felt at ease. They both confided in Thomas separately that they thought the other attractive and wanted to get together sometime. Thomas really didn’t like this matchmaking caper, so, gave them both corresponding phone numbers and left them to it.
Steve went to the pub in South Fremantle with a loose plan. What if she was there, now that really would be something.
His plan was to check out what was happening there and then give her a call. “Hey; I’m at the Beaconsfield, there’s not much happening but a good atmosphere, just wondering if you wanted to meet me for a drink?”, Steve had said.
Rae replied with a laugh “I just live near there”.
“Oh do you”, Steve said trying to vain surprise, that’s why he went there.
“Um, but, I’m not at home”, Rae added.
Steve was disappointed his scheme, as vague as it was, wasn’t working. Why did he think a gorgeous girl like that would be free on a Saturday night.
Rae continued “I am house-sitting a friends place downtown just off the cappuccino strip. And, my daughter’s here so I’m just having a quiet night in”.
Steve and Rae continued with some chit-chat until Steve started to get a bit flustered and thought he’d may as well wind it up.
“Well I might go back to the bar have another drink and maybe see if anyone’s got a smoke”, he said lethargically.
“I’ve some here Rae said with a smile, bought it today, and well I don’t really smoke, just that my friend was getting some – it looked good, so I got some too. You can have some if you want. You can come over for a short drink grab the stuff, and well sorry you wont be able to stay. I haven’t seen my daughter for a while and…”, Rae was saying apologetically, but yet still very inviting and friendly.
Steve cut her off,”no probs, not a worry, that sounds just great”.
He got the directions and was there in a minute flat. He loved it when a plan came together. He didn’t care how or why he was seeing her just that he was.
One key element to Steve and Rae’s friendship was their love of music. Steve took great pleasure in music, loved to have it around, know about the songs he liked and enjoyed all forms of live music. Rae lived for music, she adored it. She would have music playing 24 hours where ever she was. She loved going to concerts and festivals. And, whenever she could, which was most of the time meet the artist and usually spend time with them backstage. At the age of fifty she would still get as excited listening to her favourite musicians as a star-struck teenager. Whilst Steve didn’t share the same level of passion, enthusiasm or obsession, he did share her enjoyment and style and taste. They went to a couple of great concerts together. One memorable one for Steve was the John Butler Trio at the Fremantle Arts Center. This was the first time Steve had been to the center for a big gig and was really looking forward to it. John butler was just reaching his peak with several hits on the radio. And, Steve felt that him and Rae had just firmly formed a strong and beautiful union. It was going to be great. – It was fantastic. The music was wonderful and brilliant, the atmosphere was beautiful and the woman he was with was stunning; Steve couldn’t have asked for anything more. He remembers one moment in the gig nearing the closing stages and he played one of his hit songs – `Peaches & Cream`, a beautiful and well-crafted song, fun and lovely. He remembers standing holding Rae in front of him swaying to the music and picking up on the theme of the song and the key lyrics `you fill my half empty cup` & `all I know is; all I know is, I love you`. He held his girl tightly, lovingly, embraced her with a freedom and joy he couldn’t remember feeling before and kissed her gentlely on the cheek. The memory of that experience brings a tear to his eye whenever it fills his mind.
Another great musical memory Steve has and still considers it their special song is listening to and dancing to a Paul Kelly song in her tiny lounge room; `The Pretty Place”. It’s not that it is an extraordinary outstanding song or tune, most of Paul Kelly’s songs are fantastic, and the lyrics didn’t really move him. It was them; there time and space. Steve thought Rae was his pretty place and he was so glad to be there. The love that flowed between them felt very special that night. Steve still can’t play the Paul Kelly album with the song Pretty Place – Nothing But A Dream without tears flowing freely, partly tears of joy for love once shared and partly because the depth of love has now passed.
Choices: places, people and pathways.
So, it’s decision time and Steve had never been too good at making decisions. Well, more accurately he hadn’t made too many plans that require choices. And, as it happened this time he wasn’t solely responsible for the choices facing him now. He had found and applied for the lovely little garden flat near the beach on his own. He hadn’t really expected to get the flat and now it was offered to him with no fuss or bother he desperately wanted it. But, how was he going to afford it? It wasn’t going to leave him much money once rent and expenses had been paid. And, what’s the point of living in such a beautiful place if you can’t afford to do anything? Can’t spend too much longer pretending he was on holidays. His cousin John had planted the seeds of change. John on hearing about the dramatic demise of his relationship and living arrangements had offered Steve a stay at his place in Melbourne. “Why don’t you come and visit us, we’d love to see you”, John had said while talking to Steve about his options. Steve thought he would love to see his cousin John and partner Jennifer he really enjoyed their company, but, he needed something permanent and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to live in Melbourne, he loved it here on the coast. He couldn’t picture Melbourne in the summer, and after spending so much time in a small town living in a big city would just be too much. Then John offered a sweetener – asked him to apply for a position in a training course. Steve applied and got a position. So, now he was expected to go to Melbourne and had a great opportunity there. “Dam! Wish I could have both. Live hear enjoy all this and have a great career opportunity.” he thought to himself as he pondered his choices.
Steve had never been career minded or ambitious in regards to work. As long as he had some employment and it wasn’t totally horrible that was enough for him. Well, it had been. Steve had become tired of his current situation, under-paid, under-valued and under-utilised. It was definitely time for a major change to his employment status and future prospects. If he was to stay on the north coast he’d need to get a good job and they were limited. And, on a personal note he needed to change his routine and break out from the rut. The choices were so contrasting and both very challenging. They both required Steve to have belief in himself, his judgement and his ability to achieve the goals set before him. Many of these concepts and tasks were a little foreign to him and therefore daunting. He hadn’t set too many professional goals and didn’t have much confidence in his skills and his ability to promote them in such a tight job market. Steve had recently set himself a personal goal to follow his heart and take the advice of Ben Lee `Gamble Everything For Love`, and that’s how he got here. So, was it time to go with his head this time?
When reflecting on his time spent with Rae Steve noticed all the simple little things that made it memorable and enjoyable, a wonder filled experience:- – laughter; the sound of little feet running on wooden floors; the joy of sharing company with a delightful vibrant, wise loving seven year old girl and learning to appreciate and enjoy all she appreciated and enjoyed; – barbie, fairies and dancing.
Having a house to live in, a house rather than a flat or apartment was great,
It provides more space and variety in living areas.
Steve enjoyed both houses he shared with Rae in the beautiful town of Bangalow. He even took pride and pleasure in taking care of the yard and garden, with all its difficulties and unconventional features.
The opportunity to live in, experience the pleasures of the beautiful north coast of NSW felt like a privilege. Steve particularly enjoyed of living with Rae in the house they rented together at the edge of town nextdoor to a farm. The way she decorated the house and made it homely was very warming. Of course he loved the marvellous meals she prepared and the love that they shared.
Steve also has one particular memory of making love in her pretty bedroom in the deep darkness illuminated regularly by the trucks headlights shining through the windows as they roared rumbling down the road.
But, the most indelible impacting memory is that of Family and Home. Steve had never put too much emphasis on his family and never really connected to the full sense of family before and with Rae he had. Steve has lived in many houses and none have really fully filled him with a sense of home. Even the brand new fantastic attractive apartment in central Fremantle, an area he’d always wanted to live, didn’t motivate him to call it Home or create a homely environment. Steve realises the extent of the proverb “home is where the heart is” and his heart is still firmly rooted with Rae.
A few months into his stay in Melbourne and his doubts and fears of living in this huge city had been realised. Melbourne was horrible in summer and the bigness of everything was freaking him out. Part of Melbourne’s charm and attractiveness is that it is so old and has lots of character. The old buildings appear so dark and grey, and Melbourne’s imfamous weather was living up to its reputation cloudy all the time. It was all adding to darken Steve’s experience. He hadn’t realised to what extent living in a regional area surrounded by lush countryside and beautiful beaches had on him. For most of his life he hardly ever left the metropolitan area. It wasn’t till quite recently that he started to understand the attraction and benefits of forests and the sea. now he longed for it and notice how he breathed more freely, openly and happier when out of the city limits.
What this current time of sadness, isolation and loneliness has slowly demonstrated to him was that it was up to him. He had no one to reach out to, so, he better learn to reach in to himself. He had to rely on finding happiness and love for himself by himself rather than thinking it will lie in the arms of another.
Steve continues to miss Rae greatly and still holds some small hope that they can reignite a special and close friendship wherever, whenever, sometime. He isn’t basing his future plans or choices on it, but Rae will still figure prominently in his heart and mind …..
Many years ago I wrote these ramblings for someone I lost my heart to.
Leonard Cohen wrote about Suzanne and said:
“… you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blindAnd you know that she will trust youFor you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind.” I’d like to travel with you I’d like to travel far and wide.There’s no such thing as perfect, it’s just an illusion,the distance can cause confusion and yet the subtleties between clarity and delusion can be so unkind. But, if practice does make perfect, then I best keep on trying. Leonard Cohen continued his ode to Suzanne;
“Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind.”
Now I’m not bold enough to suggest that I have a perfect body but you have touched me with your mind and guided me as I’ve travelled blind.
My ode is to Precious love now past.
The flower that brightens my life.
She is the flame that blossoms in my heart
Where to go to?
Who will shine my guiding light?
I am a traveller without a clear destination
But, wherever I am going I don’t want to go alone
Will you be the one to come with me to do what I must do?
Got to go on a journey
I’d Like to take the time to smell the roses
explore the earth, discover all it is worth.
This great big beautiful planet
with its glorious forests, magnificent mountains,
raging rivers and mystical oceans.
There is so much to see
but, where to begin
a wise traveller should not journey alone
So, I ask again; will you come with me?
So many adventures lie waiting to be found.
Must take the risk, it’s going to be worthwhile
can’t guarantee we’d always be safe and sound.
But, if we’re always together with love in our hearts
we will feel strong and free.
With fun as our goal and richness of soul
Trials may trip us on our journey and from this we can not hide
I know with dignity we will move on and always try.
You’re brave and bright, you are my guiding light.
Would you like to share some adventures with me?
The woman to whom I asked this question never did answer fully truthfully,
even though we did spend much time together. The journey was a memorable one crazy, hectic, sometimes traumatic, but passionate, loving and so very sensual.
She is now on a journey somewhere I can not & do not want to go.
Hopefully though she was there to greet
her delightful Dad, and was reunited now with her sensational Son.
Many blessings to you Precious Petal.