A Burnie Tale – Comb-over

Winsome. If you’d ask me the one word to describe her, that’s what it’d be – winsome. That’s how I first thought of her, once upon a time, when we first met. It’s how I still think of her, all these decades later. And, in a sort of way, it’s all down to AJ and Al – otherwise, had it not been for that crazy trip we went on way back when, the winsome one wouldn’t have been in my life at all. I wonder how they’re doing, those two old mates of mine, all these years on – I’ve heard zilch from them in years – not that I’ve exactly pushed myself to make contact either. Too much water under the bridge? Well, perhaps.

Is Al still with his Nora? I’d like to think that. Last I heard they were still together, contentedly, on that big spread near Byron he called Mangoland. With her by his side, nothing would be impossible for Al – or so I felt when I bade my farewells to them in their adopted part of the world. In truth, I was so envious. I saw myself at that stage possibly living up there too, so well was it all starting to come together for me. I hankered to stay – and I had as good a reason as they did to do so – Al and his Kiwi beauty. There was the new job in Lismore I could see prospects opening up with. But Al inherited that, together with my newly leased pad there. Then there was my equivalent to Nora, although that newly minted relationship I had kept very much to myself.

There was AJ as well, my other travelling buddy. Everyone – well almost everyone – was in thrall of him. He was everything I was not. I could surf – and in truth I was the best of the three of us. AJ thought he was a gun (he wasn’t) and Al only dabbled in it. But with his shock of blonde hair, tanned skin, cheeky grin and ‘come hither’ blue eyes, AJ looked the part far more than I – and didn’t the chicks just love him? They flocked to him as we went through uni – us three fellows from the Coast, becoming friends almost from the get-go in our first year. The young ladies gravitated to him on our ‘gap year’ as well, when we caught the ferry from Devonport to adventures on the ‘big island’. From the South Australian coastline to the eastern seaboard, as well as the bits between, he seemed to have a conquest in every port of call. He really hit his straps, though, when we reached the commune – a detour on a recommendation of a mate of a mate of AJ’s. In those pre-AIDS, post-Pill days, he was in clover. But it certainly derailed our intentions.

For Al it was different – Al fell in love, not lust. Although he toyed with a few of AJ’s cast-offs during our progress, at the commune he bided his time. I could see from the start who he’d soon have his eye on – and from the commencement it was evident there was reciprocation, although it took a while for the pair of them to get around to doing anything about it. AJ was busy screwing his way through all the available women there, as well as a few who supposedly weren’t. But Nora could see how shallow his charms were. She knew all he was after was another notch on his belt – not that he wore one. The blonde one took to the clothes optional vibe of the place like a duck to water – whereas Nora, Al and I were more circumspect. We knew full well that AJ wouldn’t want to leave the place until he had exhausted all available womanhood, but we, his travelling companions, were less enamoured. That was Nora’s problem as well. Our next stop was meant to be the Gold Coast, and then further north. We never made any more progress on that as a unit.

I wonder now if AJ is still up there in Port Douglas. He actually made it to the end of the road. That had been the plan for the three of us – to go as far as we could, in the year, until time ran out – and then return to Tassie to commence our legal careers. From what I read between the lines, when we were still in contact back then, AJ used the natural charms he’d perfected with the ladies and talked his way in on the ground floor of the land boom in those far northern parts. He was soon convincing punters from more southern climes to come to the tropics and take up his real estate deals. Part of me now wishes I had simply kept going north too. I hope AJ and Al have both had happy ever-afters. I keep thinking I need to do something to get in touch again now that I’m not getting any younger – especially as my love is presumably is up there, somewhere, too. But these days I seem enveloped by lethargy. I can’t even make the decision as to whether or not it’s time to throw this lawyering business away and embrace retirement – but then, what would I do without her? With the winsome one I thought I had it made. But then I got above myself and threw it all away – there’s no fool like an old fool. I should have known better.

I was a virgin when I entered uni. I was still one when I left it, as well as when the ferry departed the Mersey for our travels – and nothing had changed by the time we hit the commune in the hills behind Nimbin. Back then I was a beefy lump of lard and almost bald. These days I’ve the shaved skull as is the modern way when one has a follicular challenge on top. Back then it was the comb-over. With it I used to try and pretend – with the rest of my mousy locks tumbling to the shoulders. Now I look back – I really did look appalling. Think the Christian Bale character in ‘American Hustle’ and you get the idea. No wonder the opposite gender weren’t interested. Nothing could hide the fact that, in my early twenties, I was a fashion disaster – but it was Meagan who sorted me out in that regard. She also convinced me to be at peace with my hairlessness in the cranial region – to treat it as a sign of virility. And it was the winsome Meagan who fixed my sex, or absence of it, problem as well. Just when I was beginning to think I’d have to remain celibate for a lifetime, along she came. Gawd knows what she first saw in me – but I count my blessings she saw something.

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 I hated the commune – all that hippy, free love crap that was in its death throes everywhere else. The ‘Summer of Love’ was long gone, but, as in everything, we in Oz were slow to catch on. I didn’t see the point. I had a life to get on with and I was starting to get antsy. I knew Al and Nora felt the same – and then my luck ran out, which in turn gave them a way out as well. By then we knew that AJ was in no hurry to get a move on – he just adored the freedom of the alternative lifestyle there. Now I enjoy the sight of a naked woman along with the next man – but they looked at me, then at the blonde Adonis by my side and I wasn’t even a consideration. Al bided his time and then had Nora. I just escaped. As soon as the daily chores were done I took the Kombi and headed for the coast – from Byron to Snapper Rocks, I went wherever there was likely to be a wave. It was at the latter I found her. More to the point, I guess, it was initially she who spotted me.

I noticed her out on the rocks, snapping away with her camera as I rode the breaks into shore that Coolangatta afternoon, passing her by en route to the beach. It was a good swell that day and I was in my element. Still, I didn’t realise it was my adeptness on a board that was the focus for her lens. When I emerged from the water she was on the beach waiting for me. Turns out she was a professional, or at least semi-pro. Surfing magazines were in their heyday back in the Seventies as the craze took hold on the nation – everybody was a surfer, or so it seemed. She told me she freelanced for a couple of the more popular titles and would I mind if she submitted some for consideration she’d taken of me. I told her I had no problems with that When she wrote down my details, she proffered surprise that I was so skilled at it coming from Tassie. I retorted by informing her of Bicheno’s Redbill and of those waves the Roaring Forties bought in off the Indian Ocean at Marrawah, the two main spots back in the day. She seemed impressed. As the evening started to settle in, she asked if I’d like to see the fruits of her targeting of my prowess. As I had only a smelly dorm to return to and the address she gave me, down the Tweed, was on my way back, I thought her invitation a mighty fine idea.

She resided in a small wooden bungalow not far from the river. Little was I aware it would become pretty familiar to me over the next few months. When I arrived I sensed red meat on a barbecue. As the commune was strictly vegetarian, I was soon salivating – and she had a beer, as well as a huge smile, in greeting for me. She offered both to me for the taking; pretty soon she was offering much more.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – that came later. It’s all indelibly etched in my mind for the duration – those early details. She knew how to keep me waiting – in the nicest possible way. When I eventually, reluctantly, made to depart I complimented her on the best meal in a long duration and stated I was impressed with the results that emerged from the chemical bath. She was certainly more than just a competent practitioner of her craft. She took my arm and walked me to the door. I well and truly knew by this stage I wanted to see more of Meagan – much more. I think I was already in love – but that was understandable, considering the paucity of my experience with the emotion. Really, she was the first girl who’d taken any sort of interest in me. So, at her entrance, I took a deep breath and asked her if she’d like to come see me surf again. She laughed and shook her head, stating she had enough to work with for the time being. But then she added the rider that made my heart surge. She told me that she wasn’t adverse to meeting up with me again, but on one condition – I had to rectify my god-awful, as she put it, comb-over. When I asked her what she would suggest I do about it, she grinned and asked, ‘Would you like me to tackle it now?’

‘What have I to lose?’ came my reply, which she thought was kind of funny She took me by the hand and led me to her bathroom. She grabbed some scissors and started cutting away. A totally different looking fellow came out on the other side. She could tell I was pleased with the result as she leaned in and whispered, ‘Now there’s the sort of man I could go out with on a first date.’ Of course, when I eventually made it back to the commune, I received the third degree. I merely responded that I’d felt like a change and had gone to a barber. Meagan was mine, for as long as it lasted – I had no intention of letting AJ within a bull’s roar of my newly found, winsome beauty.

Beauty? Well, she was beautiful to me. I suppose she wasn’t in a classic sense, but to my yearning, lovestruck eyes, she looked amazing. Her hair was brunette, long and straight to her shoulders. Wearing the cheesecloth and muslin dresses of the era, she was slim and small breasted enough to carry them off perfectly, in my humble opinion. It was plain to see that she also preferred the braless look, wonderfully popular for a while, so that was particularly tantalising. She had exquisite brown freckles all over her face and when she smiled, she lit up – and lit up my heart too. I couldn’t wait to get to know her better, in every possible way. But would I get the opportunity?

That first date, a few days later, was in the dining room of the old Greenmount Hotel above Snapper Rocks – which seemed apt. Back in those days Coolangatta wasn’t conjoined on to Surfers as it is today. The hotel hadn’t developed into the resort format of modern times. It still had some of the charm of its historic past and I felt at home with this beautiful woman opposite. She was a great conversationalist, with stories of the surfie types she’d photographed and of her day job behind the counter in a camera shop. She enthused about developing her sideline till she could do it full-time. I was a little coy about my hopes – it was way too early to tell her they centred around her. I anticipated that more could occur when I drove her back to her little home, but my hopes were dashed when she chastely kissed me on hopping out of the Kombi. Then she came around to my side and gesticulated for me to wind down the window. ‘Do ring me if you’re interested in a little more of my company.’

Before Meagan there had been no one and after, well, we’ll get to that. AJ, with his multitude of conquests, I suspect wouldn’t have a detailed clue about any of them looking back to those times – and it was thinking of AJ that partly caused my future misadventure. In light of what happened – all those early dates with Meagan are crystal clear in my mind.

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And I couldn’t wait for the next one. I tried ringing her first thing the morning following Greenmount, on the commune’s sole telephone, but of course she was at work. Later that evening she answered, by which time I was in a paroxysm of desire for her. I expressed my feelings of interest in another meeting and she chortled, saying, ‘I’m just so pleased you’re minus a comb-over. Now I’m very interested too.’ She said that, if I cared to drive north Saturday arvo, she’d be waiting for me by Elephant Rock on Currumbin Beach. ‘I know it’s a bit of an ask of you, but I will make it worth the kilometres.’ I became very excited at those words.

Inside my body I was experiencing feelings foreign to me as I took to the Pacific Highway that day. I’d never had the expectation of any physical contact, let alone sexual, with a girl before. I didn’t know what awaited, but I hoped that, with Meagan, I at last had someone to love who would reciprocate.

True to her word, she was waiting. She led me to a fairly secluded spot along the river bank, away from the masses on the beach. There she revealed herself in a red bikini. I remember distinctly how its redness contrasted against the cool white of her skin. For some reason, seeing her in it really moved me. When we were supine she stated, ‘I burn easily,’ and passing me some lotion asked, ‘Could you do the honours for me please?’ She turned onto her tummy and undid the straps to her top so, with shaking hands, I applied the protection as competently as I could – and I can’t tell you how wonderful the touch of my hands on her flesh felt. Then she murmured, ‘Now the front please.’ She rolled over and lifted her bikini cups off, exposing her perfect breasts to my view for the first time. My red face no doubt gave away how I felt. They were, well, perfection. After the girls at the commune I had seen plenty of nakedness – but nothing, nothing beat this. I was in a trance like state, I think, as I gently rubbed in the block-out. This was the first time I had touched a woman’s intimate areas. Eventually she told me that she now felt ‘well basted’ and I could desist. As I, in turn, placed myself down on the blanket she’d considerately bought along, she placed her hand on my upper thigh. I thought, right at that moment, that life didn’t get any better – but, for a while, it did. That after noon we swam, we talked – so much talking. Then we walked, hand-in-hand, back up the beach to the surf club on its little peninsula. We dressed and returned to her car. Would the day offer any more delights? Sadly no, as it turned out. She explained she had a family function to attend, but then asked, ‘How did you enjoy being with me today?’ I gushed something to the effect that it was the best day of my life. Again there was that laugh of hers, before, ‘Well we could do something the same time next week. I know a place up in Surfers. We should go and perhaps even spend the night. It’s a long haul for you again, but if you’re interested, you may even get to see a little more of me. Would you like that?’ Would I what!

By now I realised she was being something of a tease – but I could wait. I’d waited this long – she knew she had me hook, line and sinker. What I minded was I had to wait a whole week for another dose of her. Unfair! I knew how long those seven days would take to pass – but hopefully heaven was waiting on the other side. It was – but not quite what I was expecting. Now you’d think, dear reader, that having a whole night with her would mean losing that ‘burden’ I was carrying. It wasn’t to be.

Along side of developments with Meagan, other aspects of my life were taking shape in ways I was happy with. With that winsome girl at the back of my mind I was determined to get out of the commune situation asap. I was honestly petrified that, if she visited me there in that environment, she’d take one look at AJ and it would be all over, red rover. On reflection, he would have probably respected the fact that she was mine – but I wasn’t so sure Meagan would see it that way too. I didn’t know her well enough yet – but I knew her enough to know she wasn’t as innocent as I was in the ways of the world. I noticed a position going in a chambers in Lismore for a para-legal and as luck turned out, I was the only applicant. The partners seemed happy enough with my interview and the following week I was to start – easy-peasy. I purchased a couple of cheap suits and was ready to commence my career in law. I found a flat on the outskirts of the town, purchased an old banger and said my farewells to Al and AJ – they didn’t seem too nonplussed. The former now had Nora permanently attached and AJ – well he was happy continuing his amorous ways. And at last I bade farewell to that wretched commune. At that stage I could see a future in that part of the world – all dependent, of course, on how my newly minted relationship would pan out.

But back to my attempts to lose my virginity. That may sound a tad flippant, but I felt only with that bridge crossed could I be at peace, as well as perhaps more relaxed and ‘natural’, in her company. I knew to my core that, apart from the lust I felt to have my way with her, I was no AJ. I genuinely loved that girl. Mid-week I put in a call, on that single blower, to her to make arrangements for the following Saturday. We arranged to meet on the corner of Cavill Avenue and the Esplanade. When that moment arrived soon after midday, on yet another perfect day in paradise, she took my hand. We strolled the strand, had some tucker in a cafe and then it was time to book into our Orchid Street hotel. Meagan was her usual buoyant self, throughout the day, but seemed a little less so as we inspected our room. I asked her if anything was amiss to which she replied, ‘I know you perhaps expected something tonight but I am afraid you-know-what has come a bit early. I am sure, though, she whispered, I can give you a night to remember in other ways.’ And she did. She disrobed me and allowed me to do the same, almost, to her. She then proceeded to take me to places I’d never been, in fact hardly knew existed. I went to heaven – several times. I could tell she was no novice at this type of thing as she took the initiative in all that occurred. After our fun and games I felt I had to front up with my hither-to lack of experience in all this. ‘I figured that from your nervousness, Murph – but you certainly seemed to enjoy what we did. And, play your cards right, my lad, and next weekend I’ll be happy enough to relieve you of your little problem – that is, if you’d still like me to be the one after what’s just gone down.’ I told her I had no problems with that at all.

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And finally it happened. The following weekend she greeted me at the door of her bungalow naked, took me to her bedroom and in a thrice it was done. Eventually, under her guidance, I became a relatively skilled practitioner and I think that I can safely say that our entwinings weren’t totally without pleasure for her as well. Life then settled into a routine of to-ing and fro-ing between our respective abodes, work, sex but, most of all for me, simply being with the woman I adored. What she saw in me was beyond me – and, in all the time we were together, she never used the ‘l’ word once, although I left her in no doubt of my feelings. I couldn’t prise it out of her and in the end, simply accepted that there must be some feelings to keep her with me for two decades or so. But back then, with my virginity out of the way, I felt, with Meagan in my world, my life had truly begun. But then came that phone call when it all went out the window. Suddenly my future, as I saw it in those few months, was taken away and replaced with another path completely.

You don’t say no to your mother – or, at least, in that situation, I couldn’t. The call informed me, in her typical matter-of-fact manner, that my father had passed away. I was expected home immediately from my traipsing around the country. She also let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I had to ‘grow up’ and take on some family responsibilities. The latter, I discovered, involved the business. It was assumed it would be mine one day, regardless of how I felt about it. I was told of the sacrifices she had made for me, although, having plenty of money all her married life, that didn’t exactly ring true to me. But, of course, I had the guilts well and truly and felt helpless against her insistence. I was sad about my old man – I was, but not overcome with grief. He was never, what you’d call, a hands on father. He married my mother fairly late in life – a second time around for him – and he always seemed quite ancient to me. A steady diet of cigars and red wine wouldn’t have helped either. She was once his legal secretary, but once hitched to him and financially secure, she trained to be a legal practitioner as well, taking on helping him run their chambers in Ulverstone, a town on my island’s northern coast. In recent times they had opened a branch in the bigger town of Burnie, a short distance to the west. My father took over that, preferring to acquire a flat there, rather than making the short drive home during the week. I suspect it was largely a marriage of convenience – they never displayed affection to each other in my presence, but had managed to produce Eliza and myself. My mother was still a very attractive woman, so would have had a few admirers around the place. She was rarely home through my teenage years. It was the Burnie branch my mother had in mind for me. Very soon I discovered the other experienced solicitor there would take me under his wing, till I was ready to fly solo and eventually take over. There, it was all mapped out – and that, dear reader, is exactly what came to pass.

Al and Nora jumped at the chance of my digs in Lismore and I recommended my mate for my position. The firm was understanding and took him on and he, so I believe, never looked back. AJ ran out of hippy chicks at the commune – in fact his reputation became pretty toxic – and he moved on to complete our original plan. As far as I know he’s still up in Port Douglas.

So, my friends reading this, you would have already gathered that, for much of that time, the winsome one was still very much part of that life. How did that occur? When I broke the news to her she was adamant that she couldn’t see herself moving to Tassie. ‘Just how cold and wet down there is it?’ I told her winter could be pretty miserable, but waxed lyrical on the wonders it would do for her complexion. She didn’t think that was much of a reason to change her mind, but she finally agreed to coming south, once the dust settled, to see what she could make of it. A couple of months later, she was true to her word. One characteristic of the young woman I adored was that if she promised something, she stuck to it – as I later found out to my disadvantage.

It was a miserable beast that flew south to a miserable funeral on a miserable day. But slowly the tide turned. I had taken over my old man’s flat and it was quite cosy, but knew Burnie in itself wouldn’t assist my cause very much with my winsome one. Back then it was a working town with factories spewing out polluting smoke and discolouring the sea. Sport was the main diversion. I knew she wasn’t into that. It’s better now, but when she arrived on a grey, misty day, Meagan took one look and reckoned ‘no way’. Still, that first night she was enthusiastic in her lovemaking and l felt that she was pleased to see me – both good signs. The next day the sun was shining and I took her around the local beauty spots – she was particularly impressed by Boat Harbour Beach. ‘Now this is more like it.’ she enthused. I introduced her to my mother with some trepidation, but they seemed to hit it off. The few days she allowed went quickly and soon we were at the airport to say our goodbyes. I told her how much I loved her and how I wanted her by my side – forever. She indicated she would think on the matter and get back to me. I knew she would be honest with me. She already had been reeling off the factors that could possibly keep her up on the Tweed – her photography – which she was making headway with; her family and the climate. But, as good as her word, a week or so later, her decision was made.

And in the end it was a compromise – but would it work? When she rang and I heard her voice – not containing its usual positive bounce, I feared the worse – but it didn’t turn out so badly. ‘How would you like me to be your summertime girl, Murph?’ I requested her to explain. ‘Well, you find us somewhere to live near that gorgeous beach you showed me and I’ll be all yours every summer.’ I did and she was.

Initially she said she’d see how it worked that coming summer and take it from there. I had several months to find a place and did – almost on the beach, with it not costing the exorbitant prices the equivalent would be there today. In many ways I hoped it would remind her of the shack back up north. When she came she loved it – and so she remained through two and a bit decades – my summer time girl. It worked well. I kept my Burnie pad and lived there through the lonely winters – alleviated by taking my annual leave in each June and flying up to her. Her photography was coming along and she gave up her day job in the early eighties – concentrating on local weddings, portfolios and an occasional commissioned assignment that took her all over Oz and even overseas. Several times I took time off and joined her on the latter. She grew to love the Tassie wilderness and often carted her camera into the national parks. I continued with my surfing into my forties, before ditching the waves for regular swimming – indoor heated pools of course in the cooler months. Meagan wasn’t interested in marriage or having kids – she was seemingly enjoying the life she was leading too much for having a family, which turned my mother off her no end. Was she faithful? I had no way of knowing. A woman like her – well her winsomeness didn’t diminish over time and I suspected I wasn’t her only lover – but, really, I didn’t care. I felt that what I didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me. As for me, well my looks hadn’t improved with age so it was never an issue. I was happy enough – felt, all in all, I’d been dealt a good hand. Right up until around my fiftieth birthday our relationship had been fine. Our apartness seemed to enhance our love-life and I was perfectly content. But around the turn of the new century it seemed Meagan was slowing down, spending more time at Boat Harbour, extending her summer stays. She reckoned, as digital photography started to take over, her days were numbered in her field – she didn’t like the move away from film and knew soon she wouldn’t be able to compete. All seemed set for a lovely dotage. And then, with AJ in mind, I blew it. It took just one four letter word – Bron.

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As she wound down, Meagan rarely went away for an extended period. But there was this one occasion – and I now think that may have been the underlying cause for the events that followed. She claimed it would be her final assignment. So naturally I was missing her. I also guess, as one approaches fifty, it is a time for reflection – and I was doing a bit of that. I was harking back to those days on the commune and AJ’s casting his seed about, so to speak. He’d had so many women up till that point and goodness knows the number since – was I to leave this mortal coil knowing the charms of just one? Was that to be my lot? How unfair was that? And when the opportunity offered itself shortly after, I fell for it – the idiot I am. She came flouncing into my office, wanting some amendments made to her will. She was full of flirtation, was showing off a remarkable amount of cleavage – this ample, blonde apparition. When we finished the business she asked what time I knocked off work. She explained hubby was away and she was in need of some male companionship. I responded by saying I was in the same situation. I should have had better sense, but, as explained, it was a vulnerable time for me. In the end we agreed on a meal at the Raindrops Room down by the sea. From the moment I joined her at the table I knew this night would only end in one way if Bron had anything to do with it. She even had a room booked upstairs – just in case. Well what’s a man to do? Say no – well, obviously, but I didn’t – and it was wonderful, I must admit.

So different was Bron to Meagan. My darling’s attitude was to get nude and get stuck in. Bron preferred to take her time in the disrobing bit – later on she would perform elaborate strip teases for me; we’d massage each other; do it in different locations around our homes – while it lasted, in the absence of partners. In all it was only a matter of weeks, but I can’t deny she was addictive.
Whereas Meagan was slim and willowy, Bron was voluptuous and soft – and those luscious breasts! I now know I was one of a number of professionals about town she seduced as a result of her ‘open’ marriage. I never encountered her husband – I wondered how he felt about it all, or perhaps he did the same.

I visited her home almost daily over that period of time, but Meagan soon returned and it was my intention to desist. I did, but not for the reason I wanted to. At first it was fine. Meagan and I made love as was usual when she came back from a time away – and she seemed as caring towards me as ever. But when, at the end of her first week back, I drove down to Boat Harbour Friday eve, I discovered the place empty of any trace of my love – save for a note. It read, ‘I promised myself if you did the dirty on me then that would be it. You have and so this is goodbye. Enjoy the rest of your life. Don’t try to come after me.’

I have, to this day, no idea how she found out about Bron. The latter had never set foot in the beach house. Was there evidence in the flat she discovered? Did somebody tell her. She had so few friends here that I doubted that situation. I was suspicious of my mother, but she denied any involvement. Maybe my love just sensed it in some way. And of course I wasn’t going to let her go easily. I flew north to the Tweed, but there was no sign of her at the bungalow – and, checking through the windows, it was devoid of all her possessions. To me it seemed it had been empty for a considerable amount of time. Her mother was still around, but despite my pleading she refused to throw any light on Meagan’s whereabouts. So there was nothing left for it but to return home, to wait and hope – which is what I am still doing, all this time on. It is my belief now that Meagan too had found someone else – was perhaps living that double life like you see in the movies. It is just supposition. I have no way of knowing. Since then there has been no sign of her on any social networking site I can discern – it’s all just a mystery. If I cannot have her back, at least I’d like some sort of closure – but I doubt that, after more than a decade, it will be forthcoming.

And I have been celibate ever since. I guess with me that is fairly easy to be – but really, I just can’t raise the energy to go out and try to find someone else. In my cups, not so long ago, I did make contact with Bronnie. We chatted a while and then I asked if she’d like to meet up. She laughed and claimed she had retired from all that. She said the man in her life these days was more than enough for her to handle at her age. I asked if that was hubby – she just gave another guffaw and hung up. I still keep the Boat Harbour place going – just in case. I rent it out to the holiday crowds these days. No, life is just work, work, work. I really should retire and do something else with my remaining years – only trouble is, I cannot think what that may be. I don’t want to be just sitting here waiting for the grim reaper – but I can’t seem to shake the lethargy away either.

So then, why do I write this cautionary tale? And that’s just its purpose – to act as a word of caution to you, dear reader, particularly if you’re male. I know full well once our gender arrives at a certain age most get an attack of the ‘what if’s’ – and the ‘is that all there is’ question arises. My advice is, if this is the case, you don’t succumb. If you have a pretty okay life as it is, especially if there is a person in it you adore and who reciprocates – then accept it as your lot and don’t aspire to the lives of those who seem to have it better, or who have more ‘history’. No, if only I could go way back to that time my winsome Meagan took me by the hand, guided me into her bathroom and took care of my comb-over. If I could start all over again, knowing what I know now, I’d do it in a nano-second. I wouldn’t change anything, except one factor. Another woman wouldn’t get a look in. So there, you’re warned!

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A Companion piece = http://www.stevelovell.id.au/2013/10/27/the-seventeenth-floor-2/

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