We went to Daimaru on the weekend, where she bought couverture mice and fingered clothes by Australian designers that I wonder what happened to. She taught me to drink coffee without sugar and that two is safer than one. We went to Hudsons on Elizabeth St and sat in the sweltering upstairs area drinking caramel and hazelnut lattes, making up band names and fake gothic poetry.
The map of that place is etched in my head, with the places we were too young to visit, for girls older than us. The shops we went to, monitoring the metal section and which CDs had been bought during the week. Wondering who bought them, and where we could find them. Him.
I needed her then, and despite the distance between me and everybody else in those years, it was the closest I’ve ever been to another girl. I wished I was her, with her taste and sensibility. Orange was her favourite colour and all her things were her, to a tee. Psychology and dreams, basketball, and the way her dad liked Rush. I didn’t have a favourite colour or style or thing that I did. I did my homework and gritted my teeth a lot, waiting for high school to be over so everything could be less intolerable.
Choosing things required a thorough self-interrogation. What would that mean, and what would that say about me? It wasn’t that I didn’t know who I was. It was that I wasn’t part of anything, close to or sheltered by anyone. It was an uphill battle and a desperate need to build a shell that meant I didn’t have to nail my colours to a mast. You can’t straddle social groups without a breezy self ease that I used to think I would discover one day.