‘A writer,’ I say.
The words, punctuated by an upwards inflection and a nervous giggle, reverberate around the room too quickly to take back. I gulp and stare at my hands. The pints of Coopers Session I sculled at the Moseley, a few hours earlier, are steadily gurgling their way up my oesophagus with an acidic vengeance. My $15 chicken
‘But, you know,’ I add in an attempt to settle my easily flabbergasted belly of
half-digested food, ‘that’s probably not gonna happen.’
I feel Konrad exhale beside me and sink deeper into the abyss of the tobacco-stained couch. The fresh, musky scent of Hannah’s outdoor strain shrouds us in a momentary veil of white smog. I suppress a cough. Without looking across the coffee table, I know Todd is smiling at me.
‘Why not?’ Toddy
My body rattles from side to side as I attempt to stifle the rapid shaking of my left knee. I feel the laces of my
‘Are you worried about failing?’ he asks and leans across the table toward me.
Slowly, like a wounded possum pulling itself over fallen
‘Why write then?’ Toddy sighs. He sits up, arching his back like a cat on a lazy Sunday morning, before slumping back into his armchair.
Why write? Why do I write?
My eyes flicker back towards the satchel on the floor. I recall the lack of hesitation I felt when I arrived at Toddy’s flat and tapped the large red button of my voice recording app.
It was not with an Al Jazeera v. Pauline Hanson intention that I dimmed the hazy, fluorescent light illuminating my face, and gently placed my phone in my bag to preserve the echoing voices of those around me. Rather, at the time, I imagined listening back to our 3am conversations weeks or months from now and writing an eloquent prose of self-discovery. I fancied my words like a woodland path in spring. The kind that snakes its way endlessly in a flurry of
‘It’s like, you feel like you have to. Right?’ Konrad says.
His voice cuts crisply through a cloud of murky smoke and attracts the attention of Hannah and the American. As the pair tangle their limbs in an attempt to sit down together, in an armchair beside Todd, I feel Konrad shuffle upon the couch to face me.
‘You feel like you can’t bring yourself to say it. But, everything you do is because you’re a writer. Right?’ he continues.
It’s as if he recognised the subtle way I decided to capture my surroundings tonight. Perhaps he spotted the dozen or so voice recordings I keep locked inside my phone under a folder titled “Juicy Writing Prompts,” or noticed my heart glow green with envy as I watched Hannah talk so confidently about acting. He can probably guess that I’m the type of person who taught herself photography, not only as a method of capturing adventures, but to encourage my description to flourish in high
As my face crumples into a mosaic of furrowed brows, parted lips and darting eyes, I turn toward Konrad.
‘And someday soon, you hope your writing will speak loud and clear. With proper purpose,’ he says.
In ten, twenty or fifty years from now, perhaps I’ll listen to this recording of a stoned stranger mansplaining my feelings and laugh. But tonight, with Konrad an unmistakable leader of the Thinkpol clearly having hacked my brain, I sink softly into Toddy’s tobacco
Words by Nina Phillips
Illustration by Polly Wigney
This piece was originally published in Edition 28