Just One Goat

I always thought I’d done the right thing and I loved her, I always loved her. All these years together and I look at our son and as much as he’s me, he’s her.

They’ve been long years at the start, they’re shorter now, but somehow sharper. It’s like the way we talk.

When I look at her, I see the girl I met. I know we change, a few lines, a few pounds, but she’s just the way she always was to me, that’s why I don’t notice the haircut, or the new dress. She’s just her, she’s just here. Besides, I can’t talk anyway, there’s a whole lot more of me now with the widening midriff symbolic of the keg that fed it it’s daily beer.

I don’t know how to explain how I love her, that smile that makes me happy cos she’s happy, and all the tales of her interesting life before me, maybe I’d slowed her down, I didn’t notice.

I tell her I love her all the time, but she says my actions say otherwise. She says that I don’t care for her.

But I’ve always done what she asked. I’d stopped getting drunk everyday when we met, I’d given up smoking pot three months later cos she wouldn’t have drugs in her house if I moved in. She said she’d stop smoking cigarettes, it’s eight years now and she hasn’t stopped. She reckons I make her life too hard for her to stop, maybe it’s true.

I’m just doing my thing, getting by, going to work everyday, a few beers and the TV when I get home. I just do what comes naturally, what I feel like doing, I am a bloke after all.

When she crawls into bed she spits venom on me, cos I’m keen for a bit and she isn’t. She starts telling me all the housework she had to do, all the picking up after me, how difficult the day at work had been, how I hadn’t helped, and I just hear the sound of her voice and I kind of like the sound of it, the rhythm, the familiarity, and I’ve fallen asleep before she’s finished.

I really do love her and don’t like to let her down, but she makes everything so complicated, she sees and feels stuff too deep and too much. Just makes no sense. Easier to not read into stuff…

I wake up really horny cos I didn’t get any last night, and I massage her back to wake her. She’d hurt me last night saying I don’t do stuff around the house, that’s probably why I tuned out.

She groans and rolls over and opens those big blue eyes to me. ‘Goodmorning’ she says with that smile. Now I’m just keen for it. She starts to talk again and I kiss her to shut her up, it’s just too early.

But she won’t be stopped and it dawns on me how we need sex to feel loved and women need to feel loved to have sex. I say this and it works a treat, she must finally feel like I understand her or something cos she becomes more pliant and receptive.

So this is how it is with us, if I’m ‘good’ in her eyes, I get rewarded. If not I have to work through the millions of words she’s using, what she’s trying to say, what her reasons are…and all comes good again.

But I do love her. My son comes into the room and asks if he can go to his friend’s house today – man they grow up so fast. I look at my girl to see what the answer should be and she says ‘yes, do you want me to drive you, love? and he says he’d rather walk and he’s gone.

Saturday morning of sunshine, I could do with some time on the boat and a few beers, but I reckon it’ll turn into some great effort. So when she asks me what I feel like doing, I just say ‘nothing, really’.

She studies me for a second and says ‘do you want to go out on the boat?’ and I get that whoosh of love cos she just knows shit.

So she’s in the kitchen making food and packing clothes and hats and towels and she rings Joel to see if he wants to come, but he’s having too much fun at his mates place and I’m happy it’s just us today.

I hook up the boat and she wanders out disconsolately. She just got a call and has to go to work. I tell her she should’ve said no, but I know her better and she changes from he swimming costumes into he suit and puts on makeup and she jumps into the other car and she’s gone.

I’m a bit lost for a minute, not sure if I should still go, but she’s done all the hard work. So I just throw it all in the boat and ring Lee and Shane and it’s gonna be a bit of a day I reckon.

We’ve gone through two cases of beer and caught three fish, Lee totalled his ankle skiing, but none of us are feeling much and there’s a band on at our local that I’m keen for.

We leave the boat at the ramp and Lee’s missus picks us up and takes us back to the pub. The winds ripping the beer garden apart and it’s getting dark.

Two young chickies rock in and they’re English backpackers, we start talking to them about what they think of our fine country and we shoot a bit of pool, the band will come on soon we think.

I’m just relieving the pressure of all those cases when my baby calls. She sounds none too happy, Joel’s been sitting around the house for four hours by himself and she’s only just got home from work. I tell her to come down but she says she’s tired and that I’m already too pissed for her too deal with. Stuff her I think, I’m still walking.

I don’t really want the shit either, I want her there, but if she’s already pissed off she’ll only get worse. So I tell her to rest and I’ll be home soon.

When I get out of the toilet they are telling a joke and the punch line is ‘just one goat’ and I laugh. Yeah it’s true, the one who built a ship, the shipbuilder, the who made a table, the carpenter. The one who fucked a goat, goat fucker. Just one more beer I think. ‘Just one goat’.

I don’t remember the rest of the night. I just know I woke up all headaches and I wasn’t at home. I think for a second I must be at one of my mates places, but then I hear an English accent from the other side of the closed door. I take in my surroundings. Yes I’m in a double bed, but I’m alone thank god and the sun is brighter today than yesterdays streaming in, but it’s a bit of a torment today.

What have I done?

It’s 9.30am by the clock and I reckon I should find out whatever I did and get home.

I get up and notice I’ve still got my underwear on – good thing. Then I open the door, the English girls, whose names I can’t even remember are talking in the kitchen and I force a cheerful ‘good morning’, dreading that one of them will run up and wrap her arms around me and say how great last night was. But neither of them do, the blonde asks me if I’m feeling alright, I look a bit rough and I say yes, and I’d love a coffee.

I ask where I am and am stoked to find I’m only twenty minutes drive from home. I sip my coffee and ask them if they know where I put my wallet and phone. They say all my stuffs in the bedroom that they had to carry me in and I chuckle at the thought of these two waif thin chicks holding me up.

The clothes are kind of neat so that definitely wasn’t my doing. I find my wallet as I get dressed but not my phone – this is becoming too much of a habit losing my phone, third one this year.

I finish my coffee and ask if they could drop me at the boat ramp, five minutes away, cos I better get home.

No problem says the brunette and I thank them but I don’t know what for. I still have no idea what I have or haven’t done and I don’t want to know.

As we approach the boat ramp I see a chick who looks like my blue eyes with a child in her arms and I accidently say ‘Gee, she looks like my wife’, ‘like your ex-wife?’ my pommie driver asks as I get out of the car. She says it succinctly, like it’s the truth. ‘i’m still married’ I say and she just looks at me, kind of pitying like and says ‘bye’.

‘Thanks again’ I say and walk toward my car and boat, the lady with the child is looking right through me and I freeze.

Because it is her, my blue eyes. With our son in her arms.

-By Carmen Major

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