Hello Dear

The creature appeared before me in my bedroom as though a nightmare apparition. Its eyes were orbs of phosphor, its body was covered in course black hair like a horse’s mane, it was tall, towering above me, it smelt like an open sewer, its arms hung long and straight as it stood there staring at me, and me at it, transfixed by this visitation. Nor could it be a dream, for I had been attending to my toilette needs, getting ready for my first day in a new job, and what should I do but remain motionless, while this creature, half human, half orang-utan, moves slowly towards me, and I am too shocked to scream, too stunned to move, and I readied myself for the inevitable, and I quickly crossed myself while it comes toward me, and before I am about to faint out of blinding fear, the creature throatily says “hello dear”……….. Hang on??!!

A few months earlier I went out for awhile with a man who was the son of one of the partners in a big law firm in my city. We were introduced at a party through a mutual friend. I’d just come out of a long term relationship and was still getting over the hurt. He was a man I felt I had a future with. But he left me for a younger woman which is difficult for any woman, but I am only in my mid thirties. The man at the party introduced himself as Martin, and I told him I was Jenny. He looked a little like J. Peterman from Seinfeld and he seemed awkward and shy. I was taken by how he dressed and looked. He was very smart in his thirties style attire, pin stripes and braces, and his hair was neatly slicked back. He stood out from this crowd. We exchanged the usual small talk, what do you do etc, but he seemed anxious to get past that. The party, where all the goers seemed professionals, was in full swing and very noisy; and for us to talk we needed to bring our faces closer together. That was difficult because he was taller than me and when I looked up his face seemed to have a glow about it. He seemed to know a lot of people, and so did I, and soon we were engaged with other people and we found ourselves doing the circuit, talking and laughing and drinking, trying to have a good time. A few hours later we came together and we exchanged phone numbers. I had a chance to watch him with other people and he held himself quite well but he appeared aloof though pleasant. I liked that. He was different. The man I was with for thirteen years was also different. He was funny and quick witted and was always kind to me. I don’t understand what went wrong. Maybe we got bored with each other and I was in denial because I didn’t want any change. I was content. Maybe I became complacent and took our relationship for granted. I don’t know. We used to talk about how we felt over things that affected us, and we resolved to stay strong together whatever life had to throw at our relationship and happiness.

Martin rang me about a week later and asked if we could meet for a coffee or maybe lunch. I’d been thinking about my break-up, it had been six months before I met Martin, and was getting a bit depressed about it when he called, so I said yes. Before we met for lunch I began telling myself to not let my vulnerability disfigure my judgment. It was too soon anyway for me to get into another serious relationship. Even a fling was going to be too difficult for me. I’d done it once and it bore such a troubling aftermath for me that I vowed never to do it again. Anyway I was unhappy in my current job and I’d been applying for jobs. I’m an events coordinator and I was looking to get out of sport and into the arts.

We met for lunch and it went well. There was no pressure. It was like we were old friends, comfortable together without any strings attached. It was a nice feeling which I didn’t expect. He was charming but I felt there was more to him. Being the son of a senior partner in a law firm didn’t mean he’d be a superficial brat playing around with women like he was some prince who believed he had every right to. That’s the feeling I got from him. He told me how he struggles following in his father’s footsteps. He’d rather own a farm. He doesn’t work in the same firm but he is a solicitor specializing in computer fraud. He’s been doing it for over ten years. I asked him why doesn’t he leave his job and start a farm. Martin said he is planning to do just that and for about a year he’s been researching the joys and pitfalls of farming, and the kind of farming that has a future.

I liked his company and we agreed to meet again for lunch. The lunches became dinners and movies and night clubs and I was feeling I was ready to move on. Life was exciting with Martin and the more we got to know each other the more we felt we had in common. But I wasn’t ready for a sexual commitment. I’d only been with a couple of men in my life, call me conservative or cautious, but I’m a bit old fashioned. Sex has got to be meaningful. I don’t want devalue myself. It’s just me. When Martin and I kissed his ardour showed and I frustrated him. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted him too and I was probably frustrating myself. The time just didn’t seem right. And during our courtship I was still looking for another job. I was sick of doing charity cricket events. We did talk about it and Martin said he understood. He said he wasn’t interested in playing around and he said waiting is worth it. But I knew his hormones and testosterone were playing havoc. His face always seemed to dim whenever I steered him away from physical touching.

It got to a point where we decided to cool off and not see each other. Martin brought it up first and although I was hesitant, I really liked being with him, with a heavy heart I agreed. Maybe there was too much pressure too soon. Maybe his frustrations were too much. And where does passion go? How long could we go on blinded by each other? Anyway we had each other’s phone numbers and we knew where the other lived. We could call each other or perhaps slip a note under the front door. Martin said he’d just bought an old farm and he was going to spend all of his spare time fixing things and setting up the fencing he’ll need for horses, some sheep and pigs. He was going to establish an organic garden as well. I was envious of him and part of me wanted to help him. But that would mean we’d get close again and the romance of farm life might tempt me. I needed a change but truth to tell I was too scared. So we parted way after three months of a nice old fashioned courtship.

Over the years there have been reports of sightings of strange beasts or what they call Yowies in the hills and eucalyptus forests that surround the city I live in. How I know this is because a first cousin of mine is fascinated with these sightings and has been reading up on them. He’s a bit of a geek and he’s always talking about strange creatures like Bigfoots, Trolls and Yowies. He’s not much younger than me and he’s obsessed by them. He’s a man-boy I suppose. When our family gets together he’s always on about them. He says he has evidence that they exist. He’s never shown us anything when we ask. In good time he’ll say. In good time. About a month ago he told us there was a new sighting at the western fringe of Sydney. A big hairy kind of beast was seen by farmers running through scrub and bushland. Those that got near it said that it sounded like a pig grunting or a screaming child, and it would roar and whistle as well. It ran very fast and the farmers couldn’t get a bead on it to shoot it. My cousin said that it ran so fast it looked like it ran straight through the gums and dense bush. He was going up that weekend to track it and maybe capture it. There was nothing on the news about it and we thought my cousin had finally gone mad. Martin has his farm up around there and I wondered if he’d seen it.

I finally got my dream job. It is working for a progressive theatre company. It wasn’t going to be great pay but it will be great experience. If I spent a successful year there organizing its performances and getting the company better known in the theatre scene I could perhaps move on to bigger things. The main thing was that I was in the arts. I felt I could be more ethical as a person. The arts are for the soul. Sports are for the adrenaline. Don’t get me wrong. I used to play netball and I gave cricket a go and I’ve nothing against sport per se. It’s just that I wanted something more meaningful than the goal of just getting as many bums on seats as possible. I still need to do it of course but the difference is the arts struggles to be heard and this country still needs it. Maybe I ‘m too idealistic. I must be because I won’t be able to afford the rent until I earn more. I’m planning to move back home with my parents for awhile. I haven’t told them yet.

Hello dear. I was semi conscious. Hello dear. I’ve heard that somewhere. Think. Think. Nobody’s greeted me this way. But wait. Martin. Martin? Whenever he rang me he’d say hello dear. Martin? I dare not open my eyes. And the stench! Where was I? On the floor? In my bed? I felt like I was being cradled. In the creature’s arms? Martin? Something hard like a truncheon was probing into my back. I’m in these ghastly hairy arms. It was too horrible a thought. Suddenly I screamed until my lungs were bursting. How did this creature get into my flat? I blinded, screamed myself hoarse. I then fell to the floor and I stayed still for a very long time it seemed. I dared not move. Then I opened my eyes and saw nothing except what looked like a thin line of brown liquid that ran along the polished floorboards toward my open door and beyond it. The creature had vanished.

It was Martin. I know it. Neighbours nearby came to help me and I told them what happened. I was much shaken and was helped to my feet. To my embarrassment I was in my underwear. Someone turned the kettle on. There was an awful smell in my flat and there was still the liquid which was now seeping through the floorboards. Someone called the police. And while we waited for them I asked someone to open all the windows and release the smell. And could someone get my bathrobe? Somebody said to leave the rest of the liquid so it can be tested. It was Martin but I didn’t say so. It had to be him. The creatures face had the same glow. There was no chance of us getting back together now. He’s gone a funny way and my cousin is after him. Should I warn him? But how? And why did he become this way? Was it me I wondered. But he broke it off! But I didn’t fight it. I didn’t want to get physically closer. His kiss was enough; no, too much. And the way he held me. And he was always nice to me. Could I have my bathrobe please?

 

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