Moving Forward

Short Stories Sep 16, 2019

I’ve suspected for a while now. There were clues. Your general disinterest, your eagerness for shooting to wrap for the day. You still smile, but not with your eyes. It’s an affected smile, and only ever for the camera. There was a time when your presence would light up a room. It lit up my room at the beginning of our relationship in 1992. I worshipped you silently and you were my hero. And I trusted you implicitly, but lately you communicate in small talk and evade my questions, or answer me in riddles. I suspect my trust was foolishly bestowed from the outset.

I’ve become quite introspect in recent weeks. Perhaps it’s me? Have I changed? Am I over-thinking this whole thing, or am I over-analysing changes that are normal in a long-term partnership? But I’m sorry, I still don’t have the answers. Maybe you do.

I watched you from a distance last week. You were unaware of my sleuthing, but I needed to eliminate self-doubt from my quest for answers. After shooting had cut and wrapped for the day, lights were switched off, and cast and crew left the studio. I was stifling the rasping of my own breath from the sanctum of my hiding spot in the inky blackness in the wings. I didn’t see you, but I know it was you who returned through a side door at backstage. After 27 years, I instinctively perceive the shape and feel of your presence. And I heard the sounds of another; someone had clandestinely met you in the darkness of what you thought was the deserted studio. And there was muffled whisperings and the low cooing of an enthusiastic embrace and a prolonged hug. And small, wet mouth noises of a passionate kiss.

You didn’t know it was me, but from the hidden confines of my vantage point, I fumbled quietly in the darkness with my right hand and latched firmly onto something, anything, that was hard and heavy. And with an almighty heave, I angrily lobbed that portable spotlight in the direction of your secret tryst. Exactly half of one second after a huge explosion of shattering glass and metal on-stage, there was a panicked scream of “Shiiiit!” and the sounds of two pairs of stampeding feet followed by the slam of a door at the side exit of the blackened studio. FYI, yes that was me…. passion interrupted!

So, in my introspection, I’ve attempted to sift out wheat from chaff. It’s been difficult to identify positive aspects of our personal relationship from the chaff of constant public adoration. There were many highs in the past, but I’ve decided to move on gracefully, and not let bitterness overwhelm me. Fortunately I have an open-ended contract at the ABC so I’ve let management know that I’m resigning, effective immediately. I’m sorry it’s come to this, but a confluence of factors has forced my hand. It’s not just my broken trust for you; there’s also been lucrative offers to anchor a morning breakfast show or even the opportunity of hosting a major home renovation show on a commercial station.

Don’t take it too personally, B1. It’s more than just you and your liaisons. I’ve changed too. I’m frustrated at the decades-long type-casting of my talents, and I’m sick to death of the relentless monotony of my wardrobe. Who wears the same outfit each day for 27 years? And pyjamas, seriously? And those Teddy characters are just too saccharine sweet for the 21stcentury, and that bloody narcissistic Rat in a Hat needs to be baited. In a nutshell, B1, being a gender-neutral icon for 3 year olds doesn’t inspire me anymore.



(Writer's note: Only an Australian will understand this story.)


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