I was killing time in an Indie/hipster coffee shop, the type you're more likely to find in an arcade off Flinders St than, you'd think, in Hobart. The young man busily fussing at the espresso machine had blonde, matted deadlocks. One of the three young women (may I call them girls?) who were squeezing between the tables and chairs of businessmen and back-packers with drinks and wholemeal muffins - all of these girls lovely to my eyes even though none were Asian - had undercut dark hair, shaved up high to her parietal bone on the left side, short and bobbed on the right, and her small breasts were braless under a tight black top. I immediately considered her a lesbian - right or wrong? Sue me.
The staff all wore plain black t-shirts, I noticed. This year's black is black.
I was free to sit here because the morning cases had finished at 10, and they did not need me back in the hospital until after midday. I still had 20% of a latte, now cold though, in a French glass (correct!) on my table - distressed wood with auntie-style cloth place-mat. The crumbs of toasted banana bread sprinkled on it betweeen a 50's wedding present bread plate and my mouth. I was coopting one of those glass sugar-dispensers with a chute that goes deep into the jar, this one 75% filled with raw sugar, to hold the front half of my new book down so that I might read the right hand page more easily, hands-free.
(Dead Europe, by Christos Tsiolkas. The strangely motivated narrator is attacking the menses-drenched crotch of a Greek prostitute [check this] with his hungry mouth. Eek! I haven't watched the movie yet, to see how they cope with this scene. Anyone?)
A fluttering tickle, a ghost's breath against my right ear. I looked around, expecting to see a fan, just turned on: perhaps its draught was being reflected from the chalkboard, art and menu filled at that side of my table. Nothing. As I turned my head back down to my book, I caught sight of the dancing marrionette flight of a moth in the dustmote-rich beam of sunlight that streamed from the corrugated plastic of a small skylight. Light-brown plain-patterned and about 10cm across, it jumped within the light, left, right, towards and then, in a leap that appeared intentional at last, away from me, up towards the service bar.
The lesbian (I was presuming) girl was about to step down from the raised service bar to the floor, directly in front of me, when the moth flew at her. She saw it coming, and paused. It landed on the lower edge of her black teeshirt. It spread its wings, and rested. This image is burned into me.
It was perfectly placed on her pubic region, stretched across where her hair would be (no doubt she was in fact shaved or electrolysed), where her kite-shaped uterus would be, folded slightly forward, inside. I had an erection immediately. She saw the moth there, shocked, amused, amazed, paused, a vision, an immortal and iconic statue. Slowly, she cupped her left hand in front of it, demurely almost, and began to walk, slowly, step by deliberate, delicate step, safely towards the door and there she set it free.