Local Supermarket Pin Board
I used to live in a lovely seaside neighbourhood, the last local city beach before heading toward ‘wine country’.
Local yummy gourmet produce, beautiful beaches, cute sea bay, lots of kite-surfing, surf clubs, and local cafes.
Its been a pre-dominantly older community but with prices rises, slowly the new yuppies started moving in few years ago.
At the local supermarket I’d often stop to read the pinboard, I’d noticed that it had a high turnover, staff would remove posts longer than a week old. I’d often advertise my studio with glossy DL images, so I was conscious of local business and what was for sale and rent in the area.
One Saturday afternoon I noticed a small handwritten note, it had a beautiful cursive style, with a li’l bit of a wobble to it. It looked just like an elderly gentleman in his 80’s or something like that, I didn’t think woman at all, you just dont see that kind of handwriting anymore, its turning into a dying art, its all computer printed, portrait laid, landscaped detachable phone numbers for easy ‘tear’n’take’. So to me, this add stood out from the get go but then when I read it…
“Small jacaranda plants, hand reared, for sale, $10 each”
Jacaranda’s have a been a big part of my perfect life/ garden fantasy for as long as I can remember, purple flowers, wisteria, iris’s. Only ten dollars !!!! who knew buying fantasies could be so cheap !! I thought, the time has come for me to settle down and own a jacaranda tree, that’s a life long commitment !!!There was a land line number not a cell phone, no peel off numbers to take, so I had to put the number into my phone.
I rang the number when I got home, ready to commit, – it went to voice mail, it was a man’s voice that said was he was away but to leave a number – so I did.
It was 2 or maybe 3 weeks later I got a voice mail on my phone, it was the jacaranda man, he was asking when was a good time to come over and get the plants and whether I still wanted them?
We played phone tag for at least 2 months, somewhere in there he called me on a cell phone and it bounced over into the land of texting, where we had established we didn’t live that far from each other and that it was a matter of timing, he was suddenly feeling a spritely 60 year old that seemed to be away a lot, and that yes he still had 3 seedlings left.
I’d text, he would be away, he’d text, I was busy.
This went on for nearly 5 months, beyond ridiculous and well into joke-land – I figure its a senile old man, and really, whatever, if I don’t get a jacaranda it clearly won’t be the end of the world.
One Saturday afternoon I get quite a direct and insistent text demanding IF I want a jacaranda to come and get it this afternoon, in its urgency I went straight up after work, no makeup, gym gear ( and not even good gym gear – ass-sucking lululemon or brasil but just daggy pants) , post yoga class, post 4 hours of teaching pilates and I drive to the address he has texted me, it really isn’t that far from where I live.
It’s an old hideous cream brick 1970’s place, still not quite back in fashion yet, the garden is cared for with loads of native plants everywhere, quite impressive, a winding path to the front door, which is open and the fly screen is locked.
“hello” I call out, its about 5 pm and the summer light is really strong and really low in the sky and it makes it hard to see through the fly screen and its north facing as well. I hear someone coming, a man walking and saying hello, he approaches the fly screen, unlocks it, warmly says hello and it opens, I’m expecting a crippled old senior, instead its this 6 foot plus insanely gorgeous man that looks a cross between George Clooney and Brad Pit, I’m momentarily speechless. He is tall elegant, salt and pepper hair, well groomed with electric blue eyes. He invites me in and starts to shows me through his living room whilst apologising about all the luggage everywhere, he is a commercial pilot constantly travelling – the penny drops for me on why it has taken so long to connect with him – we go through his kitchen to the outside yard, which is this insanely and perfectly flat lawn, a neatly clipped back yard, in fact the whole back yard screamed of way too much time and money. He led me over to the rockery where 3 skinny young jacarnads in clay pots sat, “take your pick” he said. I cant help myself, “how long have you lived here” I enquire, he told me about 3 years but his work base was Perth, and flew both domestic and international from there. He had smuggled seeds back and successfully birthed them, I sensed they were like babies to him. This intensified my whole jacaranda/perfect life fantasy, not just any ol’ jacaranda this one is smuggled by (George/Brad), – Bradge – the Pilot!!
He is smart and funny, we talk about the globe and world politics, corrosion of the land, mining, we became engrossed in the passionate conversation about the world and the times we live in, the different generations, and suddenly I have an overwhelming sensation of running and hiding. I think he was THE most handsome 50 year I have ever seen, rugged with character yet gorgeous. I could feel myself falling into complete ‘crush-land’, I am suddenly conscious I must look like shit, post work out/work – not attractive and I become quiet and frozen, stumbling over words, suddenly I care about what a person thinks of me (aaaaaahhhhhhhh) I can’t get away fast enough, so I choose my plant, I give him $10 and walk around the outside of the house towards my car. He walks me to my car and simply asks nonchalantly if I could return the clay pot to him. ” oh of course, thankyou” and as I drive off, with a pathetic grin across my face, I think, a second encounter with Bradge the Pilot, thank god, I have a second chance at a first impression ( I hope you get the hilarity of that comment, there is NO such thing as second- first impression !!!!)
Later that day he had even sent me flirty texts about having parental visitation rights to come and visit his offspring. I am smitten, the world is suddenly a different colour, everything feels wonderful, I can think about nothing but Bradge-the Pilot and what his story is, I re-house my special jacaranda, and wash and clean his clay pot leaving it to mull.
I started using his road as a cut through route, noticing when his car was and wasn’t there, and amongst this native garden that has clearly swallowed a bucket of money to build, his car is a beat up old ford station wagon that looks at least 20 years old. This makes him even more attractive. I even notice his car parked in the surf club car park when it was windy one day and I was walking the ramp. Funny how you notice things, you might have seen them before but never noticed. I even avoided him at the local supermarket one Saturday morning, routinely dressed in socks and thongs, daggy leggings, a sweater, terrible hair, no makeup, I literally raced to the bag aisle and just about climbed into my shopping cart. This is crazy I thought, I rang my GF Amanda, ” you will never believe who im avoiding at the supermarket ? Bradge the Pilot” ” aaahhhh she screams !!!!” laughing, this guy is suddenly everywhere.
I left it at least a couple of weeks, I didn’t contact him, I had just planned to leave the pot on his doorstop. He was home, like an old friend, “come on in !” It was late in the another hot summer day, so offering me a beer was totally appropriate. He ushered me to a lovely dining table outside where we chewed the fat and went through the ritual of politely extracting vital information we were obviously both seeking. He was open and friendly, he gave a lot of history, originally from Brisbane, great parents, older brother, ex army, lots of plane flying for special squads that sounded important, loved this city for the dry weather and the wind because he loved to kite board, the food was good and the city and beach were a train ride away. He’d had a serious relationship with a japanese woman, even going to japan several times to meet with her family, it was at this point he had decided to move to this city with her, and work for a commercial airline, somehow she got a great job in Sydney and refused to give it up for him – The End . He said he’d like to throw stones up at my window in the middle of the night to come and visit. Wow that was easy, I look around at the yard and look for a ‘yeah-but’ and really it screams RED flag to me, it felt very compulsive obsessive to me. He explained quite proudly that the lawn cost him over 30 grand (ssshhhh I think your making it worse, Red Flag 2), it didn’t dawn on me till later, he played golf. (ok minus a red flag)
I was trying to figure out if he was currently seeing someone, a man doesn’t look like that and have nothing going on, I imagined a super-model in an apartment in Perth, conveniently located. I asked if he had met anyone in this city and his energy shifted, his face curled down, ” yeah I’ve only met women with 2 and 3 kids who wanna trap me” he seemed repulsed, clearly, “oh wow, well I’m not one of them I say” I want to stand in my authenticity and be honest, so I tell him I have an adult child, (he was 18 then) and although lived with me, I hoped it wasn’t for much longer. Within minutes the whole energy of the conversation completely changed, it felt cold, and abrupt, something had clearly stopped, ended, we politely finished our beers and I left. As we were walking down the driveway he was proudly showing me, all the plants, naming them and what they cost, the fence he was building and all things he was going to do, which was awesome I thought, made him even more attractive, but I was feeling repelled.
As I was driving home, feeling like I’d been hit with something, I realised that was blatant single parent discrimination, I’d felt it many times before so I knew what it felt like – wow – I mean I probably wouldn’t date someone either at this point with small children so, its a choice we make. It still hurt in my stomach though.
So after 6 months of communication, to reach this pinnacle and then, nothing, is really just another red flag but, I still felt like I wanted to know more about him.
That was nearly 3 years ago. I recently sent him a photo and a note to let him know his jacaranda is now in the ground and home at my new rental near the city, he responded politely, that was it. I doubt he’ll ever see it, but I do wander sometimes……..I mean, I look different now three years later, better, I’m in a much better place……………..