Last Days of the Cross by Joseph Ridgwell

(excerpt from his novel available at Grievous Jones Press)

I walked along Roslyn Street and up into the main drag. There were two supermarkets nearby, Riteway and Coles. Coles was the larger food emporium but its prices were notably higher than Riteway.

As I stood on the corner of Roslyn and Darlinghurst trying to make up my mind which one to go to, impatient shoppers barged past, forcing me out of the way. And then I saw her. I saw her for the very first time. Rosie. Although back then, I didn’t know her name. She was a face in the crowd but not just any face. No, she stood out like a shimmering vision and everyone and everything became part of a blurred, grainy backdrop as soon as she hove into view.

She was a young Aboriginal girl with long legs and mad hair, dressed like a hooker - tight mini-skirt, torn fishnet stockings and a low cut tee-shirt. She was walking fast, pushing people out of the way, like she was on a mission. I decided to follow her. I don’t know why - it was just an impulse - an overwhelming urge. I crossed to the other side of the road and ran along the main drag. I wanted to see her face again, just to check I wasn’t imagining things.

Soon I was well ahead. I stopped outside a strip-club and struck a casual pose. Within seconds the strange girl was in sight and no, I hadn’t been imagining things. She was the most stunning girl I’d ever seen; not classically beautiful but oddly beautiful, quirky. She had blonde highlights in her crazy hair and was sporting an over-sized plastic necklace around her scrawny but elegant neck. Her skin was honey coloured and her eyes were blue. It was the eyes that did it. They were so brightly blue. Almost unnatural. I took a deep breath. Within seconds she had swept past me but I kept an eye on her until she disappeared out of sight. Then I pulled a notepad from my shirt pocket and wrote down a quick description.

Another subject for my poetry, I ruminated, another muse - the teenage aboriginal smack head with the blue eyes. I could easily write a thousand poems about that one girl. Fifty on the eyes, alone!

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