This weekend I took a creative writing course through RMIT, encouraged by Luana and spurred on by having the time and space to explore my creativity in a form I love, writing. I find it difficult to not filter my words, and the facilitator, Lucy Treloar, gave some helpful tips on how to express words in the manner in which they are felt. In this example below, I was trying to use action and motion as the setting for something bigger and more emotional. I would love to hear your feedback.
They trotted along the freshly manicured grass, telling themselves they were priming their muscles for the race. Everyone knew, however, and it was secretly enjoyed by both men and women, that it was to show off their physiques. Reminding me of stallions, the runners would powerfully lift their calves to their buttocks, their thighs bulging and shining through their compression tights, as they slow-motioned their way along the practice track, laughing and exuding a pretense of careless ease. Across the oval was the racetrack proper, where every few minutes there would be a hush across the entire arena. No matter where I stood, whether at the cricket scoreboard with the young teenagers flirting and romancing, to the pungent air of dim-sims and greasy chip food trucks, or amongst the bookkeepers who had never left the fifties, pencils in ear, visors on sweaty foreheads, scrambling to stay ahead of their ledgers; the official’s voice silenced all, “Marks… Set…” <CRACK>! Smoke, pause, then a rainbow in motion as the frocked athletes thundered their paces. Three breaths and it was all over, four and the crowd resumed their conversations, betting and walking along the outer circuit of the Stawell Gift.
I had just finished leaning over the barrier watching a heat, and pushed my weight back up to wander, admiring the athletes and wanting to be a part of their stable. I turned my back to the track and saw her. I couldn’t turn away, I couldn’t hide, although my brain tried to process how and where I might. I was stuck. I was close enough to see the ugly scar on her upper chest from the Hickman catheter, and felt a knot in my stomach that bordered on sickness. Her hair was long again, much like when we first met but nothing like those last months, even year, we had been together. And still dark, stained by the blood chemicals, not blonde as I wondered whether it may return, and as she secretly hoped it would. My mouth was open, with nothing to say except ‘oh.’ My nerve faltered and no words emerged, or maybe it was the distracting glint and blur that came my way, reminding me of a shooting star that is only visible from the corner of one’s eye. I heard the slap before I registered pain and realised I was again facing towards the athletes. A thoroughbred had stopped in his tracks, such must have been the surprise and sound. I turned my head back towards her as my mouth closed, in time to see the blinding sunburst again, as my hand caught her wrist mid-stroke. I recognised the shiny gold ring we chose together, wondering why she still wore it. I felt her wrist pulling my arm down as she fell in a heap, shuddering. I didn’t know whether to let her wrist go, or to keep her dangling by maintaining my hold. I sensed the crowds’ eyes on me as seconds turned into hours. I kneeled down, my hand damp in her trembling wrist now, as I looked at her, terrified at what I might face behind those sunglasses.