A Hazy Memoir

I’m coming to the end of my Creative Non-Fiction subject at the moment, and while it might not be ‘on brand’ for my usual style, I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about not posting my April Furious Fiction story. So here is my replacement. It is two things; first of all it’s a story on speculation in non-fiction (hence the hazy). It’s also the story of how I met my wife, Roslyn.

Its also the story of why I will never understand why she spoke to me again after that night. But I’m glad she did.

Also as a side note, I don’t condone the irresponsible behaviour I exhibited this night. It may have worked out on this occasion, but that doesn’t excuse it. It just means I was lucky this time.

The task was to write memoir on an event we don’t have all the facts for. To speculate, but keep it in non-fiction.

Perhaps one such time for myself is the night I met Roz, my wife. I can only speculate on the details because to be perfectly honest, there was a considerable amount of alcohol involved.

At least there was from my side. She tells me she didn’t touch a drop that night, and I prefer to believe her after she drove me home through the remnants of a cyclone.

In fact I still blame the cyclone for my state of being. Six weeks at sea with increased shifts to try and get qualified had left me somewhat fatigued. Some poor decision making leading to no rest and a big night out led to getting in around five am, and getting a call from the ship at six.

A cyclone was coming. Half the crew was already on leave. We need to sail. Despite the commonly held belief that ships are safer in port, cyclonic winds smashing aluminium hulls into concrete wharves tend to disagree. A bucket of KFC, plenty of glasses of water, and some sobering hours later, we were ready to go.

Thankfully the cyclone missed us. But the extra shifts again and the lack of recovery from the previous night out had taken its toll.

Unfortunately for my health, though very fortunately for my future, I had not learnt my lesson from the last time I went out. I got in to port, and was immediately convinced to head out again.

I don’t know much about what happened, but I remember meeting a girl that one of the other guys was very interested in. The problem was that she was not into him, mainly because she found him an arrogant, self-obsessed creep. Much of which was justified.

But I digress. He was creeping on to this girl. This girl was a friend of one of my sailors that I got along very well with, and I really didn’t want either of them having a night ruined by my collegue’s behaviour.

I have vague memories from here on. I think I bought her a drink. Actually, I think I bought Creepy Guy a drink and gave it to her instead. But either way, we sat down and chatted. I have no idea what about. But I guess I saw her drink was empty, so I must have bought her another. Then it was empty again, and I must have said something entertaining because she remained at the table, grinning and laughing when I bought a couple more.

Eventually, she must have said something about driving home. Of course, no matter how impaired I may have been, some semblance of responsibility remained.

I told her I’d call her a taxi. She couldn’t drive after however much we’d had.

As I recall it, she just sat back and laughed.

‘I haven’t had anything. You’ve been drinking my beers all night.’

Well, I felt pretty stupid at that point. I mean, I had probably seemed pretty stupid most of the night. But I had a moment of clarity and called my night then and there. Turns out she was done too, so I offered to walk her to her car. When we got outside, it was absolutely teeming with rain. Cairns in January usually is, but this was more so thanks to the cyclone that had just passed the coast.

So we ran. We paused at a couple of pizza stands – I think I ate some, I can’t imagine Roz would have had anything in her entirely sober and responsible state – and we talked Wolverine, guitars, and knives.

When we eventually got to her car, I said goodbye and tried to call a taxi. She took the phone from me and told me to get in the car. Her mum still tells her I could have been an axe murderer.

I wasn’t.

After another weird, nerdy, conversation later, she dropped me off at the Navy accommodation, at which point I declared her awesomeness by saying, ‘I’m gonna [expletive] marry you someday.’ She laughed, and I wouldn’t have blamed her for giving a fake number and driving off, never to be seen again.

I don’t know what happened in her mind, and I barely recall the details of the conversations. She tells me I just seemed like a nice guy. Something must have stuck anyway. Because three years, she let me follow through on that promise.

I’ve also never gone out on the same night we get into port, and never will again.

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