Good Reading : September 2017
discomfort – a result of Jane dressing me in stiff suits and ties tight enough to be nooses. That’s the price of being immortalised. But now the shock not only mirrors what I’m feeling but also the potential for something much more insidious. My steps slow as I reach the landing. Falter as I reach the doorway. Then stop. Wallace bumps into my ankles. I don’t know what to say. It seems obvious: What’s this condom doing in your handbag? But it’s not. It’s like breaking bad news. There’s the way you hear it in your head and the way it’s said in the real world. The two rarely meet. And even when they do, you never want to know what comes next. I sit on the bedside, condom clutched in my hand. Jane’s still curled up, covers pulled to her chin. She sleeps in little silk boxers she buys to use as pyjamas because she likes the way they feel. Even in winter, it’s the boxers, so she’s always hogging the covers because she gets cold.You’d think she’d put a T-shirt on. I asked her once why she didn’t. She said she couldn’t sleep in one. Instead, she drags the covers up until she’s almost choking on them. It’s cute, in its own way, but God knows how she tolerates it in this heat. Wallace sits at my feet oblivious to what’s going on. I scratch his head absently. He waits for more attention, but when he doesn’t get it, he must realise this isn’t some new game we’re playing, and he gets up and leaves. I pull off my bathrobe, throw it aside, take off my slippers, and lie stiff alongside Jane, kicking the covers down to my ankles. There has to be a logical explanation that doesn’t mean the worst for me, for us. Maybe she found it. Or bought it for somebody. Maybe she was out for lunch and some high school brat wanted Jane to go into the chemist and buy her a condom because she was too embarrassed to do it herself, then ran off before collecting it. Do they even sell single condoms? The whole scenario’s stupid. It could be that Jane’s f***ing somebody. She works in an office with a number of guys. Her boss, Henry, is about 50. I think one of the full-time coders, Barry, is in his 40s. But the other one, the one with the funny name – Kip or Kai or something – is only 25 or so. Five years younger than Jane, though age means nothing. The rest of the staff are subcontractors, constantly in and out. I wouldn’t know them if I bumped into them on the street. Jane rolls up against me, her body warm, breath hot on my skin. Her hand slides up my belly and entwines in my chest hair. These are all trademark Jane mannerisms – Janerisms – which have always reconnected me to her, little bonds that tie us tighter together. I want to know the truth. But I’m afraid of what it might be. Just Another Week in Suburbia by Les Zig is published by Pantera Press, rrp $29.99. GOOD READING SEPTEMBER 2017 23 BOOK BITE 2 I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY. IT SEEMS OBVIOUS: WHAT’S THIS CONDOM DOING IN YOUR HANDBAG? BUT IT’S NOT.