Eleanor was the sort of person who didn’t dance. It was not that she didn’t want to, more that she was rather unable to do so. When she was in uni she would sometimes sit alone in her bedroom at 3am, both earphones in, blasting Chappell Roan, and a strange urge would come over her causing her to shrug her shoulders up and down instead of writing the essay that was due in six hours. It was the closest she would come to dancing though. The second other people appeared it was as if all desire, all knowledge of how, disappeared and was replaced by an overwhelming feeling of “stuck”. 

There had been one exception to this rule. One glorious night as a twenty-year-old spent dancing till 5am in some gay club in Fitzroy. Admittedly, the night had been strongly helped along by copious amounts of alcohol and the continued presence of the hand of a pretty girl she’d never have in her. 

This, Eleanor thought, was probably the story of her life. Destined to want things, but choke just as the opportunity presented itself to her. Sometimes, she’d let herself feel as if it wasn’t her fault she was like this, choosing instead to blame it on the universe, her parents, that one situationship in high school. Really, anyone but herself. But just as soon as the thought would occur, she would bat it away. Such thinking was drawing dangerously close to that of those mediocre boy-men who felt personally victimised by every woman who even slightly dared to indicate she was not interested in him. 

It was pathetic, she thought. She’d agreed to go to dinner with Oliver after work because since starting their grad roles they’d barely seen each other, and now, two bottles of red wine down at dinner, they’d ended up at some rooftop bar. It often struck her how ridiculous the whole situation was. Their offices were on the same street and yet, despite repeated promises to catch up soon, it was now early September and they hadn’t seen each other since a night out on Chapel Street with other uni friends in April. 

They had tried to see each other a few times, but the age-old excuses always came up. She had, in fact, almost cancelled when she woke up this morning, still tired after another night of not enough sleep and the mere idea of yet another sleepless night filled her with a dread that could be best described as nothing short of torturous. But she missed him, and their dinners like this they’d had at uni on nights once they’d finished assignments and exams. So she had dragged herself out of bed, gone through her usual morning routines and sent him a reminded text on her tram into work. 

And now here she was, somewhat unsure of when dinner and a glass of wine had turned to two whole bottles, and then margherita’s. She had been hiding out in the bathroom for the past ten minutes, unwilling to stand awkwardly at the edge of the dance floor Oliver had tried, and then quickly given up, dragging her onto. What had started as a general attempt to justify her refusal to dance to herself had now descended into a full-blown deep dive into the problems of her life. Or rather the fact, that despite the apparent lack of real problems, she still felt as if something was missing. 

Generally, she thought, her life was going pretty well. She had a good job as a junior lawyer at one of the more high-end corporate firms, and while it didn’t pay a lot, it certainly wasn’t anything to complain over, not when it was enough to cover the rent to live with one of her old high school friends in a two-bed flat off Brunswick Road. The long hours might have been worth complaining about, except that everyone she knew was either also a junior lawyer, or a post-grad student, working nights at bars in order to afford to eat while they worked towards a PhD in literature. 

She was in the best shape of her life. She ran three mornings a week, including at one of those godforsaken run clubs that crowd the foreshores of St Kilda at 6am on a Saturday morning, and hit the gym four or five days depending how she was feeling. If time allowed, she’d play hockey in the winter, and travel home to the outer south-eastern suburbs to play cricket in the summer. 

She wasn’t lonely. She had plenty of friends and had recently realised that maybe romantic relationships weren’t for her. Her attempts at dating always figured out quickly. She’d originally thought that maybe it was because men weren’t for her, but after beginning to date women, it had dawned on her that just because she thought someone was attractive and she liked talking to them, it did not mean that she had to be in a relationship with them. Singledom was treating her well, and she had no plans on changing that fact. 

So what was it that was missing? Somewhere in the back of her mind a thought, or more accurately, a memory began to form. There was something she was missing, something she knew that she could figure out if she just had a little more time. But just before she could place it her phone began to ring. Oliver was calling, asking where she’d gone, promising one more drink before they left to go home, sleep, and the wake up and do another day all over again.


The author Anonymous

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