I used to go to surfin’ at Torquay or Jan Juc or Bell’s Beach with my flatmate. To tell the truth, Gazza was more than my flatmate. I was in love with him. He wasn’t in love with me though. Oh, he liked havin’ me around. And when he didn’t have a girlfriend over he was happy enough to fuck me. Sometimes when he did he’d even call out my name as he emptied himself into me. But when he’d picked up some chick at a bar he wouldn’t even talk to me when he got home with her. Too afraid of what his women would think about his ‘flatmate’, I reckon.
We would go down from the city on Friday evenin’s, and head back on Sunday afternoons, and we’d find a place to crash in one of the caravan parks or on the beach if it was the end of the month and we were short. I loved goin’ with him. He treated me like shit, but it beat stayin’ at home on my tod. The surfin’ almost made up for everythin’. I’d go out and for a while I had no problems, no worries. Just the sea, and the air, paddlin’ hard to catch a good break, then the magic of the slide along the face of the wave, the sea green and white around you, the board slicin’ through the water, crestin’ the water, makin’ you feel as if you were flyin’.
When I got tired I would strip off my wetsuit – the water was almost always freezin’, but often the sun was too warm on the thick black neoprene – and lie around on my towel enjoyin’ the scenery. Some blokes wear board shorts to surf in, but that’s in places where the water’s warm. Where it’s cold, you need a wetsuit, and board shorts are a pain underneath a wetsuit, they get all crumpled up and itch and irritate. So we used to wear speedos. I had a couple, but my favourite were sapphire, because they made my tan look better and matched my eyes and my blond hair. I liked the way they showed off my bum and my doings. The day I met Mattie, I was wearin’ the sapphire pair.
I noticed this guy sittin’ by himself on the sand, a couple of metres away. I’d been surfin’ since before dawn, when the sea is glassy and clear. It had turned into a perfect day, the air warm, but not too hot, like it can get here sometimes in summer, and just a faint sea breeze. I stripped off my wetsuit and lay down on my towel. I look at guys as well as chicks, but I try not to let the blokes see I’m doin’ it. I suppose you’d say I was bi, but the truth is that I loved Gazza and I thought that if I ever got someone else, I’d rather get a bloke than a woman. I didn’t want to get married and settle down. And though I loved women and fuckin’ women – that moment when you slide into a wet pussy has to be one of the best around – I didn’t want responsibility and all that stuff. I know. You can think what you like of me. And you’d have the last laugh, because in the end I did get married, and it was pretty good. It was fuckin’ fantastic. You just hafta find the right person.
Mattie was a looker, in both senses. He was amazin’ly handsome, with thick curly brown hair bleached tan at the ends by salt and sun, pale blue eyes, a straight, thin aristocratic nose, the kind of chin which still looks good even when you get jowls, a dancer’s neck column, shoulders like Superman, and pecs to match. He was wearin’ white nylon rugby shorts with short legs, the kind which let me see just how good his legs were – thighs firm and muscular, sprinkled with dark hair, calves sweetly curved, and nice feet. Laugh if you like, but I like good feet. He was a looker in the other way too. He looked at me, then away, then eyed some chicks walkin’ along in the sun, then looked back. I nodded when he looked the third time.
“G’day.” he said. His voice was a bit deep, a bit gruff and it kinda did things to my stomach. Gazza had fucked off somewhere like he did and I was on my own. Why not? I thought, I’m not married to Gazza. So I said “G’day” back.
“Beaut day, huh?”
“You from round here?”
“Nah. The city. A flat in Carlton.” For some reason I didn’t mention my ‘flatmate’.
“Yeah I live in the city, mostly. You down just for the day, mate?”
“Is there anythin’ on tonight? Ya know, like a party?”
“Usually somethin’. We’ll ask around later.”
“Yeah, good. My name’s Mattie.”
Mattie stood up, walked towards me, and reached out his hand. I sat up and shook it, lookin’ up at him. His face was shadowed. I couldn’t see his expression, just the flash of his white teeth against tanned skin. He picked up his towel and put it closer to mine. Not too close, but close enough. I took another glance at his body. I started to get a fatty. Man. I didn’t even know if he was interested and already I was thinkin’ thoughts. I couldn’t help it. He was a beaut bloke.
We talked some more, just general chat.
It was hot, lyin’ still in the sun. “I’m cookin’,” said Mattie, leverin’ himself up from his towel. “I’m goin’ in for a quickie.”
“A quickie, huh?” I replied. “I’ll come with you.”
He gave me a sharp look then laughed. “Puns are us, huh?”
Damn. Mustn’t make risqué jokes.
The water was chilly. We dived into the first big wave comin’ in and it was all blue and green and icy after the heat on the beach.
Mattie yelped and laughed. “Fuck! It’s freezin’!”
“Man, you are such a wuss!”
Mattie leapt on me and we both fell into the water. I swallowed some water and coughed. “I’ll get you for that, dude!” We horsed around for maybe ten minutes but it got too cold. As we went back to the shore, Mattie was a bit ahead of me. Through the wet nylon of his rugby shorts I could see the shape of his speedos, blue and white vertical stripes, carefully cuddlin’ and shapin’ his bum. I started to get hard again. Luckily the water was so cold no one could see.
We lay a bit more in the sun then I suggested we get lunch. There was a caravan parked in a bay off the beach road sellin’ hot dogs and chips, and we walked over to it. Every metre along the way I was conscious of his body, of the slight spring in his step as he walked, of his thigh muscles clenchin’ and relaxin’. There was a thin trickle of sweat either side of his spine in the dip between the swell of his back muscles. I wanted to lick it, to follow it down his spine to his butt, to keep goin’ until I reached the sweet cleft of his arse and the hole within.
I must have looked a bit dazed. “You OK, mate?” he asked, worried. When I took a moment or two to answer, he asked again, “James? Anythin’ wrong?”
“Nah. No worries, Mattie.” He’d remembered my name! Gazza had forgotten it when he and I first met. Even after the second or third fuck he still hadn’t remembered. I was pretty happy Mattie had remembered. It felt good. It felt like he cared. Then a warnin’ voice in my head said don’t fall for him, he’s straight.
We sat on the low stone wall facin’ the beach and ate our hot dogs and chips and cokes. We shared the packet of chips. It was kinda intimate takin’ stuff from the same paper bowl he was eatin’ out of. Every so often I would sneak a look at the shorts, at the bulge held in by the shiny nylon. Now that I knew it was there, I could see the blue stripes of his Aussiebum through the white fabric. His tummy was so flat that when he sat he had only a few thin folds. I had to look away and quickly rearrange myself. There’s no easy way to hide a fatty in a pair of speedos.
I put my elbows on my knees and leaned forward.
“When’re ya goin’ back to the city?” I asked.
“Where’re ya stayin’?”
“I got a house on the road to Geelong.”
“A house? A whole fuckin’ house?”
“It’s no biggie,” he replied, lookin’ uncomfortable.
I wanted to tease him a bit, get back at him for wantin’ to fuck him and not bein’ able to.
“No? But you have a flat in Carlton, too?”
“Yeah. I only rent the flat.”
“So what’s with the house?”
“I inherited it from my granda’. It’s nothin’ special. Just an old house.”
“Cool.” I thought for a bit. Gazza was prolly gone for the day. Who knew when the fuck he’d be back? Once he’d gone back to the city without me. I had to hitch to Geelong and catch the train from there and I only got home at ten at night. When I complained he said, “Don’t be such a fuckin’ princess.” But in bed he’d made love to me, and afterwards he cuddled me which he didn’t usually do, and it was OK. “Can I come and see your house? I’ve had a lot of sun, I should prolly get out of the sun for a bit.” If I had any ulterior motive, well, I wasn’t lettin’ on, even to myself. Ulterior motive. Sounds like an expensive cupboard or a food processor. Italian. Enjoy the luxurious new Ulteriore Motivo.
“Yeah. Let’s go get our gear. You c’n follow in your car.”
“I don’t have one. I mean ... I came down with a friend.”
He looked at me inquirin’ly.
“Where is he? Would he like to come too?”
“Nah. He’s gone off somewhere.”
Somethin’ in my tone must have alerted him to my real feelin’s, because he looked at me for a minute, his face blank. Then he gave me a sweet smile and said, “C’mon then. Let’s go.”
He didn’t have a surfboard rack on his car but it didn’t matter. It was an old Kingswood station wagon, rusted and a bit worn and tatty, but big, so we put the board in the back. We didn’t bother to get changed. I only had my wetsuit, and some shorts and a t-shirt in my backpack. You’re not supposed to drive in thongs or without a shirt but Mattie did anyway.
The house was an Edwardian wooden bungalow, with boards which were once white but which were all peelin’ now, and Windsor-green doors and window frames and veranda posts. The garden was full of ancient cedars and a couple of oak trees and creepers and the sound of doves. It was so cool and nice. I envied him this place. My flat was fuckin’ horrible. Inside the house, it was filled with nineteen-fifties furniture and decorations but the sofas and armchairs were comfortable. It felt warm and friendly. It reminded me of my grandparents’ house. I’d been happy there.
“Were you close to your granda?” I asked.
“Yeah. He was a top bloke. He taught me how to play footy and how to do a lot of stuff. I miss him.” Mattie’s face
was suddenly a bit drawn. “He’s been dead a year, and I still think of him.”
“Yeah. It’s hard when you love someone.” We were quiet for a moment. “You said you live in the city.”
“Yeah. I’m thinkin’ of movin’ out here. But I’d be lonely. So I haven’t. But I come down to swim when I can.”