Things that happened

Tic Tac

I knew this girl once. She was allergic to grass. She always had a box of Tic-Tacs in the pocket of her school uniform. I asked her for a Tic-Tac one day. She said, 'They're not Tic-Tacs. They're tablets. I got them from my doctor because I'm sick." Her parents were young and good-looking. They lived in a house carved into a hill.

The real estate agent

I had this cat once. I liked him because he was my cat but, from an objective standpoint, he was generally quite unlikeable. He slinked around the house with this look on his face - like he had an answer for everything. If he'd been human he would have been a real estate agent. But he wasn't. He was a cat.

Eating watermelon in Bali

I knew this woman once. She worked in the same office as me. She wore loose flowery dresses and sandals. She told me I was going to go blind because I worked too hard. She went on holiday to Bali. When she came back, her hair was plaited in thin braids and decorated with multi-coloured pieces of string. She stood beside my desk and sighed, "I wish I was back in Bali. Reading my book and eating watermelon."

Making friends

I knew this guy once. He talked to strangers as if he knew them. He would go up to them as if they were long-lost confidants. It wasn't a joke. He just thought that was how people made friends.

Shark

I had this dream once. I was in a parachute drifting down towards a river. It wasn't until I was a few metres from the surface that I noticed the grey shadows. Sharks. I woke up just before I hit the water. I looked up 'Sharks' in my Dreams Book. It said I needed to be more cautious. I now tend to dream about crocodiles.

The strange things that happen to you in your sleep

I knew this woman once. She gave me a book about interpreting dreams. She wrote a note in the front of the book that said, "I'm giving you this so you can understand all the strange things that happen to you in your sleep."

Shoe

I once had a pair of shoes. They were olive green. I became attached to them in the same way one might become attached to a small stray dog. When I looked down at them I would smile. When the soles of these shoes started to fall off, I stopped wearing them. They retired to my cupboard. When I noticed them in there - my beloved shoes - I felt guilty. As if I had forsaken an old friend.

The 1980s

I knew this woman once. I told her I was gay and she said, "I never thought you were gay. I just thought you were weird." It was the 1980s. People said shit like that.

There's more to the story

I knew this woman once. She was married with two children. She got drunk at this party and held my hands on the dancefloor. She whispered into my ear, "I think you're fabulous." I realised then that there was something more to the story.

Preparing a bath

I lived in this house once. The bath was in a concrete outhouse in the garden. A giant water heater sat above the tub, fixed to the wall. To heat up the water, you needed to light the water heater manually. We never had any matches so I lit pieces of paper on the stove, then carried them carefully to the outhouse. Sometimes the flame would go out and I'd have to start all over again.

Book

I read this book once. It said that it's getting harder and harder to find a quiet corner in the world. A place not dominated by the sounds of industry or traffic, music or people. (Sometimes the world is so quiet I wonder if I've gone deaf).

Gum

I had this job once. It involved cold-calling people and asking them to do surveys about topics such as chewing gum, alcohol consumption and air freshener. ("And, when you do eat gum, how many pellets do you typically put in your mouth at one time?") I did two shifts and never went back. I suspected there were more important things I could be doing with my time.