Issue 10, Semester 1, 2019
Yasmin is convinced that her writing career cannot begin until she leads a more interesting life. Hell, she doesn’t ever go anywhere, not even in her dreams. In her sleep she lies on her stomach, chin propped up by a pillow. Arms by her side, she resembles a proud seal, offering its whiskers to the wind. Unfortunately, this is where the flourishes of her behaviour end, for her nights are dreamless. She closes her eyes at 1 a.m., opens them at ten in the morning, and goes to the library, where she works a couple days a week putting paper slips in the books on reserve. Is she unimaginative? Yasmin hopes not, but doesn’t exclude the possibility that she might be. It is an insecurity she has carried with her for much of her young adult life, tucked safely in the back pocket of her Cotton On jeans. Holly, the person Yasmin is currently seeing, assures Yasmin that she isn’t unimaginative. But Yasmin knows that the people you sleep with have to say such things, in order for the sex to continue.
She and Holly do it ‘on the regular’, but her friends have told her to stop saying that. Sometimes they do it at hers, but she often can’t be bothered changing the sheets after, so usually they’re at Holly’s. Holly lives in one of the residential colleges on campus, one of the pro-sex ones who keep a basket of condoms at reception, each packet proudly emblazoned with the college crest. Semper fidelis, they proclaim. Always loyal.
Last time they did it, Yasmin slept over, which for the record, didn’t mean anything. They lined up after for breakfast in the dining hall, and Yasmin loaded her plate with scrambled eggs, the powdered kind that taste almost milky. Holly tried to hold her hand under the table, but Yasmin said, “Fuck off, I’m eating my eggs”.
Yasmin is doing everything to make sure she has the relevant life experience to sustain her writing career. She knows that a writer cannot survive on their creative aspirations alone, and must seek out fuel to drive the engine of their creative desires. Thus, she is saving up to travel to Southeast Asia. Choo choo! She is currently planning a holiday with Holly, but they can’t agree on a location. Holly wants to go to Vietnam, but Yasmin thinks Vietnam is for basic bitches.
“Well, you try and think of a better place within our budget, then,” Holly says.
“You’re the one who wants to have hot sex on top of a waterfall, for your book or whatever.” Yasmin does want to have hot sex on top of a waterfall, she retorts, but not if Holly is going to be a bitch about it. They decide to go to Bali instead, where Yasmin’s father owns a villa. Yasmin and Holly wanted to go in June, but Yasmin’s father said no because he and his new wife are going then, on account of Melbourne being too cold for his arthritis. Yasmin and Holly go in December instead – ‘monsoon season’ sounds absolutely dreamy. On a stormy four hour ferry ride to Lombok, they lose their lunches.
Having filled a sick bag each, they expel the rest into a tote bag they had saved for the souvenirs they had been meaning to buy. They bob their heads in and out of the environmentally friendly sick bag that hangs between them, suspended by canvas loops that hang on their hunched shoulders.
“Hold my hair back,” Yasmin yelps in between heaves.
“Fuck,” Holly grunts, holding Yasmin’s hair back while stifling a retch. As if on command, Yasmin’s eyes fill with tears. She has many reasons to cry. From the painful yank to the sting of the sea spray; the vomit that is now puddling at their feet, to the wretched amount of effort it was taking for her to live her best life; and now the presence of a person willing to hold back their throw-up for her? It is almost too much to bear. Yasmin lets out a choking gurgle. Is this love?
At the waterfall, Yasmin half-heartedly proposes the hot sex. Holly says, “Love, I just can’t,” and Yasmin is ok with that. They sit in companionable silence by the waterfall, and Holly offers a drag of her ciggie to Yasmin, to get the taste of vomit out of her mouth, who declines.
“I’d like to marry, someday,” Holly announces, looking at Yasmin. Yasmin returns the stare, amused. “Would you now?” she asks.
Holly hesitates, her romantic gesture toppled. “Would you?” she asks. Yasmin lifts the cigarette out of Holly’s hands, putting it out on the hem of her jeans.
“Yeah?” she says, then pauses. “Yeah.”
Janelle is a Fourth Year JD Student and the 2018 Managing Editor of De Minimis.