Summary: 
Isla doesn't think she'll find someone magical on tinder. But when her path crosses with medieval-esque, beardy, Keir, a 25-year-old security guard/writer/non-conformist she is smitten. After leading her on a cruel dance through infatuation, reciprocation, game-playing and trickery, she realises what he truly is by definition of his horrifying archetype.

Chapter 1

Alpha-Male

 

I met Keir on Friday 23rd May 2014. We had talked online a lot for about two and a half weeks, my bones quivered as I sat at my laptop, this one was different- we needed to meet now. He was 25, five years older than I. I liked our age gap. I couldn’t let this unique man slip away. It was me that initiated the meeting. He said he was surprised that I wanted to meet. In retrospect, not a good sign. He told me he loved travelling, Norse mythology and was writing a fantasy novel. This made me fancy him outright- I have a penchant for writerly men.

Writing of any sort, introversion, a lustrous beard and I am yours. He even sent me the first three chapters. On reflection, I don’t know why. Perhaps he just wanted his ego stroked, perhaps he simply wanted to see how many people took to it or not. Of course he was a terrific writer; it was written in a medieval style, stark and dramatic. I liked the style of his writing, using distinctive vocabulary and avoiding clichés which are often found in fantasy.

Personally, I choose to send people my writing for a couple of reasons.

1. If they are friends or loved ones they’ll be interested and support me in my writing.

2. If I send it to a man I like then he’ll read it if he is interested in me. Quite simple really.

Maybe he sent it to me because early on he was open indeed and, for whatever reason, he raised the drawbridge to his castle. 

Keir was a man from a different time. There were obvious qualities to him that were other-worldly. He’d lived before, I recognized. Each time I was with him the energy that beamed forth was refined, magnetic and masculine. An articulate lumberjack type. He was a dominating man. I inhaled his scent, consciously, whenever around him. It was like a delicious alpine elixir. He had put a lot of thought into choosing his signature cologne. As ever it is near-impossible to describe accurately the scent of somebody but I’ll try my best because anyone who is a part of your past deserves that. They have contributed to your story and you theirs. His scent was woodsy- a mixture of musky sweetness and organic Earth compounds with a slice of fresh laundry.

We met at dusk. A meaningful time to meet anyone, under Princes Bridge next to the Yarra and to the side of Flinders Street Station. The city skyline watched thoughtfully. He was late and apologetic. I was there, butterflies in my tummy and curious about what was to come. Open. I saw him descend the stairs and wave while I grew nervous as he approached. He came toward me with a smile. At first sight I wasn’t sure if I was attracted to him. But that feeling lasted all of 10 minutes. I got a whiff of him. Wow, hello fine sir.

He began to chat and I could feel myself grow self-conscious. I wanted to be myself, there was potential here. In the flesh he behaved more extroverted than I’d imagined. We walked along the riverside towards the MCG and sat on a bench as darkness came. Together, we watched bats catch insects on the surface and I decided that yes, I liked his energy. He was comfortable to simply be with-easy silences from the start. Quite rare. I felt extremely present, he commanded this naturally of anyone. After a little bit he shifted my purse over and slid closer to me. This affection and physical closeness had a good effect. I grounded, feeling more than capable of what lay ahead.

 

I looked into his eyes and saw them glisten in a way that was eerily familiar. I have seen this same expression in my own eyes since childhood, although I was unable to identify it then. This same look I have glimpsed in human beings everywhere- all parts of the world, both young and old and it yields an instant, quite euphoric connection because we are so few and far between. These spirits possess much ancient wisdom.

Such souls are rare. In all my life I have encountered only a handful but I know them within the first graces of conversation. Myself. Keir. My brother Tim is one. Mukesh, my old Indian finance teacher. And Jonathan- a lovely man my age whom I met at Milford Sound, New Zealand. All males I have chanced upon- curious. These humans are amaranthine beings. They are Old Souls.

 

If you have not yet crossed paths with an Old Soul, be advised you are in for quite an encounter. They require careful handling as they are sensitive creatures. You will know them by their yearning for nature, their quest for truth and knowledge, a quiet introversion and fierce independence. They simply feel older than they actually are and often struggle to find a relationship worthy with those of similar age. They can be friends with multiple generations but feel suffocated if around crowds and easily feel world-weary. They despise drama and gossip for they know these are modern traps. Avoid small talk, it bores them to death. Frequently seen as highly empathetic and self-composed, with a steadfast loyalty to boot. An acute spirituality and disinterest in the modern status-quo, they only truly thrive when living alternatively. Old Souls tend to feel isolated, like they are between two worlds and can also hold supernatural abilities such as telepathy, some even claiming to remember past lives in different time periods. Their voices are known to be deeper and they speak with a slowness and foresight. Nearly all reverberate a strong connection with a certain era and culture and revel in long, lingering eye contact.

 

When we both got up to head to a pub in Melbourne Central- I felt so comfortable that I blurted ‘Do you want a hug?’

‘Yeah’ he smiled.

I opened to him easily, languishing in his energy. He was all-encompassing in his embrace and possessed the body-type that I love to hug most. The gateway to my heart was smashed open, profound energy surged between our chests. He holds a special aura I thought.

As humans we do not experience this often. I was right, I knew I met this man for a reason.

 

We marched up Swanston St together in the dark. This was a man who you wanted to walk around at night with. I’d never felt safer or more protected. Aside from the obvious fact that he worked in security, he was the first alpha male I had spent time with and there was a clear difference. He was a night person I suspected. Creative energy abounded in conversation and much sexual chemistry. As we got to the top floor of Melbourne Central and strolled towards the pub, I sighed ‘arghh he’s going to ask me for my ID’, feeling like a baby. ‘Just go through’ he said and with a stern nod at the bouncer, guided me through the door, his hand on my back. We got some wine to start and it went to my head straightaway, I felt like I shimmered in this man’s company. I got a rack of lamb and roast vegies and he got a beef and bacon pie. We shared mouthfuls with each other and I got comfortable staring at him. At one point he shifted his chair round to my side of the table. Things began to heat up. Banter, blushing (on my end) and delicious conversation. He stroked my thigh sensually and it immediately sparked a flame in my nether regions. Tantric energy I thought. It consumed me in his hug earlier, passed inside.

‘I notice people’s lips a lot’ I said all of a sudden. ‘I was just noticing yours actually’ he replied wolfishly.

‘Not here. Outside’ I insisted. He understood. It is important how you enter a kiss.

 

After another drink or two we left. ‘Do you want to see me again? He probed, bright and childlike. ’Yes I do’ I answered shyly.

He insisted on paying and I enjoyed the display of chivalry. He took my hand and we glided through the crisp night towards his work at the World Trade Centre, South Wharf. He stopped me with a devilish grin and said ‘In a laneway?’

‘No I am NOT kissing you in a dark laneway’. A most in-elegant thing to do on a first date even if it was Melbourne. Though he didn’t want to label the evening as such. BUM-BOW Flick. Warning sign number one. We continued on until he suddenly stopped, spun to face me and took my chin in his hands. I found we both kissed the same way. Tongue and movement and breath. I giggled softly with pleasure as I so often do with men who engage me spiritually. I loved how strong he held me when kissing and I relished sliding my fingers through his mane of warrior hair. We kept going until we fell upon the side of Batman’s Hill, rolling around, touching and canoodling unashamedly. He snarled playfully and began to neck-kiss me passionately. We said our goodbyes and he marched down Spencer St whilst I pranced off to the train at Southern Cross. 

 

I saw Keir the following Tuesday, the 27th to be precise, for lunch before my tour. We met at the red sticks at the back of Fed Square. I had never noticed them before but they make a memorable meeting spot. We went to a bar/café in city square and I got soup and he just had two beers. He told me a few stories about travelling in Canada and having to get rid of a bear outside his tent, doing a perfect imitation of a person’s face as they stare into a fire. He carried big energy. Great hugs and kisses again. It was a good date but I sensed a slight difference in his persona, there were a few moments of slight tension, not really related directly to anything. Just sometimes he looked very far away. He escorted me up to the State Library in time for me to change and prepare for my tour. I was only on my second or third tour with ‘I’m Free’ and I liked that I began to see him at the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life. I went inside and changed into my bright green t-shirt then greeted him sitting comfortably on a bench outside. In that moment he looked relaxed in his surroundings. He really didn’t belong in Melbourne, forever saying he wanted to leave and go elsewhere, except for this one little blip in time. I stood over him on the bench and gave him a tender kiss and caressed his beard.

Heaven how I loved his beard. Then down the stairs to start my tour. He said goodbye and crossed over into Melbourne Central for his train home. He looked back in the hallway and waved. Knowing him he’d have felt my eyes pierce his back.

 

That Friday, my dear friend Maddie was having a last bonfire at her home by the river in Kew. Her parents were selling the house and downsizing. We were all sad- it had been such a communal, welcoming house with many a fine bash held there. We often had midnight chats in her kitchen making peanut butter toast, camping outside and sleepover movie-nights; it was the house of our group. I invited Keir with the alluring phrase ‘there’ll be woods and a bonfire’- as if seeing me wasn’t enough! Why did I say that? Never even joke about dulling your light when you’re willing to let it illuminate all those around. He said he would come and I was excited for a more intimate environment. Nature-where we both felt at home, to cocoon us. He would see me with my kinfolk.

We took the 109 tram to get there and he felt repressed in the crowded, peak-hour bustle. We didn’t speak much on the ride there. When we arrived he was fine with navigating everyone. Being quite a centred person he was perfectly competent and his job gave him prime practice. After I’d changed in the bathroom, he and I lounged in Maddie’s room kissing on her desk chair with me running my fingers over him. ‘Oh you’re in there kissing some man, Isla!’ cried Gilly, Maddie’s likeable dad. I blushed and Keir went to help him start the bonfire. I took down plates of food with Mads whilst the others’ were still not back from buying drinks. Rory met Keir. An interesting meeting for me to observe. My first true love: baby-faced, green-eyed and academic meeting my new real interest- an alpha male traveller, with sharp dark eyes and built like a Viking. 

 After a bit of swooping around chatting animatedly with old friends and leaving Keir to circulate, he came over to me and we crept to the woods. On an old bench under two enormous pines we frolicked. Companionably we ogled at the moon. The river swirled nearby, insects flitted and the air smelt damp and sweet. Aaaahhh I thought. This is my kind of intimacy. How naïve. Keir was a man who made you feel like you knew him, even understood him and yet kept his guard up all the time which I failed to recognise as being unconquerable. At least at this time, in this era.

Things happened on the bench. I went down on him and he complimented me on my skill. Public sexual acts are something I was fast making a habit of. It’s one of my things. We moved to the in-ground trampoline and I straddled him as we looked up, savouring the stars. He did some highly lovely things to my chest and mmmmm. Oh, sweet bliss.

By golly he saw me the next day! Very good considering the pattern that would emerge later. On Saturday night we met by the river again after my tour. He took me to Beer Deluxe, a large bar at the back of Fed Square on Flinders street which boasts 150 kinds of beer! It felt casually cool and was super busy. Naturally (being Melbourne) they had a gluten-free beer. I requested it and he chose one for himself, agreeing to meet me at a table outside. I got one but he took an unusually long time to emerge so I went in to find him and he’d bumped into an old acquaintance. We went outside and sipped and talked of philosophy, society and life. ‘You have nice hands’ he told me. We were always sincere with compliments and did not use them with haste. I got tipsy and made eyes at him.

Work beckoned me early the next morn so we departed around midnight. He sweetly insisted on joining me on the Glen Waverley train, most likely hoping I’d say to come home with me. I’d have loved to take him home, this handsome knight before me. If it hadn’t been for the fact I live with my mum in a tiny house where erotic scurrying of any kind is heard, I would have. No. He was able to get a bus to Nunawading station, near where he lived, from the end of my line. But by God he turned me on, that rugged man. I was a simple light switch to him, he had the power to switch me on and off whenever he liked. And that’s what he did- in more ways than one.

 

Chapter 2

The Limerence Returned Once More

 

It was around this time that my heart engaged. The soul-mover moment that is so sought after by us all. I had not been able to feel this in its precious entirety for three and a half years and even back then I was younger, just a wee 17-year-old. How different I was now- a wise young woman as he had praised. When he entered the room my eyes were set alight, he set a churning in my chest, I wanted nothing but the attention and adoration from this man. He knew the effect he had on me. I remember during a conversation on friendship I asked whether or not he had friends who lit up as he approached. ‘You do’ he grinned. Our hearts know precisely what is necessary for our spirits to soar. Wholly intuitive, we are ruthless in our quest. He was the kind I was hoping for. Intellectually stimulating, he challenged me, impressed me effortlessly, had interests-many of them, and was well-travelled and articulate. Very masculine, as well as a lover of animals. He could cook and was accomplished in trades. Vitally though, he was a believer of spirituality. This is paramount to me being interested in any man.

After many flirtatious hints about it, he asked if I wanted to spend the night at his place when he knew I had a couple of days off. No crowds, no city, just us alone. We can give in to sensual delights.’ I eagerly accepted. Sex. It was looming. My body had been around his enough to know that it was going to be given ecstasy. I wanted to be in his inner sanctum, see how this seemingly-noble, rugged writer lived. How his room was decorated, which books he owned, what sort of home he came from. In addition to his sexual character. How would it be? I had a fair idea. I’d asked him if he’d ever explored Tantra (after being rocked by his conscious energy) and what sort of tastes he had. He said yes, he had researched a bit of it- maybe he’d dabbled in some, but if he had I never heard the story. Said he’d slept with approximately 18 women. He was my third. Lucky number three?  ‘I’m pretty vanilla’ he murmured. I took note. The sex industry has us believe that vanilla equates to boring; au contraire.

The night of June 4th I met him at his work, the World Trade Centre. The air was sultry with anticipation. I was there early, and watched him descend the escalator. He wasn’t as forward as I’d hoped on greeting but we went to the bar for a drink before heading to his place in Forrest Hill. We both warmed up a lot whilst gazing at the Yarra and supping. Again, the flow of sexual energy ran forth in a mighty gush. I didn’t have to think about it, my body reacted to his effortlessly. Simple leg stroking roused my womanly nectars from their cave. I made sure to wear fancy underwear. Cadbury purple lace- a favourite pair.

We headed up to Southern Cross and hopped on the Lilydale train. It was late, there were few folk about so we were able to…indulge cheekily on the train. My pupils dilated and my cheeks were rosy from desire. Once off at Nunawading station it was a 10-minute walk to his house. He lived in the first of three units-modest but nice on the inside. Good. I dislike men who are born with a mouthful of silver spoons. Humble men, men of the soil, men of working class, these are the men I open to. Him- an alpha male writer. No wonder I was dazzled by him, I definitely desired him.

Inside he escorted me to his room which was a veritable museum. But homely too. He had a full suit of armour standing stiff. As well as a wide, overflowing bookshelf. Phew. This is one of my steadfast sex rules. Never fuck a man who doesn’t own a bookshelf. Sadly I have done this in the past without realising. Damn. It was stuffed with games, books and travel treasures. Foreign currencies, ghastly American snack foods and the biggest, most impressive dream catcher I have ever seen. On the walls were lots of metal posters and his doona was adorned with Chinese characters. A hefty selection of alcohol was kept in his cupboard. A few days before he’d said in a message ‘I have a special, vintage bottle of wine from the Czech Republic I’ve been saving, and to share it- I choose you.’  I was honoured. Me? He knew I adored traveling, had a fondness for wine.

I had a little stickybeak and perused his books while he went to pour the wine. Lots of sci-fi and fantasy. We sipped a little, it was exquisite. His face lit up into boyish enthusiasm as he pulled a real medieval sword from its sheath to show me. I admired it openly. Of course I was falling for a man who owned such unusual artefacts. The Medieval Age is the time-period my soul is fascinated by. ‘It’s well-oiled’ he commented proudly.

We soon became consumed in the act of undressing. I fell onto his bed, on top of him, with my knickers and bra still intact. Him in his boxers. He was broad-shouldered, had a bit of a tummy which I liked, black chest hair decorating his pale skin and muscular arms. A Wolf-like aura and a body like a compact bear. He even had a wolf’s head tattooed on his arm- his spirit animal? In the downstairs department he was well endowed. I’d suspected as much. Overall he looked a mixture of Irish- dark hair and ivory skin and Eastern European/Slavic. Men who are similar to Keir are not thick on the ground. An entirely different specimen. 

 

Soon we were kissing and my face grew hot to touch. I ripped off my bra, hungry for him to see me vulnerable. The femininity of my body and my greatest asset. Never a self-conscious one during sex despite my slight extra chub I felt at home in bed with him. He too, possessed this attitude of no inhibitions. I slid down to pay homage to his fine tackle. A large, smooth cock greeted me. He got hard easily. After a while of pleasuring him orally and with my hands, feeling my essence stream, I looked up and said ‘how am I doing?’ ‘You’re fiiiine’ he moaned, his head rolling back. He seemed far away. Then he had his way with me and it was everything I’d hoped- exceeded expectations too. He sank his mouth to my cunt enthusiastically, willingly. He was primal in the bedroom but also had a soft, tantric energy. I liked this balance of opposites, he wasn’t shy and I felt we were on the same wavelength. I jumped on top of him and he slid inside me effortlessly. I was so wet, my yoni electric.

‘Having fun riding my cock?’ he smirked sexily.

‘Fuck yes’ I purred as I bounced rhythmically.

He flipped me over with cat-like litheness. I get all tingly when a man I really like is in this dominant position. The male/female energies melding, transcending time as two, no self-consciousness at all, utter attention on your sensations, their aura and your body- no thoughts. It was like having sex with the manliest of men.

It was early morn when we eventually fell under sleep’s spell. He came right up and spooned me close, wrapping his body round mine tightly. It was a loving gesture- he gave a lot of affection in those early days. Oh my. He was like my own private fire keeping me warm- too warm, all night. We both tossed and turned- always staying snuggled and intimate but were both overheated. He looked cute as he slept, a contented little smile- outer edges of his lips turned up. He murmured a few things in his sleep. His type does this. I do too.

Awaking me with a kiss in the morning, we took the opportunity and had cracking morning sex. Just as we finished and lay back satisfied, his mum came in. We pulled the covers up just in time fortunately but it was awkward. Apparently he’d told her I’d be there but she’d forgotten. Hmmm.

He showered and got ready for work and I texted my eccentric friend Isabel whom I was meeting later for lunch. We walked to a small park and ate a picnic breakfast he’d made us of cold chicken, carrot and cucumber sticks. A gentleman who gives his lady breakfast. My kind of man. Comically, as we strolled to the train station he said ‘I was going to say last night that we don’t have to have sex, we could’ve just cuddled and gone to sleep but then I saw your eyes.’ Haha I took delight and laughed at this. There was no way I would’ve accepted no for an answer. This level of desire was entirely new to me.

 

Amazingly, on the train in, we spotted renowned actor Geoffrey Rush. He was sitting two rows up and at first we weren’t sure if it was him as his head was bent, reading the paper but we snapped a pic on my phone and it WAS! He got off at Flinders Street Station where I did. My eyes met his at one point which was rather thrilling. ‘Bye gorgeous’ I whispered to Keir and scurried up the stairs after Mr Rush trying to overhear snippets of his phone conversation. ‘I’ll meet you at the Hopetoun tea rooms’ was all I heard. This occurrence I took as an affirmation that this was a positive sign with new changes. Exciting things happened with this man.

 

 

Sisters of the world, we should all be having sexual trysts with men we like often. As much as we can. Even if it’s not going to evolve into a full-blown love affair. Men we don’t like too, for the sake of the story. But don’t do that if your heart is injured. If it’s a one night stand, if it’s at a sex party, if you give a handy on an airplane, or a blowjob on a bike path; it is no less to you.

 

In the West we live by Time’s rule and this has kept us fiercely chained. Our order of natural intelligence has become upset by this. We are resisting our innate human rhythms. Crazy belief really, that the length of something determines its worth. A rather stagnant and un-spiritual idea. It does not. Take these moments as pivots in your life to be savoured and for them to remain events to give birth to new ideas, new action.

Religion and social conditioning have dampened our sexuality for millennia and we are only just beginning to break those bonds. Women of the West- with all our supposed freedoms and equalities it is still ironic that these topics remain obvious issues in this day and age. We are both summoning one another to break these sexual stigmas, saying that we’re sex-hungry, and have desires and needs the same as men. But on the other hand the media, so-called relationship/family ‘experts’, and ordinary people still see marriage as a success, divorce as a failure and are dogmatic to anniversaries without taking into account the why. The why of our love for each other. So essentially we’re working within two opposing practices. We are told it is the small things that make up life yes? The same style of thinking is not just applicable but exact to the world of love-affairs, dating and male/female relationships. It is time to cast off the shackles, conditioned by the repressive patriarchy and usher in a new free-thinking age without stigma on alternative approaches to affairs of the heart (and body).

 

 

Chapter 3

Pipe Dreams

 

In the week that followed our night together we talked a lot. I asked him if he’d been seeing other girls he’d spoken to on tinder. He said ‘yes but just as friends. I would not engage them physically as I do with you…. It’s a conversation better to have in person.’ Oh! What? I became a bit starry-eyed at this. He hinted at an internal shift. I had not expected him to say that. Would he follow through and initiate a chat? I would watch and wait.

 

On the night of Wednesday the 18th June I met him at 6pm after a tour, by the Yarra again. We were going to see All Our Exes Live in Texas- a gorgeous 4-piece girl band from Sydney who are charismatic and funny. They were playing at the Melbourne Folk Club. Rach and Ben (Rach’s boyfriend) were joining us and I was looking forward to a fun, cosy night of friends and folk. A double date as such. As soon as he greeted me he abruptly said ‘I almost bailed on you.’ ‘You could’ve, I would’ve understood’ I said, masking my disappointment. Ahhhh pay attention here cautioned my gut. Warning sign number 2. But I didn’t. Something bad had happened. A fight with his parents or some nondescript personal crisis. Evasive as ever. ‘Come on let’s go, you’ll feel better as the night goes on’ I said matter of factly. We crossed the arched bridge and went to an Irish pub in Southgate. It felt lovely as Irish pubs tend to do. We sat at a whisky barrel table and then moved to a secluded booth, got tipsy and raunchy. A couple came in and shared the space with us and we just carried on filling the air with lust-smoke. Clearly they weren’t in the same moods we were as they kept shooting us odd, curious glances.

 

We left to meet Rach and Ben at 8.20pm but first ended up near the Arts Centre spire canoodling on the sculptures before I insisted on getting to the gig. We walked the whole way up Swanston St, past the State Library, the gaol, to Trades Hall where it is held. He bought a ticket at the door and talked with Ben. Later Rach said Ben had liked him, that ‘he was a cool guy’. People’s opinions of men I like are always valid. I always like to see if my intuition is immaculate or waning. Splendidly, I sat on his lap for most of it and he nuzzled my hair and neck and noticeably breathed in my scent. I could tell he liked their music. A note on the place itself; I LOVE the Melbourne Folk Club, it’s held on Wednesday nights and feels like an old school hall. It’s a special place to me, so it was a big deal I was there with him, Ben and Rach who is like a sister to me. What can be better than sitting on a handsome, beardy man’s lap, with friends, enjoying folk music in my youth? I thought.

 

Despite all this, clearly my subconscious knew things I didn’t and I wrote in my diary the following night, ‘Nonetheless I am still afraid it’ll all crumble and he’ll withdraw. Hmm. Kind of mixed messages in a way.’

 

 And yet, I still let myself run wild in daydreams and life. I was happy in this time.

Not quite carefree.

 

Meanwhile in my professional life, I was throwing myself into getting lots of tours under my belt. I’d just started with ‘I’m Free Tours’ a tips-based, private company similar to the idea of Sandeman’s New Europe Tours. Immersing into the experience with gusto I was doing 5-6 a week. Mid-winter, these were the toughest conditions, (according to my boss) to work in. In hindsight I lapped it up- the rain and biting winds made me work even harder to keep people’s spirits up. Truly we all ‘sing for our supper’ as Dan, another guide, said aptly to me once. Often it happened the smaller groups of only 15-20 people would band together and really make an effort to talk to me. I went home and discussed it each night with friends and family. Tried to work out people’s tipping psychology. Loved being bubbly, thrived on working alone, being in charge. Propelled by those kindred spirits I met with the same love for life. The vibes, the energy, the awkwardness. It filled me up this kind of work. God the job touched me spiritually.

2014 was my year in terms of life journeying. I had set about ‘becoming a tour guide’ and was making serious headway. I joined the PTGAA and went to tourism meetings and networking events as much as possible. In June I begun working for Chocoholic Tours- a very different style of business and regular income coming in. My good friend, Rose, was working at the Visitor’s Centre in Federation Square saving for her work-program at Disney Florida commencing in August. I was pleased for her- we were both chuffed to be IN tourism now.

 

Those early new-touring days were joyful ones indeed. Finally I felt like I was really contributing. Using skills that not everyone has to contribute to traveller’s Melbourne experiences. That’s not nothing I thought. Which is why I still get oh so frustrated and impatient with ‘status-people’. People who, off the bat, ask ‘so are you studying now?’ or ‘so…what else do you do?’ or ‘Is this your real job? And even ‘what’s your deal?’ Rude and superficial! These people drive me nuts. They imply that being a tour guide is a ‘filler’ job and that I must always be working to something ‘higher’. Perhaps I am- in my hobbies and interests. Like writing, like yoga, like music, like planning my travels and going to Philosophy Breakfasts. Status and hierarchy have been around since Biblical times- before then, when we were Neanderthals in caves, and where has it gotten us?  Divided us as a race, fuelled feelings of disunion and diminished our self-worth. Slapping a fancy label on someone doesn’t necessarily make them worthy or of-note or interesting. Rather an archaic way of looking at the world.

 

It is both a blessing and a curse to feel things so very deeply. Rachael Mc would remind me of this months later.

 

One morning I opened Facebook and had a message from Declan- the first guy I met off tinder. Not a good experience. I hadn’t wanted to stay friends because he was weak of character and not too exciting. So I had un-friended him when I got a message saying ‘Can I just ask you one thing? Can we be friends?’ I explained that no, I had my life and he his. This is a pattern of my personality. I am all in or all out. Perilous lows and dizzying, rainbow-hued highs. I am loyal and loving but I don’t care much for acquaintances- people that call themselves my friend but don’t know me at all.

 

 

 

Chapter 4

One Cannot See Through Rose-Tinted Glasses

 

On the 28th June I wrote in my diary:

 

 I feel like 2014 has been a watershed year, running in leaps and bounds to becoming the woman I am meant to be. It feels healthy, like things are coming together inwardly. Plus I’ve been having an amazing time without a relationship. I am writing this here in case my future self needs to have it known again.

Told Keir if he wants to call me he can instead of all the texting. But he said he doesn’t enjoy talking on the phone. Significant red flag number three.

 

A couple of days later I came down with a bad cold and had to pull out of a tour. Keir had also caught something more severe- experiencing vomiting and dizziness.

Winter raged hard and I hadn’t seen Keir in three weeks when we met for lunch on the 8th July. I was still ill and was horribly disappointed we couldn’t kiss or be as physical. We dropped in to the Young & Jackson’s, a historic pub on the corner of Swanson and Flinders streets. More of an older person’s place, it was fitting we both liked it to want go there. We got drinks and I wasn’t that hungry so only he ate fish and chips. I spun my bracelet anxiously and was awkward throughout. ‘You’re very fidgety today’ he commented. We had some existential chat but it was negative, laced with an overarching gloom for society on his behalf. His tone was the voice of humanity’s sadness. The opposite of my nature of optimism. I got a glimpse at his current circumstances, how deleterious he was at this time of his life. My tummy felt heavy, my gut yelled ‘boo!’

An iota of no entered my head at this stage. I didn’t know it then but it was the last time I would see him. We finished lunch and each went home to rest. He waved me off at Flinders with a hug and then immediately sent a text saying ‘Yay! Express train! It was lovely to see you my dear, see you soon’.

So I was still unclear, still plagued by where is this going? So much so that I asked him that week. I don’t remember his specific answer- it was vague and noncommittal. He began to fade and life ticked by. I guided tours, went for coffee with friends, attended dinner parties in the Brunswick house, glittered at gigs and had intricate heart conversations with Rachael Mc.

 

Chapter 5

Lessons Learned In Love Are Slow

 

Weeks later, bored and restless, I jumped back on tinder and met a 23-year-old guitar teacher named Mac for a drink. He had a reddish beard and looked eerily like Rach’s boyfriend Ben. He was nice and a good talker on the first date- out on the balcony at Ferdydurke, a favourite rooftop bar. He also had rather bad breath. Yeeerrrrkk. I left at 10pm. I was glad there was no moment for a kiss. I saw him once more after that in a bar, E55 on Elizabeth Street- an orange basement with a 70’s vibe. Again, we got deep in chat but things went downhill when he asked if I wanted to come back to his house. I said ‘No’ plain and simple because, oh because, because, because! Bad breath, there’d been NO physical touch before this request- what a madman, and I wasn’t going to be that girl waking up in a share house of boys. There’d been no spark. He persisted and it got really annoying, not to mention unattractive. This is when fear sets in and you get a bit panicky as a woman. ‘Let’s play a game where we kiss on all the benches on Bourke St Mall’ he coaxed. ‘Ohh ONE more kiss, then I’m going’ I warned. It got so bad after 4 more benches that I stopped abruptly, rose from a bench- now on Swanson St and said ‘Okay I am going to go this way to Flinders and you go that way to Melbourne Central’

‘Okay, I’ll call you.’ Ugh, please don’t.

The following night he texted me to say he was trying to find a gig to take me to. As if the previous night’s display hadn’t happened at all! I finished it then.

 

I despaired. Other men just weren’t competent at this. I felt like I bloody had it in the bag! Did they know nothing of respect? What were the dating rules they lived by? I was experiencing first-hand the realities of courting (or lack of) in this crazy decade. I was living the actual manifestation of all those trashy articles on thought-catalog.com titled things like ’Shopping for Soul Mates: Does Online Dating Make You Superficial?’ Ugh. Clearly I was an old-school girl living in a new-rules world. Was I the only one that wanted to meet a beardy man in a bookshop? The only one who was offended by the open use of smartphones while on a date? Preferring to drink coffee whilst listening to folk music rather than downing liquid courage in a seedy bar?

The only one choosing to actively oppose small-talk.

 

Meanwhile, Keir kept in contact from afar, stating ‘I know I was much more attentive at the start, I just haven’t been feeling so social’. I wondered if he was battling with depression. The classic signs were there. The night shifts would be having a serious effect on his brain chemistry, his hermit lifestyle, withdrawn behaviour and disinterest in hobbies. In the months that followed he would send me sporadic photos of past country excursions or brownies he’d baked, or a simple message of ‘Did you listen to mother nature ravaging the land last night?’ during a storm. He contacted me to satisfy him and not in a compassionate or interested way. Sometimes we’d have long, deep, intellectual chats over Facebook and one night in late September he offered up some lovely words on his own that took me by surprise.

‘Do you want to hear some free-range truth I’ve been farming?’

‘Sure I’d like that’

‘I really enjoyed the time I spent with you, I think you’re a fantastic woman and you know that if it was another period of time in my life I would have wanted very much to continue onward with you. Maybe there’ll be another chance in the future, who knows. But I know I have dreams I cannot achieve and it’s unfair to leave someone here while I’m off around the world. Same for you I think. Too many adventures left undone and your soul cries out for it…..I’ve thought about you too. We both have great destinies and dreams which must be satiated before we can do such things.’

 

Touching stuff but still in reality, bullshitting, when he wasn’t immediately planning any travels and nor was I.

Besides, I was still a vulnerable little girl in many ways. All of this went deeper than Keir. A few days later I wrote in my diary:

 

‘I’m afraid of not having been in a serious relationship for 2.5 years for myself. Who I am. My spirit. I’m terrified a great part of me that came out, shined and grew when I was with Rorz has gone somewhere and I don’t know how to get it back. It makes me feel scared. Not that I have anything to prove to anyone but I feel I’ve lost a part of me that I valued, respected and enjoyed. I hope I find adventure in that magical land again.’

 

Months passed. Keir made a few more requests to see me. I was open and accessible which he knew. Every time he would bail with a lame excuse even though he requested it. One time, notably, was a couple of days after my 21st birthday. After a severe warning that, if he didn’t go through with it, I’d be very hurt because ‘I know myself and need to protect my heart’ he didn’t follow through and posted a poignant Facebook status relevant to our saga saying ‘People make time for who they want to make time for. People text, call and reply to people they want to talk to. Never believe anyone who says they’re too busy. If they wanted to be around you- they would.’ Pure fuckery for the fourth time right there.

 

Christmas arrived and New Year’s sailed by. I flew up to Sydney twice in 2 months. Once for Christmas with mum and the other to attend the triple j 40th anniversary concert with the marvellous Miss McArthur. The latter was a most creative and inspiring trip. Her Dad had got her the tickets for her birthday and had generously paid for my flight as well. Her Aunt and Uncle lived in a pretty Sydney suburb Dulwich Hill, so we had free accommodation too, sharing a fuchsia-walled eclectic bedroom. It brought us even closer as friends as we practiced guitar, cooked together and as well as the concert saw an amazing acrobatic/bluegrass show called ‘Timber’ from French-Canada.

 

A good sign came inwardly at a bonfire gathering on NYE. A group of friends and I were invited to Hannah’s boyfriend, Callum’s house which he shared with three other guys. I chatted, drank wine and mingled about in hippy-pants feeling chipper. Rach, Ben, Rachael Milligan and I roared with laughter, describing our own sense of humour and being tipsy and silly. Refusing to bend to society’s pressure, I decided not to kiss anyone at midnight. Despite the array of nice, bearded men, there was no one I connected to so opted to be present in friendship instead. Nice one girl I thought to myself. I looked at the moon and made a wish for a revolutionary 2015.

 

In January I began to see another bearded fellow who worked as an assistant manager in a cafe. He was kind of sweet but not nearly as independent as I and had been raised very religious which scared me off. Six weeks in I’d had enough.

At the end of February I was feeling better, back to my old self. Talking with Keir one night he brought up the notion of being casual sex-mates. I was interested, of course, being amorous as ever and I had shifted. I was stronger than before, more centred too so I knew I could moderate my emotions around him. I said ‘Sure I’m free Friday’. So we arranged a rendezvous in the woods near his house in great detail. He sent me bus directions and I volunteered to bring a blanket for a foray into public sex together. The one thing I had done and he surprisingly hadn’t. The day of he cancelled again. And there it was: I was willing to be vulnerable and he was not. My consciousness rose, an enormous roar of indignation. GRGHHH. No MORE Isla. No more chances, no more hoping, no more wasting your mental space and energy on this womaniser. Ouch, ‘Womaniser’ is a harsh word. But that’s what he seemed to be. A facades man despite his assertions he was open and authentic. A slick trickster.

 

On the advice of my friend Pippa- a woman of much sunshine and strength, I erased him from my Facebook and deleted his number.

The whole way through he only wanted me for his intent. As ridiculous and flimsy as it was- he was not a man of strong character. In the past he would have been, the future, perhaps, but not now.

 

Although, I am still glad, to this day, that he did at least like and respect me at one time. I believe everything happens in our lives for a reason, whether we know it inherently at the time we experience it, or learn it later in hindsight. And it must because the Universe is interlinked, down to every last atom.

As always my intuition was there all along, trumpeting in the background.

However, it was also visible to me, that in another time, he had blossomed as such. I wish I could’ve been the one to see him roar with laughter, be in a place of peace and seen him bound up to friends excited as a child, gushing words of life delight. Witnessed him showing off about his interests and achievements. Revelled in his masculinity.

But those were my heart’s decisions, not my head’s. I did not listen to it. Or my gut. Both is required for the soul to flourish. The ‘coming home’ of right decisions.

 

This is my lessons’ peak, my saga’s final revelation.

The thing I was most saddened by was for the lost opportunity. I knew that I could have loved this man, in another time, another life, and that is what hurt most of all. For he may well have been the soul-mover, the luminous man.  I absolutely knew this. And that timing is everything.

I’ll always remember him with feeling, at times when my mind wanders back in the quiet history I keep locked in my very cells.

I regret nothing of this chapter in my life. I remember it all with tenderness and the memories are as vivid as the man himself. The most impressive message that came thundering home to me, was that it is futile to try and be in a romantic union with a young soul. It is the Old Souls that I must find. They exist but are rarer, bring greater poignancy and each time teach me a great lesson so I may too, continue to evolve. These are the only types who can be soul-movers for me.

My intuition flashed this at me as he descended the bluestone stairs that first meeting. Pause. Observe. Take whatever happens with this man with you forward in life, it whispered. Now is the time to heed that advice.