Every time Nuit writes something for Outlaw Dreams, in this case: Reflections, I am inspired to write something as well.
So a huge thank you to Nuit for allowing me to share in her wonderful story OD & Reflections with Cat's own Outlaw Dreams. *big hugs*
Four Parts, Complete
2 3 4
I need a sign to let me know you're here,
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere...
Train-Calling All Angels
That weekend had started out like any other-well any other Saturday morning for Cat. Wake up bleary eyed after a few drinks the night before & wait for Eva to put the jug on & sing out a cheery 'cup of tea Cat?' Then she would drag her body out of the warm bed , throw some clothes on ready for something thrilling to eventuate, which rarely did, & instead plod off to clean up the apartment.
So this day was no exception to the routine...... or was it? Looking back she tried to fathom what had changed that day-was the sun a little brighter with a double halo rainbow? Any tell-tale smudge of an odd looking cloud to alert her, a slight buzz in the atmosphere...anything? She strained to remember all that had 'gone before' but her mind wouldn't co-operate, or at least found nothing unusual. Surely there was a sign & she'd missed it? The Universe didn't alter without some kind of sign, some upheaval, or maybe that was it, nothing at all had altered, it was as it was meant to be.
Rifling under the bed I found odd socks, knickers & plenty of other bits & pieces that frankly were best not found. "Oww!" My arthritic knee gave a stab of pain as I leaned a bit further, flinging out things in the general direction of the washing basket. I had to admit, I was feeling a tad grumpy that my body just didn't seem to restore itself overnight like it was meant to. I felt like I'd been picked over by a couple of magpies in the night.
Crap..I might just have to move north...Queensland maybe for the warmer climate. But then looking outside you couldn't get a more perfect day-clear blue everywhere.
"Cuppas on the table Cat!" Eva called out. "I've got some shopping to do before heading off to work this afternoon. I'll see you there later" The front door slammed.
Saturdays, I did the washing for the two of us, not that I minded you know, as Eva had to work and really I had not a lot else to do, well not since I'd got rid of Pete three weeks ago.
After several months of it, I had decided enough was enough, snd I honestly couldn't be bothered anymore. His all night drinking sessions with his mates using our apartment, had started to grate on me. Eva was more than thankful to see the back of him..she never said but I just knew. Anyway, she was in agreement with me that the guy was a waste of space. Nobody ever really kept my interest for very long-was that just an age thing or what? It was easy to get comfortable with yourself and be happy that way.
I stopped halfway through changing the bed and checked my reflection in the mirror-definitely getting older but some life still in the old girl yet,I was grinning to myself, trying to instill some confidence. Yep lines on my face that had somehow sneaked up on me, a bit like the more generous sized undies & comfortable shoes. "Oh fuck it, that's life!" I shouted to the empty room, pulling the bed up. I dragged the washing down to the car, eager now to get out of the house.
A couple of hours later, food and clothes spilling from my arms, I stumbled from the car to the apartment, keys in hand. It was then that I noticed a man in the shadow of the porch. 'Oh shit not one of Pete's mates' I was frowning. 'Nah, too young...his son maybe?
I wasn't in the mood for this, I just wished he would go away.
The figure leaned casually on the door frame, hat crammed down over dark curls, face hidden. Just as I approached, one hand struck a match to his cigarette, the flame lighting his face before fading away, leaving him in shadow once more.
I froze, & in a strange kind of slow motion, I could feel the bags of washing & shopping fall open-cheese & crackers, chocolate slice, apples bouncing away all sliding from my fingers. 'Not possible' .I mouthed right before my head felt strangely giddy.
Flicking the match away, the young man raced over "Cat? Yer alright lass? Sorry to surprise you like that. Here let me help you. Christ don't faint on me, Ned will have me balls if anything should happen to yer on account of me"
I stared at him dumbly at the mention of Ned "& what if it should happen on the account of him?" My eyes wide on his face, kind of mesmerised.
"Well I'm guessing he'll let that one slide love" He was grinning now, relieved that I seemed to be coming right, although I felt deathly white-the blood had clearly drained from my face as I saw him watching me closely, ready to catch me should I fall...mmm a tempting thought.
I stared at the mess strewn on the ground.
"It's always the knickers that fall out ain't it lass?" He laughed as he flung them back in the basket.
"Joe what are you doing here & how did you find me....us?"
He gave me a lop-sided grin, fag still firmly gripped in the corner of his mouth. "Truth of it is Cat, you weren't so hard to find. The old man in Jerilderie gave me your new address, so here I am. Well, me & Ned actually."
'Oh lordy...' I searched over his shoulder, feeling frantic, my mind crazy with the thought that maybe I hadn't spotted him. Seemed unlikely...
"Take it easy, he's at the barbers getting a wee trim...come here" he growled. He pulled me into a tight hug as the shock of seeing him & not dreaming him up began to settle over me.
"Fuck Joe, you're enough to give an old woman a heart attack"
"Ah, you don't look so old Cat" He held me at arms length as if to check what he said rang true. His face was as young & perfect as when I'd last seen him, some thirty odd years ago. Although back then I hadn't been sure if he was the Joe Byrne or not, as I had only known him as Billy. I had suspected as much but it wasn't until later I knew for sure when Eva had filled me in with all the glorious details. Eva..oh wow...
"Christ Joe, I have to ring Eva, she's gonna freak! Absolutely freak!" I pulled my phone from my hand bag but Joe's look stopped me "No? Oh shite..."
"I'd rather you didn't, it's just....I'd like to surprise her. Where is she?"
"She'll be at work by now-in the pub, it's on the other side of town from here, I'll give you directions." Whipping out a page from my address book, I drew a rough map "She'll probably kill me when she finds out that I knew you were here & didn't give her some warning"
"I'm grateful to yer Cat. I best be going back to the barbers & see if Ned found his face under all that hair. I need a tidy up myself."
I begged to differ-he looked just perfect the way he was.
"So...I'll be telling him it's okay to come & call on yer, that's if there's.......no one else?" Dark chocolate eyes questioned mine.
"There's no one Joe" Hah! I had well & truly shoved Pete from my mind, the ease of it was not shocking in the least.
"Alrighty then, expect a certain Mr. Kelly to come a knockin soon, & promise me yer won't tell Eva then?" I nodded & he flashed me one of those cheeky grins. As he sauntered off, I remembered my phone.
"Joe wait...before you go, would you mind if I took a photo of you?" He strolled back, relighting his fag.
"Sure, why not?"
Switching the phone on with trembling hands, I lined him up. Hand tucked in his pocket, slowly he exhaled the smoke & I clicked away. Fuck that was sexy ahem "Thanks, a nice reminder you know?" Then I showed him how to save it to the main screen.
"That's some fancy gadget you have there" he chuckled at his image. "it's been great seeing you again Cat. Me & Ned.....well, lets just say, we've missed you ladies something bad."
"What, a couple of old fossil's like us?" My laugh catching in my throat, I wanted to say just how much we had missed having outlaws messing our heads up, but somehow couldn't. "Where's Dan & Steve?"
"Ah well, we needed a break me & Ned. We've left those two to drink themselves stupid. Maybe they'll shoot each other with any luck..."
"Oh...Joe, don't...say that"
"Ah sorry lass, just a sick joke, we all know what we have coming, it's a sure thing so we find laughter the best medicine...along with a few other diversions"
He winked, tipping his hat to me...He was leaving.
"It's gonna be a huge shock to her Joe" I called.
"Aye, but in a good way I hope."
'Wow, they really came back' I watched him disappear around the corner. 'But why did we have to be so sodding old?' A cruel twist I guess, but suddenly I didn't care, pushing bags inside I was racing up the stairs to get ready.