Werribee, 1996.

Kurt Cobain had been dead for a good couple of years, before I gave him the credit he deserved. When everyone was “smelling teen spirit”, I was memorising the lyrics to Jump, by Kris Kross. Nirvana were just a little too dark for 12-year-old me.

As it turns out, 16-year-old me was all about the darkness.

My latest crush was an abyss of broodiness. An abundance of hair product, atop an endlessly grimacing face. His expression, an eternal tribute to his deep, not-so-hidden teenage angst.

He drank too much. He smoked too much. He owned too many bongs.

I didn’t even know what a bong was – such was the level of my innocence.

We bonded over a mutual love for the Essendon Football Club.

We had nothing else in common.

He was sad. And damaged. It was as though I found him down the bottom of a well, and felt certain that only I could rescue him.

He introduced me to Nirvana. I introduced him to sunlight.

He drew me into his “magnetar pit trap” – a perfectly appropriate metaphor for his quagmire of an apartment. I was caught inside his heart-shaped box and so entirely confused!

We kissed. We held hands. We broke up.

I don’t remember who dumped who, but I do remember the feelings that rose within me, whenever Kurt Cobain would begin his throaty, guttural struggle. While my angsty former beau was feigning suffering, Cobain had lived it and provided the soundtrack.

I will never really understand what “meat-eating orchids” have to be so unforgiving about, but Nirvana served to remind me that I have much to learn about this world, and I will be forever in debt for that priceless advice.

Melissa was a participant in Stereo Stories’ inaugural writing workshop, held at the Williamstown Library in July 2019.



Melissa Longo has been diarising her thoughts since 1993. The writing wasn’t great, she admits. Despite this, she kept on writing, because she loved to do so. She is now the editor of two community papers (Around Altona and Around Point Cook), the mama of two children and a semi-regular blogger.