Brutas Mudcake
Fairfield train station, 2007

Unlike Penny, Josh Pyke swooped into my life for one glorious moment and then left, never to revisit again.

On the other hand Penny came in at a similar time and left soon after but continued to haunt my mind.

When I made the rarest of visits to a suburban bar, Penny unknowingly took out a permanent marker and scrawled her tag on my heart. Melting into each other for the night it was a feeling that proved to be too good to be forever true.

Walking home from Fairfield station not long after she called it quits, Josh Pyke’s Private Education came on my iPod. I’d been struggling with the notion that I wasn’t getting over her, like I tended to quickly get over every other romantic escapade of my 26 years thus far.

You could wear me ‘round like your best dress and I wouldn’t mind/ You could ruin me in one long night and cast me aside

And I felt that. That I’d been ruined in one glorious night (or nights), and now I’d never be the same. Too bad that in my selfishness I’d never had any pangs of guilt when the shoe had been on the other foot and I’d been doing the casting aside.

But why did I now feel like this?

I wanna learn you good, I wanna read your text, I wanna cut you deeper, wanna cut you best. Now my cautionary ways are swept aside, I fear you not, all my past disclaimers and alibis, I’ve now forgot, you could turn your mind back to your past and I couldn’t change your heart, or kiss your scars, or find your heat there in the dark.  

Josh was interpreting my muddled mind, that for the first time I had dropped all my ‘disclaimers and alibis’ (there’d been numerous) and was submitting myself to get serious with someone. I did really care about this virtual stranger, who appeared to have little in common with me. I really did want to know how her day had been, it wasn’t just a glib connection to some cheap weekend thrills. It had been a liberating then crushing experience.

So it’s a private education, and it’s not getting any cheaper, I wear the cost around like a wound, and I’ll try not to bleed all over you.

Yes I was bleeding. Maybe this was finally the real thing?

Penny came back into my life a couple of times over the next few years, the third time seemed lucky for a while (I evened refrained from listening to Private Education during that time for fear of some kind of jinx) but once again she was gone and that last time I really did bleed.

© Brutus Mudcake. Brutas lives in Melbourne nourished by the twin nutrients of sport and music. He has also written about Dancing On The Jetty by INXS and All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem.

Private Education film clip via Vimeo