Moving On

We met in a biker bar outside of Joburg. She was dressed in white fake leather and glitter. I stood out like a black man at a Bar Mitzvah. Everyone was in boots and biker gear. I was wearing a pink dress, white angel wings and green sneakers. I don’t do half measures, so I even had the crown and blue mascara to match. My mates thought it would be a laugh to tell me that we were going to a cross-dressing party. They all showed up in their jeans and jackets, while I looked like a drag queen with an identity crisis. I was obviously meant to be the punch line of a bad joke.

I decided to take it like a man. Man being a very loose term under the circumstances. Bravely I walked up to the bar, trying to look as macho as a man in pink with a princess crown can possibly look.

“We don’t serve queens asshole. Get the hell out of my bar!” The last words I heard before I felt the pain shoot through my nose.

When I came to, the boys were nowhere in sight. I was outside the backdoor, with a few cigarette stubs clinging to my angelic wings and my crown lying broken next to my head. My friends probably didn’t see all the action across the crowded bar. My head was pounding and my snozz was at least four times the size it had been when I arrived.

She appeared out of nowhere – my eighties angel in leather and sequins.
“Are you ok?” She held some ice against my aching head and I noticed a piece of string hanging from my nose.

“Sorry, your nose wouldn’t stop bleeding and there’s no crap paper here, so it’s the best I could come up with.” She explained quickly, noticing the confused expression on my face.

“It’s cool that you put yourself out there like that, but it’s a bit stupid to come to a biker bar in drag my darling. Can I take you somewhere more, um… fairy friendly?” She said sympathetically. I wanted to laugh, but it hurt too much.

I’ve never felt more embarrassed. Dressed like a queen, with a bleeding mouth and a tampon stuck up my nose. No amount of explaining could make me look any better or worse at this point, so I told her that I’d get where I needed to go on my own.

“Can I come with you? This isn’t really my scene.” Not her scene? She looked like she’d been conceived, born and raised in a biker bar? But I decided to let her tag along anyway, she helped me out after all, and she seemed pretty harmless.

“Let’s go bowling.” She suggested.

Why the hell not I thought, this evening couldn’t get any worse. I hate bowling by the way, but putting on dirty shoes and showing off my complete lack of coordination just seemed like the way this night was destined to go.

So there we were, the biker babe and the fairy queen sharing a lane, our game stinking worse than my sockless feet in the scary maroon shoes. She was either the worst bowler ever or she was just trying to protect my fragile ego, because she sucked like… well something that sucks a lot.

“Oh shit! I just broke a nail.” She exclaimed, looking completely shattered. I thought that I should at least try to feign some concern.

“Can it be saved?” I asked as sincerely as possible.

“No honey. It’s a goner.”

“Does it hurt?” I said taking her cold hand in mine.

“Only when I laugh.” She replied, calling my bluff.

“It’s only a fricken nail. It’ll grow again. But I think it’s a sign that this game is over. Besides, we’re making everybody else look bad.” She said and smiled.

Only then did I notice how pretty she was, or could be for that matter. Underneath the clothes that were much too tight and the thickly painted on make-up she wasn’t half-bad. I smiled back self-consciously, wondering if she noticed me staring a bit too long.

“Could you drop me back at Full Throttle please?” She asked as she slipped on her blinding white boots again.

“Sure, but I know you’ll understand if I don’t go in again.”

“Why not? You were so popular there earlier on.” She smiled casually again. I liked the easy way she could smile and laugh.

I drove back to the hellhole and dropped her at the gate.

“Will you get home ok?” I said, giving her a bit of an awkward hug.

“I’m always ok.” She said, and somehow I believed her. I thanked her again for coming to my rescue. She said something about me actually being her hero, but before I could ask her to repeat or explain it, she was already out of earshot.


“So you picked up a chick, and you didn’t even introduce us to her friends?” George belted as he came running up to my car. Apparently they were looking for me in the parking lot.

“I didn’t pick up a girl. She saved my ass, when you guys were too busy partying to even notice that I’d been beaten up and thrown outside.” I said, pointing to my nose for effect.

“Geeze dude, that’s hectic! Are you ok?” George said as he finally realised that my blue nose wasn’t just part of the outfit.

Apparently they had been trying to phone me for ages, but my phone had been switched off. Only then did I realise that my mobile was gone. Maybe it was because I was a bit concussed, or the confusion of it all, but I didn’t even think of using it. My wallet and car keys were still with me, so I couldn’t figure out at which point I might have lost it.

All the guys started apologising and asking me to retell the night’s events. I may have embellished some of the details slightly, but it’s like an unwritten rule “if you get beaten up, you’re allowed to tell your version of the events.” Once I’d given a blow-by-blow account of the night, everyone wanted to know about the biker babe. They made the typical laddish comments, asking if she mounted me like a Harley and whether she kept her boots on.

Usually I would laugh along and play it all up. But this time I got angry. She was sweet and I didn’t think for a second that she had any ulterior motives. As I thought about the night, I realised that there was no point where she was trying to seduce me. She was just being genuinely friendly. The boys didn’t get why I was so offended, but for some reason I felt like she deserved to be defended.

At last, at three in the morning, I made my way home feeling ill from the pain and very tired, but even with a couple of painkillers and a shot of Jack I still couldn’t sleep. I didn’t even take her number, in fact, I wasn’t really sure if her name was Gina or Bernie. Then again, I didn’t even have a phone to call her with even if I did get her details. Maybe I was better off not dreaming with my subconscious floating to scenes of bowling balls, broken nails and broken noses. What a night!

I woke up to a breezy: “Whoohooo! Mikey” Somebody was shouting right outside, nails tapping on my window. “Mikey! You awake sweetie?” As I pulled away the curtain, I saw my mom, smiling like she just became a grandmother. O crap, I thought to myself… please don’t tell me my sister and her numb-nuts husband actually decided the world needed to be punished with a little numb-nuts junior. But, this wasn’t the reason for the happy visit.

Mom pulled my cell phone from her purse and waved it around. “Looking for this? Ah, Mikey, she’s lovely. Why haven’t you told me about her? She’s so polite and smart and a looker… oh Mikey, I’m so happy for you. This is so great. You should bring her over for dinner.” Mom made all this sound like one long sentence. I had no clue who she was talking about and what the hell it had to do with my phone. Turns out, my friend from last night, had my phone and she assumed MOM would be the safest number to phone, to make sure it gets back to me. Not only has she already met my mom, but she also happens to live just three blocks down from my parents, which is why she decided to just quickly drop it off there.

“Why didn’t she just ask me to come and pick it up? It wasn’t necessary for her to go to you guys?”

“I also thought she could just give it to you when you see each other again. But she insisted on just dropping it off there.”

“When we see each other again? Did she mention anything like that?”

“No, but I just assumed… Well, she did have your phone with her…”

Suddenly Mom went quiet, and her eyes and mouth shot open, with that same horrified look she gave me the first time she found me defiling her new Cosmo magazine.

“Michael! Your nose! What happened. Your beautiful, beautiful nose. My baby!”

“It’s not a big deal mom. I dove into the shallow end of the pool. It hurts, but it’s going to be ok.”

I wasn’t about to tell her that I got beat up at a biker bar, because I looked like a cross-dresser. It just raises too many questions… Like what’s a cross-dresser? Mom is so innocent and naïve. The kind that still thinks Lesbia is a country and spells out D-I-V-O-R-C-E like it’s a swearword.

“A pool? How awful. You look awful. Do you need me to take you to the doctor?” She asked studying my nose up close.

“I’m fine mom. Everything’s fine. Thanks for bringing my phone, but I really have to get ready now. I’ll see you later.”

I gave her a kiss on the cheek and closed the curtain, hoping she’d understand that she wasn’t going to be invited in. But Bernice (yes her name was Bernie, not Gina) had invited herself into my life.


I found Bernie’s number on my phone, she must have saved it. I made a call, I made her dinner that night. Since then I’ve made her laugh countless times, made her bed and years later we made the decision that it was time to end things. We stopped remembering what was good about us and started fighting about everything. Fond memories of a broken nose, became two broken people, who put white leather and fairy wings in a black bag to give away. In the same way we started stuffing who we once were into the bottom drawer. We used to love each others smells and quirks, but now we sit with them hanging in a room, stifling us and silencing the nice things we used to say to each other.

We said our final goodbye at a coffee shop, neutral territory.

No amount of talking could make me feel any better or worse at this point, so I told her that I’d get where I needed to go on my own.

“Will you get home ok?” I said, giving her a bit of an awkward hug.

“I’m always ok, Mike.” She said, and again I believed her.

I thanked her for everything, for coming to my rescue so many times. She said something about me actually being her hero, but before I could ask her to explain what she meant, she’d already moved on.

Speak Your Mind


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.