It’s a given that you’ll run into your ex on a bad day, so I’ve always tried to prepare myself for it by not looking shitty, ever. But the one day that I let my guard down, I ran into Bianca. I was wearing ill-fitting wire glasses from when I was nine years old which, with my patchy two week-old moustache, made me look like a child molester. I was also wearing $3 pink Crocs from Rivers for the first time outside the house, which I thought would be hilarious. Nope. I wasn’t sure if it was Bianca, because she was supposed to be living in Rose Bay in Sydney’s north; the girl before me was in the Woolworths in Bonnyrigg, in the asshole of Sydney’s south-west. I stood, deliberating, before I decided to pivot and pace the other way, but it was that one second of hesitation that did me in. “Stephen!” she called. I scowled. I turned around, smiling. “Bianca!”. “Nice glasses,” she said, and, unable to comment on my abhorrent footwear, added, “You look very…hipster.”
She was standing next to an olive-skinned giant with a dark mop of hair. I walked over to them, hugged Bianca, and had my hand crushed in the giant’s. His name was Paul. Bianca introduced me to Paul as “Stephen, my…friend,” which, I guess, was one way to put it. Paul yanked Bianca in close. I felt my throat dry up. I’d last seen them at Parklife, so we talked about that a little. When I mentioned that I thought that Kimbra looked gorgeous that day, Paul said, “Kimbra looked like she was a ten year-old girl in that dress. Do you like ten year-old girls? Is that what you go for?”. “No.” I responded quickly. “But you seem to like Kimbra so much, and you’re kind of dressed like a paedophile,” – fuck – “Are you sure you don’t like ten year-old girls?”. It was growing old. “I’m very sure that I don’t like little girls.”. Surely it would stop soon. “Okay…Ten year-olds?” he prodded. I sighed. Bianca’s eyes were wandering over the cosmetics aisle; she wasn’t paying any attention to the conversation going on, although I wished she had, because I fucking hated it.
So, while some stupid banter went on, I tried not to make it obvious that I was staring at Bianca’s face and wondering how I never noticed that Bianca looked like Emma Stone, that is, if aliens came to Earth and impregnated chickens and one of the hatchlings looked like Asian Emma Stone. Not completely unattractive, but unusual nevertheless. We’d drifted backwards as we talked and ended up at the shower and bath gels. I mentioned that I was looking for shower gel. Paul took this opportunity to glance in my basket, containing two cartons of Home Brand Orange Drink (which contains no oranges, and should be distinguished from orange juice, which actually must have some percentage of a real orange), a three-pack of the cheapest men’s briefs I could find, 500 cotton buds, and a bottle of charcoal capsules. He smirked, then said, “You’ll probably need this,” pointing to a bottle of Woolworths Select body wash with sea minerals. “That’s what I use in the shower. Except, you know, not from Woolworths.” Then he added, “Sea minerals”. “You use semen oils in the shower?” I replied. Bianca sniggered as Paul rolled his eyes. Bianca reached over and picked up a bottle of Johnson’s Kid’s Shower Gel. It was blueberry-scented. “Hey. Remember this? I really liked the strawberry one”. “Whaaaaat? No way,” Paul said, “Watermelon was my favourite”. Bianca laughed, her nose wrinkling like that of an intergalactic pig, “that’s gross!”. She noticed I wasn’t paying attention, so asked me, “Which one did you like most? Don’t say watermelon, like Paul!”
The conversation, by this point, was grating. Paul, an apparent demigod from Willoughby, had been an arrogant arse the whole way through, so I decided to end it all, and said, “I grew up poor, so we didn’t use any of those, even though I would have loved to be like all my friends. We used Home Brand No-Tears shampoo instead. For our bodies. We didn’t have hot water, either, so we sponge-bathed out of a plastic basin with a kettle”. I don’t think Paul was listening, but if he was, he wouldn’t have cared. Bianca, beaming, said, “Anyway, we don’t want to keep you, so we’re heading off…see you!”. They say that every break-up is a competition, and I shuffled away from that conflict the sore loser in pink Crocs. Fuck it. I had my Orange Drink.