I had just turned and was being chased down the street by a man with an axe. It had been a calm, quiet evening before I ran screaming out of a rambling old terrace house and into the night. I wore ponytails and a short school uniform. From the street you could see into a large sunroom at the front of the house where a woman with wild hair, wrapped in a bathrobe was shouting at me. Her yelling broke the stillness of the evening. “You get back here Sunita Cameron you little devil!” the woman roared, “Don’t think you can get away from us! We’re your parents and no one else is gonna put up with you.”
I ran down the darkened street with the man behind me. He had a beer belly and wore a blue singlet. Lights in the neighbouring terraces switched on as we passed. The man hollered: “You should run girlie ‘cause when I get a hold of you, you’ll know about it all right!”
“Well you’ll never catch me ‘cause you’re too old and fat!”
After we’d nearly reached the end of the street there was the sound of a police siren. I looked back and both of us stopped. The man dropped the arm that held the axe and we turned and ran back to the terrace. We raced inside, closed the front door, and I leant against it, panting from the run. I couldn’t stop laughing.
The woman, Suzie, removed her wig and dressing gown, under which she was wearing a leopard skin top and black leggings. The man, Simon D pulled out the cushion that was his beer belly and took off his wig to reveal blonde spiky hair. He then closed the sun-room blinds and returned the axe to the belly of a plastic baby doll lying on the coffee table. There were fake roses spray-painted black around the doll along with a crucifix. In one corner of the room was a mannequin missing an arm, wearing a Greek fisherman’s hat and a studded belt. A folded over futon mattress served as a couch. There was an armchair and the sunroom housed a large table with a stereo and several crates of vinyl records.
“You’re pretty good at squealing at the top of your lungs Sunny” said Simon D as we all headed into the kitchen.
“Why thanks Si, you’re pretty good at roaring expletives yourself!” I said.
It wasn’t the home I escaped from. It was where I ended up after I left: in a share house in Womerah Avenue, Darlinghurst, just down the road from Sydney’s King’s Cross. There, in this run-down, five bedroom old place, pranks and mischief were the order of the day. I was wearing my real school uniform but it was as much of a costume as what the others had on. I was an impostor as a school girl. I hardly showed up and did very little actual school work.
“So now the show’s over, who wants a drink?” said Simon D.
He and his boyfriend Simon A (also our flatmate), loved drinking white wine, smoking French cigarettes and shopping. He took a cask of Riesling out of the fridge, while Suzie washed up a couple of glasses. She worked in the factory of a record company, had black spiky hair and wore psychedelic paisley shirts with loads of earrings. Not only did she have a killer wardrobe, she also had an impressive record collection.
“Should I put some music on?” I asked walking back into the sunroom.
“God yes,” said Suzie, “as long as it’s not something of Brad’s.” Brad, our other flatmate was a stylish hairdresser who wore a lot of eyeliner and had concrete blonde hair with pink tips. Every morning he’d dance around in the living room to Hayzee Fantayzee before he left for work.
I liked them all and rent was only thirty bucks a week, cheap at the time because instead of one large room I had two really small rooms. One had my single bed and my clothes rack in it. Its walls were plastered with band posters and a large Jolly Roger flag. There was a table full of toiletries and jewellery, a small stereo and two practice pads (for my attempts at learning the drums). The other room was where I was supposed to study for my Higher School Certificate. It had another single bed, a small desk and a bookshelf. Needless to say I didn’t spend much time in the study.
But then again I didn’t spend much time studying at my parent’s house either. They didn’t chase me down the street with an axe but we clashed over many things.