The Day Leonard’s Brain Stopped

In a far off country seven time zones to the west of Ballarat there is a blogger who goes by the name of Leonard Durso.  Now I haven’t asked his permission to write this post and he is far enough away that no harm can come so I will continue and anyway it is still only early morning in Turkey.

Leonard has the unhappy knack of tweaking my memory at completely inopportune moments. I think we might be similar in age and have a few memories that are similar. Let me give you an example. His latest post was a brief poem. I am going to quote it, again without asking permission.

my brain stopped

you walked
into my dream
in those 3 inch
red high heels
flashing that smile
that stunned
the world
and before I knew it
my brain stopped
and was not
upon waking
the rest of the day

That is it. No further comments. But why? I am now going to repost a story I wrote some years ago. Because it is an old story I will post it in blue.

The Ballet Dancer.

Allyson was a ballet student. She wore her hair black and tied back tight, rather Spanish in style and her clothes were white in contrast. She wore high-heeled shoes as was the fashion in those times – stilettos. She had a ballet dancer’s figure and I don’t know what she thought about. Back then I didn’t care.

I was studying law. Two nights a week Allyson had ballet classes across from the library in a small studio near the shot tower.

The central reading room of the State Library is quite spectacular and back then it was silent and people studied.

So twice a week I took my books and my pens and my notebook and studied in the library and waited to drive Allyson home. We lived close to each other, about 30 kilometres from the city.

I always chose the same desk as far from the door as possible. Around the circle of desks the floor was paved with bluestone flags.

And I would study. Criminal Law or Constitutional Law and I would wait for her.

At some indeterminate time she would finish her class and enter the library.

She would walk around the library on the bluestone paving and her heels would click, click, click on the floor and the sound would echo around the library and heads would lift and students would look as she passed – black hair tied back, white dress aswirl and click, click, click.

She would sit in a vacant chair and wait while I finished reading the case I was reading and then I would drive her home.

Allyson got a scholarship to go and study at the Royal Ballet School in London. The scholarship didn’t cover travel from Australia to London so she cadged a lift to Darwin and a boat to Singapore. There was a bus that went all the way, from Singapore to London, through Malaya, Thailand and India, to Nepal, Afghanistan and on through Europe to London.

And she fell in love with the boy who drove the Kathmandu to London leg, never went to Ballet School, but went back and forth – London to Nepal – Nepal to London. She stood at the front and talked all the way telling everyone on that bus everything she had learned about the view from Nepal to London. A guided tour.

I saw her once some years later in Beaumaris with a child. Her mother told me where she lived. I knocked and she opened the door enough for me to see it was her but she wasn’t interested in saying anything.

I was only Nineteen.

I missed the draft for Vietnam.

So now you can see why we, Leonard and I, paddle in each others ponds now and then. If you are interested in Chinese poetry go and have a look. Or Middle East poetry.

But if you need a really clever and fascinating book to read look for Leonard’s Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights. It is a contemporary reimagining of Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy, Romeo & Juliet, that takes place in Istanbul. With a cast of characters from across the globe, they struggle to find a way through the trials and tribulations of romantic involvement, hindered by their own unique cultural differences. 

It is one of my favourite books.

There you go.


8 thoughts on “The Day Leonard’s Brain Stopped

  1. I don’t know what to say except you have my belated permission to reprint it, especially since you also included that story of yours. Also my gratitude for your kind words. I’d say more but the cat has insisted on climbing up on the desk and clutching my left arm and looking at me while patiently waiting for me to go and give him his morning portion of wet food. Cats, you know, own the world. But thank you, John. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

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