Caroline Sophie Dobraszczyk is a
lawyer practising in Sydney. She obtained her BA in 1987 and her
L.L.B. in 1989, both from the
of NSW. She also obtained
an L.L.M. in 2001 from the
of Sydney. Caroline is the
author of several legal articles and this is her first published work of
fiction. She is a former member of the Sydney Youth Orchestra, as a violinist,
and loves anything to do with the arts, travelling, reading and spending as much
time as possible with her friends and family, especially her beautiful niece,
She walked with a purpose and kept on going, strongly and confidently. Even
though it was difficult, it had, in the not too-distant past, been even more
difficult. For Lizzy, on this particular night, the walk down to the bus stop
this time, was good. Lizzy was feeling strong and happy as she pounded down the
pavement in her new semi-designer stilettos. Her hair had just been styled at
the hairdressers so the colour was that fabulous, perfect, shimmery golden
blonde that every blonde longed to have. She had always been slim and her gym
attendances contributed greatly to the overall look. The latest designer dress
made the picture complete. She was on her way to a friend’s drinks party and for
a change, was looking forward to it. Tonight she would know some of the people
and that was a plus – however, there would also be plenty of people there she
did not know, and that was also a plus. Lizzy had recently concluded that the
best combination for a party had to be that of people you knew, and those you
didn’t know. That way, if things became bad – as they inevitably did for Lizzy
given her poor social skills (a phrase used by many of Lizzy’s so-called
friends) – she could try and escape to the company of someone she knew. Someone
she could at least walk up to, even if they didn’t want to talk to her. But of
course she knew that going to a party where you didn’t know many people was a
good thing. Good and important for all the obvious and normal reasons –
especially for a single girl at that certain age. Tonight, Lizzy was even hoping
to meet people she did not know – but it hadn’t always been like that.
wait at the bus stop was longer than anticipated. She had timed everything
correctly but that of course did not mean that the public transport system did
the same. As she waited she began to listen into the conversation of three young
girls, dressed also for some serious party attendance. They talked about their
fabulous jobs – in journalism – their fabulous prospects and of course, their
fabulous boyfriends (who, tonight, Lizzy ascertained, were all at a football
game). There was so much talk of the boyfriends that it was clear to Lizzy that
the boys were the most important things in the girls’ young lives. They were so
full of hope and enthusiasm about everything, especially the boys, thought Lizzy.
I used to be like that. My, how disappointed they will be – or will they? They
may be the lucky ones. But she dare not linger on that one as she felt her
anxiety and all things bad start to creep up on her. Not tonight. She was going
to will herself a good night – no more bad ones.
Eventually she got
underway and soon found herself walking towards the very extraordinary apartment
of her friend, Janet Brown. On one hand the night was perfect – one of those
evenings that was still warm after a wonderful summer’s day in the most
beautiful city on earth – at least Lizzy thought so. On the other hand there was
still that anxiety and trepidation about going to a party. Maybe tonight will be
the night? Her friend Janet was a very successful human resources director for
one of those mega companies that everyone wanted to work for. She was also a
very successful hostess and her parties were well known among ‘that’ certain
group of people. Tonight would be no exception. Her apartment had everything it
should have in the latest designs and colours and the people around her were all
beautiful and interesting. The waiters were arranged and Janet herself had
prepared the most perfect little bits of food that anyone could have hoped for.
She was, of course, a very good cook. She was, of course, single.
Lizzy arrived and
immediately put on her party face and more importantly, her party attitude. Her
friend, Barbara Willow, another lawyer, was already holding court with the most
handsome man in the room so of course Lizzy joined them. After the usual
introductions Lizzy had ascertained that the handsome man was a successful
accountant who sounded far too sure of himself in that most arrogant of ways. He
talked about his work, the latest sports news and the headlining political story
of the day. She quickly became frustrated with his long and boring speeches so
she excused herself, claiming the need to attend to someone else.
She quickly found
another friend – Simon and his partner, Peter who were not like the apostles,
they were in fact two gay investment bankers, both of whom Lizzy really liked.
“So, how is
everything?” said the lovely and handsome Simon.
“Well, you know, the
same basically,” said Lizzy. “Work is fine, I’ve been very busy actually, you
She couldn’t think of
anything else to say so that had to be it. The hard core truth of the matter was
that in spite of being a highly intelligent and highly articulate person, when
it came to talking about herself, Lizzy was quite hopeless. The reason however
was painfully obvious to Lizzy – there just wasn’t much to say. She got up for
work, worked hard, was good at her job, exercised when she could and
occasionally saw friends and family. This she did within the routine of a
vicious circle, except that on the days that she didn’t work she did nothing,
being too tired to bother about anything.
“Well, you look
great,” said Simon. “Are you seeing anybody?”
The dreaded question
had finally arrived. “No unfortunately still looking,” she said in a voice that
tried ever so hard to be ever so matter of fact – but of course, wasn’t.
It was at this point
that she realised that she was probably one of the few single people in the
room. She looked around carefully to confirm this as Simon went on to discuss
his latest big deal (not breaching any confidentiality, of course) and then his
recent holiday and then the plans for the next, even more exotic, holiday. As
she scanned the room it was clear that most people were coupled and those that
weren’t looked like they were either trying to be coupled or else they looked
just as miserable as Lizzy felt. No prospects. She could tell by scanning a room
in less than five seconds. End of party and end of the night.
Was she too hasty?
Most of Lizzy’s friends thought so and they had given her countless lectures on
the topic. But she wasn’t going to think about that for the moment. There were
no prospects and that was that. She, however, continued to walk around the party
room and see if she could engage in more conversation. She eventually found
herself on the balcony, so she just stared out towards the vast blackness which
she knew was the water from the bay and beyond that, the ocean. The blackness
was however scattered with the lights from the city sprinkled on top of the
blackness like diamonds and other precious gems on a black velvet designer gown.
It was truly a beautiful view – her city, her view.
eventually found her way to Lizzy. They talked about the success of the party
and all the fabulous people that were in attendance. “Did you talk to Anthony,
my new friend? He is single, you should talk to him, and he is very nice. I am
sure he was interested in you. At least I think he said that ...” On and on she
went. Eventually Janet stopped talking about Anthony and started talking about
her plans for her next holiday, her next investment, her next wardrobe purchase.
It was time for Lizzy to go.
Lizzy made her way
home to her equally-swish inner city apartment and crawled into bed with the
same pains and bleakness that occupied her on so many other nights. And what
were her thoughts? After wishing so hard that the night would be a success and
after trying so hard to get herself in that party mood with the right look, the
right attitude and the right spirit, why did it go wrong? Why did it always go
so wrong? And why was it all so hopeless? But these were not the only thoughts
on her mind as she drifted off to sleep. No, tonight she also thought that other
thought – what was he doing?
No doubt he was
enjoying the night, in the company of many, after telling many happy tales from
the week. Maybe he was getting home from a party with his latest girlfriend? But
the most obvious cold, hard and blatant thought that occupied Lizzy was that he
was not with her. He was in that place she had recently named and actually
probably invented. Except that the place really did exist. He was in the land of