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Arts Centre

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Karen Lethlean

Finally, we turned into the parking area beside the Fremantle Arts Centre. Ominous with high brown-grey stone walls yet a vast complex basking in the sun. Flame tree leaves that flickered seemed to have grey edges.

‘Can I use the rear-view mirror to put on some lipstick?’

‘You hardly need it.’

‘Oh sure! I look terrible.’ Red blotches that resulted from this morning’s exercise glared back in my reflection. ‘I wish I’d brought more make up.’

Pouted and painted my lips a shade of pink that I suspect match my labia.

‘You look fine. Just let the natural you shine through.’

I glanced over incredulous, surely he can’t really believe that? When John called to make these arrangements, ‘Meet you on Sunday, we’ll go to that book launch…’ Tempting, if only in passing, to turn him down.

‘Oh John, that is Terry’s Sunday 90 minute aerobics class, it’s my workout religion.’

‘I’ll meet you afterwards,’ he insisted.

I should have anticipated shucking out of my leotard, trying to change amid a haze of deodorants and hair products, with no room at Health Club sauna-misted mirrors. And before that his face pressed up against the windows, a stupid grin, and my face responding by flushing even redder.

The Arts Centre, while now adorned with nooks of coffee tables even though they looked crayon on water-colored around the edges, was still foreboding. As if all those years as a lunatic asylum…(can I even say that anymore?) funny farm, a crazy house, psych ward… housing residents who might now be classified as bi-polar, PTS, OCD or merely suffering from PMT or menopause. Mark those files; release into the community.  We walked through a cloister typical of housing for the criminally or otherwise insane, that would have made a secure yard. These same buildings endured many years of use for things like an infectious disease hospital, and still retained an aura of the sinister.

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