Monday, April 29, 2013

First Word: Charmaine Pauls: Leather


Leather and studs. Abs to die for under a stretch T-shirt and metal-pointed boots. The smell of his tousled jacket and the creaking sound it made under the strain of his sculptured arms when he leaned over the bar for his tequila takes me back to 1990.
            Fresh from university, trying to appear worldly with an imitation suede jacket, I walk to that shady bar – the one I know I shouldn’t enter – and see him – the one I shouldn’t notice. Long leather-clad legs swing from his Harley as his black eyes dart from my pink top to my Lady Di shoes. The dare is there in his gaze, but my fluttering heart skips away and my synthetic jacket fails me. The sound of his voice becomes some alternative band whose name I can’t remember. The smell of the smoky interior of a forbidden club becomes him. And just like that, despite everything my mother has always told me, I become addicted to leather.

            He’s a bad boy. I don’t need my mother to know that good girls don’t end up with the bad guys. They watch them from over their non-alcoholic cocktails, second-hand umbrellas twisting between their fingers as if they wished it to be fate. They eat their recycled cherries, spectators on the sideline, and go back to wearing responsible, fake leather.