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The year long summer

Words by Eloise Coomber

Image by Nichol Mak

At seventeen, I sweltered through my final year of high school, uniform perpetually clinging to my skin. How heavy and sweet the air was, as if I was breathing in black treacle. Six of us girls (sometimes more, sometimes less) burnt bright in this rightful period of acidic youth, wholly consumed by the idea that such a short stretch of time would make us into adults.

We sipped hurriedly from stained glasses and romanticised the single looks across a bursting room. Such notions of love and sisterhood can only be moulded within the bittersweetness of late evenings.

We listened to thrashing music, in awe of how the auditory malaise spilled into the ever quiet neighbourhood.

We sweated and swayed. Sighing from deep within our lungs, we held each other’s hands, and tipped our chins back in laughter. Brushed away burning tears.

Orange rind under fingernails, sea-salt slicked hair and smudged lipstick.

To have scraped knees, ash burns from pretending to smoke. To be gently bruised peaches.

To be six bodies in a double bed, squealing and perfumed. To be wrapped in white cotton and treacle.

To be forever half sunburnt.

These girls; they braided my hair, they called my name from further down the highway, they split open my empty nights, they kissed me on the cheek. They made themselves comfortable inside my first rolls of film, the packs of scratched negatives stay folded at the bottom of moving boxes, tucked within foreign books.

‘You’ll never catch me!’ / ‘It’ll never be the right time’ / ‘I hope this never ends’

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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