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“Hi Felicity Castagna here and I’m going to be reading to you from part of my book Small Indiscretions: Stories of Travel in Asia. This is called ‘Complete’.
Agnes flew to Phuket to meet Steve, who sometimes liked to call himself Sharon. It didn’t bother her—the name change—like it bothered some of their other friends from high school. What’s in a name? When she started taking French classes in high school she put an accent over the e in her name and insisted on being called On-Yez. Their friend Paul had called her On Ya! On Ya! until he turned red in the face.
Steve understood. He always understood things that others didn’t: the importance of standing close but not too close to someone else in a bar, or looking away when a person is embarrassing themselves. Agnes and Paul and Steve used to call themselves The Three Amigos but now that Paul has gotten himself married there is only Agnes and Steve, and the Two Amigos doesn’t sound so clever.
Agnes and Steve—they are the only single people left in their social group. Everyone else has grown up to be responsible folk, with responsible jobs and responsible investments in suburban property. Well, no—not really, but that’s the way Agnes likes to picture it, like a 1950s sitcom. At thirty-two she doesn’t think it’ll ever happen to her. She doesn’t care, or at least that’s what she tells everyone. She tries not to think about it very much.
Agnes is between jobs at the moment. She has been in a similar situation for the past few years, flying from one job to the other, moving from town to town. She is perpetually struck by the feeling that there is something missing from her life that she will find in some other time and space. She calls Steve occasionally to tell him of this sense of incompleteness. He is like her mother hen, strong but loveable. ‘You just need to stop thinking so much,’ he says. But that’s Steve. He has never in his life, to her knowledge, been struck with any kind of nervous condition. He just does without thinking and that’s why she loves to be around him.
Steve is working in Bangkok, helping to set up branches of the hotel that he manages in Sydney. Agnes wanted to go somewhere that was a little more ‘real’ than Phuket. She wanted to go to a tiny little beach on the edge of nowhere and eat fish that she’d caught out of the sea with her own bare hands.”
ABOUT FELICITY CASTAGNA:
Felicity Castagna teaches, writes, is actively involved in community arts and is currently a doctoral candidate at The University of Western Sydney. Her work has been produced for ABC Radio National and Triple J and is widely published in journals and anthologies. She has been the recipient of a Qantas Spirit of Youth Award and a Josephine Ulrick Literature Award and has received writing fellowships from the Varuna Writers’ Centre and Olvar Wood. Small Indiscretions: Stories of Travel in Asia is her first book.
Felicity has had two wonderful stays at Varuna. Her first stay was on a Varuna Fellowship and her second stay was on a Varuna Publisher’s Fellowship.
Small Indiscretions:Stories of Travel in Asia (Transit Lounge, 2011)
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