a short story, a description, a character

Through The Streets We Dance

This story is dedicated to my wild, wonderful, wacky friends for helping to create the crazy adventures this story is based upon.

Through the streets we dance.

Lila O’Rourke.


The train screeches to a stop at Footscray station.

“Come on, let’s find a carriage.” I say to my friends. I lead the way into the almost empty end carriage. We sit down in a sprawling heap over the seats and start talking really loudly. The carriage is soon filled with the sound of our laughter.

“Next stop –North Melbourne,” says the cool, mechanical voice. We ignore the advice and continue shrieking and yelling. Houses speed past our window. The mechanical voice comes over the loudspeaker again, and emits a high-pitched buzzing noise. Everybody laughs. The trains desperately need upgrading. We sit up and rub our eyes as the train slows outside Flinders Street Station. We skip through the crowded station, out onto the steps, under the clocks.

“Where to?” I ask.

“The hat shop!” someone calls.

We laugh and turn left to descend the steps into Melbourne City Hatters. Entering the shop, we dash in different directions, emerging with top hats, berets, sailor’s hats and other sorts.

My friend starts calling out to the employee.

“Hey, hey, you, can you do this? Can you, can you?” He picks up a top hat and twirls it onto his head. Laughing he does it again and a couple of us try to copy him.

The bald employee purses his lips.

“No, I’m not a circus freak,” says the employee. We all look at him then burst out laughing. Seriously, what the hell? He shakes his head and turns away from us. We leave the shop, still roaring with laughter.

“To Allan’s!” someone says. Everyone else nods in agreement.

We push through the crowd, stopping to admire the creations of a street busker. He has weaved grass into the shapes of animals and objects. We are pushed onwards by the masses. The guy looks disappointed that we didn’t buy anything. I don’t dwell on that thought.

Escaping the crowd and the heat we step into Allan’s music store. The place is dark and cool and massive. We browse through the rows of guitars, pausing occasionally to show an instrument to each other.

“Whoa, awesome!” I hear someone call from up ahead.

Racing to the dark doorway where they are standing, we peer into the dim room. Big hulking shapes crowd the space.

“Pianos!” I yell. I am first to descend the short flight of steps into the room filled with grand pianos. We each take a seat at a massive instrument. And then, the sounds of notes and melodies, mixed with songs and scales fill the air. Our fingers scurry over the keys, striking notes, gentling humming out a tune. The room echoes with the din.

A young employee walks in with a scowl on his face. The last few notes disappear into the air.

“Unless you are buying, could you please leave quietly.” The guy says. We get to our feet, heads bowed, and shuffle out the door. I catch sight of a price tag as I walk past.

“What the-?” I exclaim loudly. The employee gives me a reproachful look and I hurry after the others. Everyone is already immersed in conversation. Over the top of everyone else’s voices, I say, “Hey, everyone, guess how much those pianos were?”

Without waiting for an answer I yell, “Five hundred thousand!”

The response is satisfying. A resounding gasp passes around our group. I smile to myself.

We wander around aimlessly for a bit before someone suggests seeing a film. We head to Melbourne central. Now exhausted from the heat, we stumble inside the shopping centre, which is slightly cooler than outside. Descending the stairs, we purchase tickets to ‘Get Smart’. We are still 10 minutes early, but we spend that nicking lollies from the candy bar. We flow into the darkened theatre as the first preview starts showing. We creep up the stairs and sprawl across the back row, our legs dangling over the seats in front of us. There are only a few people in the cinema with us, so we don’t try and be too quiet. In fact, we are rather loud. An ad for an animated Star Wars movie comes on the screen. It looks so stupid. We laugh at the stupid slogan, “Coming To a Galaxy Near You!” it was not even that funny, but we are high on happiness so we don’t care. The film begins so we lower our voices. The movie is slowly slipping away from our attention as our voices get louder and louder. Eventually they are at normal level again, then the pass that and we are shouting at each other just so we can be heard, as we are all trying to talk at once. The other people in the theatre tell us to shut up. We ignore them. An employee ducks into the cinema just as popcorn goes flying everywhere, knocked over by someone. I shriek as we are showered in corn kernels. She looks up at us, and heads straight for the back row.
“Oops.” I hear someone say behind me. I have to agree with them. She doesn’t look happy.

The employee reaches us, and asks us to either be quiet or leave the cinema. We get up quite happily and make our way down the steps. We don’t notice the accusing glares of the other people as we skip to the exit. I twirl to the door, and bow my friends through with a laugh.

Outside the cinema, a cool evening breeze plays with our hair. We skip down the street and our hoods fly off. I leave mine off, but most of the others struggle to pull theirs back on.

Laughing down the road, we ignore the odd looks we are attracting from passers by. We don’t care.

Asking a nearby shopkeeper for the time, we all scurry back to the station as night descends on the city.

Spinning and twirling through the crowd, I look up for the stars. All I can see is the burning streetlights, silhouetted against the night sky, but that’s good enough for me.


1 Comment so far
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I want to cry. I miss these memories.

Comment by op

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