“This year has been one of the best years I’ve ever had and I might win the uncoolest-person-of-the-year award by saying this, but if you weren’t my friends, I think I’d just go into some kind of coma.”
So I ring Justine Kalinsky and I say, “It’s Francesca Spinelli,” and she says, “Francesca, you’ve got to stop using last names. How are you doing?” and I say, “I feel like shit,” and I don’t know how it happens, but by eight o'clock that night I’m lying next to her on the couch with Siobhan and Tara and we’re eating junk food and watching a Keanu movie.
And I want to stay on that couch for the rest of my life.
Because my face looks just like theirs and I haven’t felt like anyone else since I was in Year Seven and Siobhan Sullivan and I did the Macarena in the foyer of the chapel and got lunchtime detention for a week.
“You can know someone all your life, like your parents or family, but I’ll tell you this, Ned. There’s an expression on their face, or a tone in their voice, or a way they walk, that you’ve never ever seen before. Like they’ve kept it hidden. Until their brother dies. Or their son. I remember those days and they were like these strangers and I wanted to say, Who are you people?”
Bit surprised because I always took you for a practical Times New Roman font girl, so when you sent me that heartfelt note using the GlooGun font, I said to myself, you never really know someone.
He might be an arrogant and introverted cold fish at times, but ask him the question in front of his macho engineering buddies, ‘Where do you see yourself in ten years time?’ and he doesn’t miss a beat. 'Wherever Frankie is.’
I’ll tell you what I remember, seeing as you asked. That after we made love that night in my parents’ house, you asked me to get out of bed, naked. Remember how I felt? I mean we had just had sex, so that’s as intimate as I thought it got, but it’s funny that I don’t remember that part as much as you making me stand in front of you with nothing on and we were freezing cold and I felt so exposed, like I felt you could see inside the guts of me. And remember, I cried? And you were like, Shh, shh, don’t. You’re beautiful, and I can’t believe I’m writing this now, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget your voice when you said that. I think I loved you at that moment.
But then Joe happened, and you didn’t ring or anything. You didn’t let me see you exposed from all your pain. You hid and you left me there, starkers, and for so long, for so, so long, I felt raw. Don’t ever ask anyone to do that again, Tom. Don’t ever ask them to bare their soul and then leave it. It’s fucking cruel and no matter how much pain you were in, you had no right. Because sometimes it makes me want to shudder, because sometimes I still think I’m there in my bedroom standing naked, except it’s like the whole world can see me, and they’re laughing like sometimes I remember people laughing at me behind my back in high school. And it makes me just want to cry with shame.
If you think I’ve forgotten anything about that night, you, most gorgeous girl, are laboring under great misapprehension. I remember everything. I remember your petticoat.. slip… whatever the hell it’s called, and how you let me take it off. You made me close my eyes and that was even more of a turn on.
You’ve always seen through me and that’s freaked me out. You saw the stuff I didn’t show other people. The part of me that sometimes can be a bully, because I come from a family of it. Learned behavior because I think my dad was taught by Bill and Bill was taught by his father and sometimes I feel it inside me as well, except we’re not actually comfortable with it, but it’s there and it frightens all of us. And that night you saw the fear. You made it go away for just one minute and then Joe happened and I couldn’t speak anymore and the numbness-please, God don’t ever let me feel that numbness again. I think I was scared that you wouldn’t be able to make the numbness go away and if my mum and dad and Anabel couldn’t, and then you couldn’t, I didn’t know whether I could handle that.
I know I stuffed up and I know your peacekeeper probably treated you like gold and I’ve treated you like crap but I want you to know that I remember the conversations we had in Year Twelve, when you told me you wanted to do a cultural studies degree because you believed in trade, not aid, and you believe that the only way was to ask the questions and listen to the needs of the people and I remember thinking that exact moment, I want to change the world with her. And I remember feeling that again in Georgie’s attic. That’s a powerful gift you have there Ms. Finke. To make the laziest guy around want to change the world with you. So next time you remember standing in your bedroom naked, know that it is the most amazing view from any angle, especially the one where we get to see inside.
I think that, to me [The Piper’s Son is] a story about forgiveness. Some people say to me that they would never forgive Tom for what he did. Other people say, ‘Well, he was grief stricken.’ But I still think that the way he acted was awful. There was a trust thing that happened there and especially coming from a character like Tara Finke, he’s not really a player and she’s not really a confidant person on so many different levels. But I think for me there was just, ultimately I know what he did was wrong but there was such a respect between them as people and I like the fact that he had to actually work instead of trying. Like I think in the past he had found it so easy to charm people but at this particular case because he didn’t have her there in front of him, he actually had to work at wooing her back. And I think he succeeds. And there are so many times when people around him don’t think he is going to succeed at that, there’s no way that she will forgive him and I like the fact that she does, and it’s not because she’s a pushover it’s because Tom has really worked at it that he has opened himself to her in the same that that she kind of opened herself to him. I suppose it’s about trust between people in the end. I would never know what kind of advice to give anyone, whether they were young or older or my age. I think relationships are so, so tricky and they’re so not black and white, there are blurry moments. The same could be said about Georgie and Sam. A lot of people have said to me there’s no way that Georgie should have ever forgiven Sam. I think, well, there are a lot of blurry moments in that relationship and I had to kind of give it the conclusion that I felt really worked for the story.
This year has been one of the best years I’ve ever had and I might win the uncoolest-person-of-the-year award by saying this, but if you weren’t my friends, I think I’d just go into some kind of coma.”
Once she made him watch Pride and Prejudice and for ages he would re-word Mr Bingley’s apology to Jane bennet, saying, ‘I’ve been an inexplicable fool’, for anything from losing his keys to burping out loud. Her reply to anything she wanted to do was Jane Bennet’s response to Bingley’s marriage proposal, 'A thousand times yes’.
Another of my least favourite stereotypes is “feisty”. I love a fierce character and Tara Finke has been my fiercest, but I try to make sure that fierceness isn’t just about big speeches and a guy saying, “you look so beautiful when you’re angry”. For me, I have to be prepared to have my characters be people who are quite unlikeable at times, and who look pretty awful when they’re angry.