But – because I was starting to wonder why I had a friend who showed no sign of liking me much – I played only Schoenberg’s Gurreleider and some Schnittke quartets on the drive. I’d occasionally glance at Mikey, and he seemed a little more unhappy every time. Ah, passive-aggressive me. Still, it kept me amused. And I like Schoenberg and Schnittke.
Anyway, the party was fun. There was a skinny girl there, wearing those pajamas that girls from mainland China sometimes wear, until they take a look at what the local Chinese girls are wearing. I didn’t notice her at first, but a group of us had gone out for an expedition to the playground in the park across the road. Most of them, inevitably, were stoned.
I wasn’t, so when we came to a sort of revolving cylinder thing for kids to run in, making the cylinder turn while they ran in place, I put my feet apart and braced my hands against the top (well, it was the top at that stage in its spin), and I managed to stay in place, revolving while the cylinder revolved. It was showing off, but I was curious to see if I could do it.
When I’d done one and a half revolutions, and I was upside down, supporting myself with my arms, a girl said, “Wow! Who is that?”
It was the Chinese girl, on her knees, crawling into the cylinder. From my place, upside down with my head close to floor level, I noted the front of her blouse falling up to expose her breasts, which – though still smallish – seemed to be bigger than a skinny girl should have.
So I tumbled down, and rolled until I was on my hands and knees facing her, my eyes level with her face rather than her nipples. I said, “Hi, I’m Jaime.”
She said, “Qing. My name’s Qing.”
“Ching? Oh, Qing. Nice to meet you.”
“Are you at uni here? I haven’t seen you before.”
“Nah.” I told her the town I lived in. “I just came for the party.”
“Ahh? Who do you know, here?”
“Well, not a soul, actually. I drove up with some guy who wanted a lift.”
“Oh? Then how -?”
But that was all she said. Some guy crash-tackled her from behind and dragged her out of the cylinder with his arms round her waist. So I figured that she had a boyfriend and that was him, and I went back to the house where the party was on.