It was one drink, served in a clay mug with tonic and a wedge of lime. I began to suspect that I had drunk more than intended when I was steering that terrible car Roland Irene around a roundabout with a new and unexpected level of difficulty. The very last thing I want to do is drive home from an ex-brothel drunk so I stopped the car, got out, locked the door and walked.
Spencer drank more gin than I thought was possible, he staggered happily around confessing to celebrity crushes, modes of dress, television watching and reading all the letters on my computer. This one stopped my heart, for three seconds, it started again like Jesus but still I needed more concentration than usual to roll a cigarette.
I'm not saying I have never ever in the history of my existence knowingly read something I shouldn't have, the backs of photographs from my parents first ever trip away together before they were married is one fine example, but generally I am the Super Guardian of People's Private Documents (SGPPD). You can leave your diary on my coffee table, I won't read it, leave your computer open on my lounge room floor, I won't do more than scroll through your music, leave your open mail at my door, I'll tidy it into a pile, confess your darkest hours and I might turn it into a short story but that's a different thing altogether.
My very first thought was "!", no words, all exclamation. Spencer blinked from the chair across the room in a drunken way. He asked "what was the book you were going to lend me?" and suddenly things seemed worse, much worse. Spencer had not only read the letters I'd sent but the letters I'd written and not sent, like the letter I'd written to him four years ago and decided not to send. He said if anything the letters made him like me more but I was still thinking "!".
I understand how something like this might happen. I loaned Spencer my old laptop Blueboy when my shiny new arctic white one made its debut appearance in The Peach. He's had Blueboy for over a year now and I don't mind at all, Blueboy is in safe hands. I understand how one idle day clicking through old files on an old computer might suddenly seem like an interesting way to spend a moment or four. I suspect most things left on Blueboy were written in a stupor, a rage or a moment where the even the vague possibility of happiness was hiding behind a large object and still Spencer invites me into his house, head and heart.
I'm still thinking "!", particulary about the ill-advised draft of a letter to Tim Winton, but I'm adding things in front of the "!" like friendship building its own forms over the years until even the idea of it is taller than me.