A Rose By
Any Other Name?

I shudder as the material falls over my head and slides down my torso; the hairs on my arms stand on end, as if trying to provide a buffer between my delicate skin and this alien material.

All the time I?m humming (through gritted teeth) the love ditty by 10 CC, ?The Things We Do For Love?, for once thankful that the verses of a song have long ago been drowned in the river of time and amber fluids.

I take a deep breath and approach the door to the bathroom, much like a cop would, back to the wall, eyes alert for any sudden approaches. I sneak a glance around the corner and recoil. The image in the mirror is not that of my own familiar.

I stumble up the hall, the criss-crossing action and occasional collision with a fast approaching and random wall a symptom of shock or the consumption of alcohol; I swear I cannot say.

There are voices, jovial but indistinguishable, coming from outside. I know these voices, they are the people I love most in the world, but I feel different, like some unnamed force or entity is trying to permeate my skin, invade my organs. I am seeing things differently.

All at once the milkiness of my skim latte transforms into the frothy head of an ice-cold beer; the elegant line of my imported Havana cigarettes metamorphose into the crude roll of a ?Winnie Blue?; the bulge of my kid-skin purse with its wads of fifties turns into a thin sliver of fake leather with pieces of shrapnel and a losing TAB ticket; suddenly I find the ?g?s? slipping from the end of my words, going, goin?, goooorrrn!

Then I realise that all this stereotyping is a bunch of crap and I?m just a plain old Rooster supporter wearing an Eels jersey.

Now, what fork in the road was it that I took to lead me to don another tribe?s colours, when I?m red, white and blue all the way through? Did the fork appear that night back on 24 June 2005 when we trudged through the torrential downpour to see the Chooks versus the Eels, only we were more aware of the other?s presence than with what was happening in the game itself? Was it back in December when I moved my whole life, including my daughter, all the way up the F3 to be with him? Was it the text message sent only days earlier promising him any fantasy his heart desires for his birthday, only to find out that this was it, the simple wearing of his team?s colours? Or was it more likely the dozen or so beers now coursing through my blood cells and pervading my logical brain, all the better to go through with this gesture of love and devotion?

No doubt all these factors have led to this moment, a moment that would only reach significance once I go public and so I make my way down to the pool area where my daughter and my lover are frolicking in the water.

?Oh mum, you?ve sold out.? My daughter spots me first. I recoil from her words before remembering that the little cretin hates football, so has no credibility in this instance.

?My God, but you are the sexiest creature that I have ever laid eyes on.? His mouth is still agape when I bring myself to look at him. Now I can see myself reflected in his eyes and I no longer feel like a traitor, a different person wearing another teams? colours. I?m simply a woman in love, who is loved in return.

A grin spreads across my face. ?Only for you Babe, no-one else in the world.?

Just as I plunge headfirst into the dark water a bright flash lights up the night for an instant. Damn it - photographic evidence! Won?t that be interesting to view through sober eyes! You?ll pay my child; upon the day of your Twenty-first Birthday, you?ll pay!

The moral to the story is this: that while you may love your club and your team, sometimes you make what sacrifices are necessary for the one you love. Especially when you offer him anything and this is all he asks for ? simple, lovely, simple man!

And besides, as the great Bard himself would say and I?m sure you?d all agree, a Rooster (supporter) by any other name is still a c--k!