The Ballad of Robbie and Matilda

The Ballad of Robbie and Matilda

Their eyes met across the bar one night back in 2007, I think it was August. The rain was drizzling and cold, but with the fire crackling in the corner they were oblivious to the dreary conditions outside.

He was a charmer from the South Island just out of a long-term relationship with a local belle. She was an Aussie gem, the pride of the nation for what seems like centuries. The poor girl had just come out of a three-year thing with a Queenslander who was a bit rough around the edges, and never gave her the excitement she craved.

A rough and tumble lad with a glint in his eye

A rough and tumble lad with a glint in his eye

But this Kiwi promised all that and more. He had a glint in his eye and the moves to match, and she was instantly smitten. A few others had staked a claim to her heart, but these potential suitors didn’t come close to the South Island Lad. They started talking and it all went from there.

While there were a few teething problems at the start, their relationship slowly began to blossom. He introduced her to things she had never seen- a spontaneous approach to life, simply reacting to events as they happened with no forethought or structure. This allowed her to throw off the shackles and go for it, and while it took a bit of getting used to her morale had never been higher.

After a few years they had fallen into a nice routine, and started to take things to the next level. Their trip to the High Veldt of South Africa in 2010 was a real highlight, only to be quickly topped by a spring sojourn to Hong Kong where they broke new ground as a couple just when all looked lost. Things would never be the same, or so they thought.

They continued their travels to the Northern Hemisphere, and despite a few Rocky moments they returned with their relationship in great health. In 2011 this progress continued, and on a winter’s eve in Brisbane he again stole her heart with a gesture that swept her off her feet- finally giving her some silverware. It looked like they would be together forever, so the Kiwi Suitor decided to plan a trip to confirm their love forevermore- a two month journey around his homeland. It began well, and he showed her the sights and sounds of the Land of the Long White Cloud.

But it all began to sour when they ventured to Auckland. The first cracks appeared in the relationship, with the Kiwi lad embarrassed by an Irish upstart when everything was on the line. One wonders if he had planned the trip a little better then this may have been avoided. From that point the trip never returned to its joyous early days. There was a glimmer of hope in Wellington, but that was quickly extinguished the week after back in Auckland. His flamboyant showmanship had been replaced with a passive negativity, and the spontaneity that defined their early days was all but gone.

Finally, a token of their affection!

Finally, a token of their affection!

It looked like the end for the pair. New Zealand was meant to be the place their love would flourish, but instead it all went sour. Even though her friends were screaming at her to let him go, she decided to give him another chance. Maybe she was stupid, but she still remembered those wild days of 2010 and early 2011, and hoped that fire could be rekindled somehow.

Surely he could change back to the man she was beginning to fall in love with, the Kiwi lad who stole her heart back in 2007. But as 2012 went on it seemed like things just kept getting worse. Their midweek romantic getaway to Newcastle was a disaster. The malaise crept into every part of their relationship- they weren’t performing physically, for example. Back in 2010 they used to have sex four or five times every week, now they did it once or twice if they are lucky. Putting it bluntly they just didn’t score like they used to.

She began to feel trapped in the relationship. They made another trip North, but their first stop in France (the city of love, where it all clicked so well for them in 2010), was a disaster. But then there were some positive signs- a rare return to form on their trip to the British Isles in late 2012, where he threw off the shackles and showed a rare glimpse of his former self. But their groove never came back, their love remained stale. You had to wonder whether his heart was really in it at this point- the writing looked to be on the wall.

After much soul-searching in the Autumn of 2013, they decided to give it one last crack (though unbeknownst to him she was already evaluating potential suitors behind his back). They had one last throw of the dice- a three week-long tour of her homeland. The odds were stacked against them from the start, and in the end those three weeks mirrored their whole relationship. There were some good early signs, but one night in Sydney it all came apart.

The new man on the scene

The new man on the scene

When the end came, it came with a whimper. They both knew it was over. There were no fireworks, no long speeches, no heartfelt pleas for forgiveness. Maybe they were just never right for each other. Maybe it was the cultural gap, or the fact that they both wanted different things. There were no tears in the café on Monday morning. He had the eggs, she had the croissant. They split the bill. And they went their separate ways.

Who knows where he will go next. He may return to his homeland, although I would think a rebound is on the cards- maybe shacking up with some French floosie or Japanese geisha, looking for a quick thrill.

On the other hand, the grand old girl has wasted no time finding her next beau. A pudgy Queenslander had been eyeing her off for a while, and ultimately it was only a matter of time before she gave in to his charms. They are planning a trip back to New Zealand, hopefully to heal the wounds that were opened so wide in 2011.

On the surface they look like a perfect match- but deep down she knows not to get too invested. Putting it all on the line can end badly, with her thoughts forever turning back to that cold winter night back in 2007.


Can't write, can't play.

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