OPINION: Stephen Braunias takes a look at the secret diary of Tariana Turia in May Contain Facts.
I shall always remember the first time I met John. It was thrilling. He made me feel 50 shades of beige.
I was just a young woman who had a dream. I dreamed of betraying everything I believed in for the sake of power. As I set off from my basement flat to his penthouse apartment, little was I to know that he would one day make all my dreams come true.
I wore a beret at a jaunty angle, a dress, a cardigan, a shawl, a jersey, and an overcoat, but little else.
I was waiting in the servants' quarters when a tall, expensively dressed man walked in, smiling and waving. For me, it was compromise at first sight.
But what did he feel? There have been times when I've wondered whether he felt anything. He can be so cruel, almost abusive, and sometimes very nearly patronising.
His first words were, "Would you like a blanket?"
I floated in the laser surgery of his eyes. "Yes," I croaked. "Yes, yes, yes! O yes!"
That first meeting came flooding back this morning when I waited in the servants' quarters to see him.
I was no longer a young woman, but I was still beige.
And I had my pride. I carried it in a matchbox. I rattled it as I waited. The receptionist scowled, and said, "Shhh!" I respected her request. I didn't really want to make too much of a fuss.
I'd come to see him because of his comments yesterday about the Waitangi Tribunal. They were hurtful, but nothing I couldn't live with; I just needed him to say he was a little bit sorry.
The hours ticked by. It got dark. I cleared my throat, and said to the receptionist, "I had an appointment nine hours ago. Do you think he'll see me soon?"
"No," she said. "Go away."
I respected her advice, but said I only needed a few minutes with him. "He's not here," she said. "He's selling water door to door."
Attended the Waitangi Tribunal hearing into state asset sales at the Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt, and wore a tino rangatiratanga beret at a jaunty angle. That'll stir a memory! He'll be sure to sit up and take notice!
He sat up and took notice! A reporter asked him when he was going to meet the Maori Party to discuss his insult to the Waitangi Tribunal, and he said, "Obviously we're more than happy to talk to them. My phone is always on. Always happy to receive a call from them."
Gave him a call. His phone was off. Left a message. Didn't hear back from him.
I glance up at him. He looks so cool and calm. He leans down and kisses me. He smiles and waves, and grabs my shoulders . . . "Wake up, woman," says Pita.
"Let go of my shoulders," I object.
"You were making noises," he frowns.
"What kind of noises?" I whisper.
"You know what kind of noises," he says, snapping and frowning at the same time.
He shifts his buttocks on the cold wooden bench, and goes back to his crossword. I adjust my blanket, and go back to my book by E L James.
I look up and catch the receptionist's eye. She says, "I'm sure he'll see you soon. You don't mind waiting all weekend, do you?"
» Stephen Braunias is an award-winning writer and author of four books.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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