Striding South Wollongong street, boot heels to bricks, weaving past people and poles with umbrella underneath the grey. I slightly pull-back; a protective instinct in the micro-seconds of passing a nuggety man.  My usual hormonal anger swirls at having to deal with the Game of if I will be looked at as Woman. Which I probably exaggerate. He breaks through:

“You’re beautiful.”

I shock-laugh, “Tha-nks”.

Broke through PMS clouds, dark density of internal weather, with honesty verbalised.

My retrospective walking notes the microtones of his accent, genes, dress, perhaps working class, perhaps he came out of the fighting gym that I hustle by, perhaps a suited professional Man wouldn’t say that.

It can be the breakthrough that Men use, salesmen-like, to pounce.

But the surprise wakes me.

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