Anastasia wakes up in a foreign city without ever having fallen asleep


All night, Anastasia dreams about op shopping. But they aren’t really dreams, they’re
daydreams. But it isn’t the day, it’s night. It’s night and she’s awake and she’s dreaming. They
aren’t really op shops either, they’re vintage stores. They’re vintage stores that Anastasia has
never been to but imagines she might visit the next day, in this foreign city. And now it’s the next
day and she is already exhausted from a whole night of dreaming without sleeping.

Anastasia rubs her lips against her boyfriend’s rough jaw but he doesn’t realise, because he’s
sleeping. She gets out of bed and closes the door to the kitchenette, so he can’t hear the jug
boiling. She rips open four sachets of instant coffee and tips them one by one into her clean
white mug until they form a little mound of instant dirt. She tugs open the sliding door to the
balcony. The sound of rubber squeaking reminds her of Australia. When she looks out at the
foreign city it reminds her of Sydney, because that’s the only other foreign city she’s ever been.
She sits on the balcony and drinks her instant dirt. If this was a movie she would have a
cigarette, but this isn’t a movie and Anastasia only smokes at parties. The air smells like global
warming. She can see into a lot of apartment windows with no people inside. There are a lot of
fold out indoor clothes-lines with black t shirts drying on them. There are a lot of tvs. One of the
tvs is playing a repeat of ‘The Great British Bake-Off’. Whoever’s watching it is hidden from
Anastasia’s view. Anastasia likes the ‘The Great British Bake-Off’. She considers going inside
and flicking through the channels until she can watch it too; up close and with sound. Her coffee
is getting down to the gritty bits. A woman steps into her apartment living room wearing white
undies and a baby pink singlet. Anastasia regrets her big black jacket. The woman disappears,
then reappears a few minutes later with a bowl of cereal. She spoons it into her mouth without
taking her eyes off the bake-off. Anastasia thinks she might be in love with her. Anastasia thinks
she might be in love with this foreign city. Anastasia thinks she is the loneliest person in the


Joy Holley has just completed her degree in English, Philosophy and Creative Writing at Victoria University. Her writing has appeared in Landfall, Starling, The Spinoff, brief, Mayhem and Headland.