He wants to savor the moment, to draw it out. He knows what the package contains and is equal parts delighted and intimidated. He carefully unknots the bow, peels back the wrappings.
Speedos. Blue Speedos, Liberal Blue.
He pulls the curtains, strips off his suit and positions himself in front of the full-length mirror. Delicately he puts them on, taking his time, enjoying the moment. He looks at himself, front and back, up and down. He looks every bit the part. He could lead this country, he thinks, he could shepherd them through the fire. He notices he has an erection.
Later, when he goes to the shops, he’s still wearing them, under his trousers. He feels excited knowing they’re there, feeling the strain and closeness of their synthetic weave. He wants to go somewhere where he can show them off, a pool maybe. He makes a mental note to join the Capital Gym and Fitness Centre.
A week later he turns twenty-one. He goes home to Longman at his mother’s behest, “it’s been too long since I saw my little WyWy,” she’d said. He now finds her pet name for him embarrassingly patronising. He makes a mental note to discuss alternatives with her, but finds it difficult to broach the subject. The party is unremarkable. He finds he has little in common with his old friends now.
Conversation is awkward. His dad gets drunk and wants to explain again about how politics runs in the family, and about how he’d already had his day and how, if circumstances hadn’t conspired against him, Wyatt might not have been the first member from their family. He cuts his stay short and catches the earliest flight to Canberra.
The stewardess on his flight recognizes him, only can’t place from where. She says she thinks it’s television. He plays it coy, while wondering if she might be a Young Lib. She has a nice figure and big tits. He fantasizes about fucking her in the cleaner of the bathrooms.
Later he realizes that she’s also been flirting with a guy reading The Monthly, and goes off the idea.
His birthday is also celebrated in the houses of parliament. This isn’t normal, but, said Tony, it is warranted. The party is held in Function Room D or the Whitlam Room, which everyone calls The Sack. The party isn’t really swinging when Wyatt arrives. Julie is there, over by the punch bowl. He approaches her and when he says hello she jokes that it’s the only type of punch bowl she’d feel comfortable near. They laugh and he asks her where everyone is. She says, “they’ll get here baby, don’t you fret,” and slaps him on the arse.
Half an hour later, half an hour spent making horrifying small talk with Julie, who doesn’t move from the punch bowl, and finally Tony arrives, bringing with him most of the other invitees and a cavalcade of staffers and other nobodies.
Wyatt finally relaxes a little bit. He works the room, thanking everyone for making it out tonight, and fielding the perfunctory questions about how it feels to be twenty one, and what it’s like to have accomplished so much so young. He gets sick of these types of questions. He wishes people wouldn’t make such a fuss over his age.
He tries to talk to Tony, who briefly puts his arm around his neck and says how impressed he is with WyWy, and how he has big plans for him and his future. Wyatt wants to talk about these plans, but he can’t seem to get Tony’s full attention; he keeps glancing over at Peta, and when their eyes finally meet, he walks over to her, without so much as a word for Wyatt.
Feeling snubbed, Wyatt delivers his speech about the importance a diverse perspective to a thinning crowd, and ends up spending the rest of the evening talking to Philip about the way it was, back in the glory days.
Eventually it’s just he, Phillip, the Bishop girls and a couple of staffers left in The Sack. Phillip drunkenly invites him to “check out the arse on that waitress.” Wyatt doesn’t have the heart to tell Phillip that it’s a waiter and chooses this moment to take his leave. He pats Phil on the shoulder waves at the Bishops (they blow him kisses) and leaves.
At home he puts the Speedos on again and masturbates in the shower, so that the water will wash away his tears.