A complex character

The Socialite

The middle child is a socialite, never happier than when she’s with people, holding court. She’s an extrovert. A drama queen. An intensely colourful character.

As a newborn baby she’d wake in the wee hours for a feed, attach herself to my breast and suck furiously for about five minutes then stop. She’d look up at me and smile and coo as if to say “I’m ready to play now”.

As a child she couldn’t sit still at the table. She’d sit sideways, one leg on the chair and one poised ready for flight, eating and talking at the same time.

But she’s also driven and focused. She goes to bed early. She manages her money carefully, is never late and keeps track of appointments and commitments in a meticulously maintained diary.

She’s part way through a couple of university degrees, but there’s a long summer break between semesters so we get to hang out a lot. Sometimes we have coffee at our favourite neighbourhood cafe. Today we had sushi.


She works two jobs. One as a swim coach, where she spends hours in the pool giving individual learn-to-swim lessons or running classes for small groups. She tells us all about “her children”. She loves singing Disney songs with them but she’s tough too and doesn’t indulge shirkers and whiners.

The other is her new job at a busy suburban gym. She does the early shift, leaving home at 4:30am to open the doors by five, turning on lights and music and setting up the cash register. She welcomes existing members and flogs packages to potential newbies. She flirts with the trainers.


And she’s a particularly happy kid this evening because, I think, she’s reconciling with her ex-boyfriend. Let’s call him The Musician. They’ve been friends for a few years, dating since the last year of school. They travelled around the US together last year, laughing and eating and making memories.

The breakup was messy. The Musician has had a year off uni and has struggled to find purpose and direction. He spent a lot of time boozing with his band buddies and The Socialite had no patience for that. So they split.

They both explored the social scene, then rounded on each other for the insult. They blocked each other on social media and exchanged hurtful words. Their mutual friends tiptoed around them.

Despite the drama The Socialite has had a fun summer, with days at the beach and weekends away and plenty of nights out with the girls. But she’s missed that boy.

She was editing her photos the other day and came across a snap of him in San Francisco. She sent it to him with a “sorry”, an olive branch. It was well received.

And this evening she visited him at his family home, returning bright eyed and bouncing with news that he’s enrolling in a university music program this year.

That is good news.

Angela Bensted Bw 1x1
Angela Bensted is a Brisbane-based freelance writer who likes to listen first and struggle with syntax later. She pitches stories to magazines and helps businesses produce compelling copy for print and online.
Connect with me: