His voice drops to a whisper and she feels his warm breath
against her ear. His words are difficult to hear; they pass from his lips
through wires and components, over miles of cable, crossing continents and vast
oceans. Still, she feels his breath on her skin as surely as if he were lying
beside her. She knows that he can feel her skin prickle in anticipation of his
touch. Some day she will feel his hands on her body; she will taste his lips
and know what it is to be close to him. Until then, she will dream.
Whilst I waited for my coffee to be ready, I
sat down at my piano. I canít really play it but I can manage a couple of
vaguely recognisable tunes. At five am on January 2nd, 2012 I sat at my piano,
in my pajamas, with Vegemite on toast and I played ďHow I Made My MillionsĒ,
badly. I thought about my neighbours. Then I thought, ďToday, I can do whatever
the fuck I wantĒ. I played my piano as the sun came up and I ate my toast. Then
I sat down in my room to write about it.
It was a day of Radiohead concerts, hanging out, coffee,
minimal food (which is good because I have eaten way too much lately and itís
starting to show) and several cigarettes. Yes, I caved and bought cigarettes.
Itís my week of freedom; Iíll do whatever the fuck I want. A day that started
with grocery shopping at six am, and finished with a cigarette on the front
porch at two. It was a day spent with the one person in the world I can be
myself with and do what I want. It was, in many ways, the perfect day.
The television plays to an empty living room. Even though
she is alone, she stays mostly in her room. This house is not her home anymore; it
is too open. Too social. Too something. In her room she surrounds herself with
her things; her books, her music, her drawings, her guitars .. her life. She is
wrapped in her comforting, familiar cocoon, made of all the things that are
important to her. There is no television in here. She doesnít need it, nor is
there room. She has music. She has her connection to the world. She needs
The sole of my foot keeps itching. It doesnít seem to matter
how many times I rub it against the frame of my bed, it resists all attempts to
relieve it. I reach down and drag my nails against my ankle which has now
chosen to join the party. No sooner have I dispelled that annoyance .. my face
decides it is feeling left out. I have to take off my glasses to rub my right
cheek, but even as I do, my left starts to tingle. More fingernails against
skin and now it is the back of my thigh.
This is ridiculous; how can I be so itchy? Whatís going on
with my skin that no sooner have I dealt with one irritation that another
chimes in to take its place? Perhaps I have some kind of bugs or something. I
have often imagined great herds of microscopic beasts, galloping across the
vast landscape of my epidermis. It seems quite feasible to me that a migration
of that magnitude could be responsible for the itches and annoyances we
experience. There must be several herds traversing the plains and mountains of
me, and they appear to be working in unison.
On the other side of the world he sleeps. What is he dreaming
of? Is it kangaroo suits, boomerangs and crazy kitten smiles? Is he dreaming of
that first touch; the moment when she is finally really-real in his arms? Is he
thinking of her at all? She sits, dreaming her dreams and wondering if he still
feels the way he once did. If he still wants those things so much that it hurts
him to think of them, like she does. If he would still give everything he owned
for one night with her, like he said he would.
What do you do when youíre feeling low and you need a bit of
a pick-me-up? Every now and again the crap gets just a bit too crappy. When that
happens, I like to put on my skinny pants. Thatís right, my pants for the
skinnier version of me in which I (happily) currently reside. Now, I am not a
thin person and I havenít been one since I was about fifteen years old. I am
rounded, and rounded I shall always be, but .. I am today significantly less of
a heifer than I was say two years ago.
It is amazing, the difference between one person in a house
and three. Alone for a little over a week, there was no mess to clean. There
was little rubbish to worry about; no clutter on the counter and no dishes on
the sink. The silence was broken periodically by the whir of the refrigerator
or the cycling of the coffee machine. The television played quietly to an empty
living room and the world stayed away, outside the locked doors and the closed
blinds. Within hours of their return, the garbage bin was full and the counter
was a mess.†
She sits, staring out the window. The sun is setting and
everything is quiet and still. She is alone, but in her head he is with her. In
her head he is always with her. She talks to him; sharing her thoughts, her
feelings, her questions. She knows that it doesnít matter what she says; he is
always willing to listen. He makes her feel as though she has something of
value to contribute; as though her words have weight and meaning. Even when he
is not here, he makes her feel special. Why canít it always be like this?
They came home today. They were earlier than I had expected,
and caught me off guard. I had hoped for longer, as I always do. I am never
ready to let you go. It is never enough. My world was quiet and calm for more
than a week. There was no mess to clean, no arguments to avoid. There were no
eggshells to walk on. I wandered, I meandered, I tinkered. The space was mine
and mine alone, and I shared it with you. When you were not here, I simply
imagined that you were. Now we must go back.
I spent a week and a half exclusively with the one I love. It
wasnít all roses, but then when is it ever the case? There were moments of pure
joy, and there were agonised stretches of sadness. There was fear, almost to
the point of panic, and relief so profound I have rarely known itís like
before. I didnít get to see him, as I had hoped to, and there wasnít as much
laughter as once there was. We have become more serious, and in some ways, more
guarded. It worries me. Once we were naked with each other.
One hundred words I have been neglecting. I have had no
excuse, and no lack of things to fill the page. I just havenít bothered. A week
and a half spent with the one who makes me smile, even though there were times
when I cried. A week and a half of an empty house and doing whatever I wanted,
whenever I wanted was pretty damned wonderful. The only problem with being
granted such unexpected time is that eventually you have to go back to what you
had before. Having that time makes reality so much more difficult to endure.
Sometimes she looks at him and feels guilt. She knows that
he is hurting. She knows that he is angry and frustrated; that he doesnít
understand where things went wrong and he just wants their old life back. She thinks
that sometimes he understands how his choices brought changes that are
irreversible, and caused damage which is unfixable, but other times he seems
oblivious to his role. Sometimes she wants to rage at him, to make him
understand the ways he has hurt her. Other times she wants to say she is sorry
for the ways she has hurt him.
Itís over. Lazy days spent in pajamas, with nothing to do
and nowhere to be. Early morning bedtimes and afternoon rising. Grudgingly I
shall face the teeth-gnashing trill of my alarm and the soul-crushing monotony
of the work day. I will venture forth into the untold horrors of the passive-aggressive,
the overly childlike and mind-numbingly boring chatter of the cattle, and the
pointless trudging through hours that could be far better spent in my pajamas Ė
doing nothing .. and for what? Another handful of peanuts in my pocket? Another
day wasted wallowing in misery? There must be more than this.
Eight thirty in the morning is an obscene time to rise when
youíve only been asleep for four hours. I suppose it is my fault for allowing
myself the luxury of no routine, or rather the late to bed, late to rise
routine that I got into over my break from the coal mine. I really didnít want
to go back today, and to make things worse, everyone there was so god damned
chipper! Seriously people, whatís to be happy about? The sun is shining, thereís
a bucket load of nothing to do and weíre locking in this miserable building.
Two years ago tracksuit pants and oversized (stretched beyond
all semblance of shape or style) t-shirts were what passed for clothing in my
shameful wardrobe. This was not because I was so huge that the only thing I
could wear without danger of splitting a seam was a bed sheet, no not at all. Have
you ever seen clothing for ďthe full-figured womanĒ? Seriously, grab your
sunglasses and a bucket and treat yourself. Itís a real adventure. I donít care
how many bright orange, sequin-studded flowers you plaster all over that
moo-moo, Mr. Kmart designer, itís still a bloody moo-moo!
So, skinny pants are a wonderful thing. Mine are
embarrassingly eighties-esque and do you know why? Exactly Ė the last time I
could sit down in them was in the early nineties when I was about sixteen years
old. (I know I said eighties but we were never a family of means and I had to
wait until my older cousin grew out of her cool jeans and passed them down to
me.) So theyíre sitting in my closet and every now and then, when Iím feeling a
little down in the dumps, I drag them out and hoist them on.†
And so it is; my boy has officially exceeded my academic
accomplishments and I couldnít be more proud. Today I took him to enrol at the
institute of his choice. Just over a month from now he will be traversing the
public transport system and making his own way out into his new world. Am I
nervous? Sure. Am I concerned for his safety and for his success? Absolutely.
Does part of me yearn for the simpler and safer days of his youth? Yes. No
doubt. Still, I am proud and I am trying to be brave. Congratulations, my son.
Iím playing catch up again; my most humble apologies, 100
words. I do have a pretty good excuse, but excuses will not do. Events to which
I could refer should have afforded me great writing opportunities, but I have
been so caught up that I have not taken the time to put fingertips to keys. I
have been busy, but when are we not? There is always something to sort out and
something to put to bed. There are quite a few things that fall into that
category for me at the moment. I really need to make a list.†
I often wonder what it would be like to live in equal
partnership with someone who loves me. Not loves me because I am here and I have
always been here and they have no idea how things would work if I wasnít. Not
because I have pretty hair. No, someone who loves the me I am, not the me they
want me to be. Who values that I am who I am regardless of what they might want
me to be. Who just wants me to be myself, no matter what. I often wonder what
it would be like.†
Text messages at 12:30 am are not cool. What are you
thinking? Firstly, after so long what makes you think that is a good idea? Secondly,
when the level of comfort is so low that you cannot ask me that question to my
face when I am sitting mere feet from you, what on earth makes you think that
youíre going to get anywhere with a fucking text message from the next room
after you go to bed? You know what the answer will be. The same as it always
is. So .. why do you do this to us?
How are we almost at the end of January already? I had plans
for the first half of this year. If I am to take the trip to France in June,
and letís face it; itís almost a certainty now despite my deliberate ambiguity,
then I want to look a little svelter than I do now. I planned to get off my ass
some and drop those stubborn few that Iíd like to be rid of. I was going to do
the pushup/sit up thing and work on the wobbles. Itís the end of January
already. Iíve lost a month.
I want a cigarette. I know that theyíre not good for me and
I know that I have sort of been given up smoking now for more than two years,
but I really want a cigarette. Lately I have been having a really hard time
ignoring that filthy siren song. Tonight, I really want one, bad. Iím sitting
here at almost two am, plotting how to get to the store tomorrow without anyone
knowing I am going to buy cigarettes. I have to hide so much in my life. Itís
exhausting. I just want a god damned mother fucking cigarette!
One day I will poke your freckles, kiss your cheek and tell
you I love you in our overgrown back yard. There will be a dog that you'll love
and I'll pretend not to, and a cat who'll snub me in favour of you, even though
I saved it from certain death. The house will be comfortably lived in. The
garden will be shady and rambling, with a cobblestone path edged in soft moss. The
lawn will be strewn with daisies and we will sit together with our guitars
under a big, old willow tree, strumming and wearing daisy chains.
Again I am waiting; sitting alone in the middle of the
night, waiting for you. I donít know what it is that seems to keep you from me
these days. It used to be that a night missed was rare; an oddity in a pattern
so regular I could almost count on it but now .. now the reverse is true. Now
if you wake to be with me at night I am surprised. Now by the time you do wake I am already struggling to keep from falling asleep. Sometimes it is so
difficult to keep living this way.
One day I will wake up looking at your face, without the
assistance of wires and pixels. I will open my eyes and see you lying right
there in front of me, with the pillow folded over against your cheek and
probably snoring. I will watch your chest rise and fall and feel the warmth
radiating from your body. I will reach out and brush my fingers against your cheek,
tracing over your freckles and watching you smile in your sleep because you
know that it is only me and you are safe. One day is what keeps me going.
I never thought that I would be in their audience, let alone
in an ancient Roman amphitheatre on the other side of the world. I never
imagined I would be there, receiving their brilliance like a gift, for that is
what it will be to the likes of me. To stand in the open air, surrounded by others
who appreciate what it is to be there the same way that I do, or at least to
some degree. To be swept away by the music, the words, the meaning. I almost
cannot believe that I have been given this opportunity.†
And so it was, January, the first month of 2012. I still
have no idea how we could be in 2012. It doesn't seem so long ago I said to my
friend (who hasn't been my friend for over ten years now) "Do you know; we
will be 26 in the year 2000?", and that seemed so
preposterously†unbelievable. I am 38 years old. My son is an adult and
things are vastly different than they were twelve years ago. It scares me how
quickly those years have disappeared into the nothingness. How quickly will the
next twelve will go?