It’s a dull tickling, a silent jolt.Eyes closed the movie reel starts: memories made and those to come. Flicker-fest fast, surround sound now. He slumbers still, breath hot and wet. Hand reaches out in ink-deep dark. Nothing. Space. Alone for now, in waking dreams. Stuck between. Imagination obscene. Crazy-thoughts or everyday Joe? Sleep evades, restlessness pervades.
It’s a dull tickling, a silent jolt.
His eye had turned a pretty shade of purple, the stitches hiding in his eyebrow barely hidden by a large pair of aviator sunglasses. I sipped my coffee, turned back to the weekend paper and tried to bury the guilt I felt for his injuries.
The guy had run his hand across my back and bum as I walked through the crowded pub. FLB was following close behind me. I’m not sure if he noticed the guys hands or me trying to shake them. FLB turned to the guy “what do you think your doing?”. The guy back pedaled, stuttered something like a half-meant apology. FLB started a reply, words barely born into the space between them before he was thrown sideways. He regained his footing and slammed his fist into the guys face. Arms, legs tangled. Screaming, swearing, shouting. I grabed for something, someone. Pulled into the chaos I smashed my leg on the stool. Finally security got there and pulled everyone apart. Thats when I noticed his eye. Already swollen. Like a golf ball trying to emerge from his eyebrow. Red-wetness pouring down his face. I could’t decide if I wanted to cry or scream. I did neither.
I looked back up from the paper. “It’s not your fault” FLB says.
I love that he will never back down when he thinks someone has done something wrong, but I hate seeing him hurt. He says that if more people refused to put up with pigs that there would be far less of them. I think he’s right, but I wonder sometimes if it’s really worth it.
I’m getting married this year. Late November, by the seaside, in the warmth of the afternoon sun.
I was never one of those girls who daydreamed about her future wedding, to some future prince charming, in some future time. I often wondered if the whole ordeal was really for me. With two sisters, my father would often hint in the not-so-subtle way fathers often have, that he would be happy if I ran away to get married. It’s not that I didn’t believe in marriage but that I just felt like I was too independent, too much my own person to ever buy in to the whole thing.
But here I am. Bridal magazines piling up, photographers to meet and caterers to organise. It’s not me and yet it is. I’m so excited to be marrying FLB (future life bitch – our not-so-sweet alternative names for future husband and wife) but the whole exacerbated ordeal of getting hitched seems, I guess, old.
The original plan was something super simple. Relaxed. Fun. No bridal party, no three-hour photo session, no ‘seating plans’, no long-winded stuffy speeches and definitely no ‘first dance’. Just us, our friends and family, food, wine and of course, music. It was all so easy six months ago when Nov 08 seemed like light-years away. Now the “how’s the wedding planning” question gets thrown in at every social and family gathering and suddenly it just doesn’t seem so simple anymore. I can’t quite figure out how or why it suddenly got so complicated. Or perhaps it’s just that it was never simple in the first place.
FLB is all for running away. Thailand is the favourite suggestion (it’s where we got engaged). Somedays I think it is a great idea, after all getting married is really just about him and I. But then, I’m torn. What about sharing it all with our family and friends? What about dancing the night away with bare-feet, white dress hitched up, sand crunching on the wooden floorboards of my parents house? What about laughing with everyone about how FLB and I both looked terrified standing up there on the headland? What about my Grandma seeing her first grandchild get married? What about, what about all of those little things, those little moments, memories collectively made and jointly shared? What about them?
Tomorrow I’m going to Melbourne with my sisters and mum to look for wedding dresses. I don’t really know what I want, just that it needs to be versatile. Workable for an Australian beach or a Thai Island, just in case.
I’ve had this feeling I can’t shake for months now.
In fact it has been lingering for so long I cannot remember if ever there was a time when it didn’t pervade my happiness. Much has changed in the last year. Relationships have morphed and in some cases been severed. For those I have let go of I do not mourn. It is those that remain, often hanging by a thin thread of history, that I am sad for. In one hand I have a relationship so deep and richly fulfilling it is almost enough in itself. In the other, friendships slipping through my fingers while I try in desperation to hang on.
And I can’t see a way to have both hands full, each with a firm grip, never letting go. Somedays I tell myself it is just how life goes, friendships ebb and flow and others dry up completely. But mostly I can’t accept being a failure as a friend and that is the real feeling that pervades my thoughts.
I am trying to pick up the pieces I have let slip through but perhaps they are already broken, unable to be glued back in to the fabric of a crumbling friendship. Either way, I have to try.
It first happened a little over ten years ago.
The night air was cool as I walked down the broken concrete pathway to the hills hoist, washing basket piled high with damp clothes. As I pegged each sock, skirt or shirt to the thin wire line I looked up into the ink black sky pock-marked with stars. We had been learning about astrology at school. They said that the universe went on forever. Forever. Never ending, forever. How could all my world be such a tiny spec in the whole grand concept of the universe, this entity that went on forever. I stared out into the all-consuming blackness and I felt something drop. As if my heart had suddenly lost grip and free-fallen into my stomach. Perhaps it was a realisation of my own mortality, a sudden need for life purpose or even a resignation to the futility of life. At eleven years old, it terrified me.
In the twelve years since I have been learning to recognise it and then push it far away. I know the triggers now: a vivid night sky; a moment of happiness; talk of what happens after death; seeing pictures of the earth from space. However, recently I have been trying to learn to accept the drop, to understand it better. I have been letting it run its course. Instead of turning on the television or distracting my thoughts with a book I’m trying to just sit and listen to whatever it is that’s going on in my head.
This is really hard to explain and for most of my life I have been too afraid of talking about it because it means experiencing the feeling all over. Nevertheless, I wonder if anyone out there has a semblance of an understanding as to what I mean, or know the feeling themselves…..
We (the boy and I) can’t quite seem to figure out our recent desire to have a living breathing amalgamation of our genes keeping us up at night. Neither of us would be considered “kiddy” people. Until a few months ago I was terrified to just hold a baby. In fact, I’m only comfortable holding my friends seven-month old if I’m sitting on the ground and there is, therefore, no chance of me dropping him. We wouldn’t know the first thing about looking after a child. Sure between us and a few good Introductions to Parenting 1.0 we could figure it out, make-sure the nappy is on the right way round and strap the baby seat into the car, but it wouldn’t be easy.
So why is it that the B word just keeps coming up, from both sides? Perhaps it is the animal instinct in us that is triggered when we realise we have found a life partner, or maybe its just that when you love someone so much it seems like the natural next step.
One small word moved a nation.
And in doing so allowed it to move on.
Today the Australian government apologised unconditionally for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their parents, communities and country. Tears mixed with rain on peoples’ cheeks as they gathered across the nation, arm in arm, to hear that one tiny but immensely powerful word – sorry.