Monday, July 20, 2009

A Story

I wanted to tell a story. And it's my symbol. And I know it won't keep me quit - only dedication and discipline over the following days, months, and years can do that - but it creates momentum. And that's what I need right now. Momentum. For tomorrow, my sixty days.

*

It was Summertime in 1993. The gum trees in the bushland near the truck stop crackled. Under her feet, the ground was dry and hard, and the young girl squinted around the sun's white glare. The other passengers scattered around her, waiting with their dim-sims and cans of coke. She took a sandwich out of her bag.

It was her first journey away from home. This wasn't like a school camp or a slumber party. This was ten hours on a bus, all by herself. She had never been alone like this. It melted into her like chocolate - deliciously, deleriously.

On her tinny walkman, The Concert in Central Park played. The track was America. She'd found it in a big box of old tapes in her parents' cupboard. They were her discovery, Simon and Garfunkel. Just for her. And as she sat cross-legged at the wooden picnic table smoking her cigarette, she imagined she was a character in a movie, some sad, sorrowful runaway leaving for the big city: It took me four days to hitchhike for Saginaw.

As Garfunkel's voice rose to crescendo, the girl wrapped her arms around herself. The world was misty in the brightness of the day.

It was a perfect moment.

*

Years passed - five, ten, fifteen. The young girl was now a woman of thirty-one.

On this particular day, the woman was sitting in a stadium in the city of Melbourne. Her younger sister sat beside her, heavily pregnant with her second child, a daughter.

The woman felt nostalgic. She'd been waiting a long time to see Simon and Garfunkel, and though they were old men now, she knew that their voices on this night would send all her past selves rolling back to her like the Old Friends in the song: the girl at a lonely truck stop, the young poet sitting on the grubby doorstep of her city flat, the newlywed puffing dim circles of cigarette smoke into the night air.

She waited for them. And waited.

As America played, her sister reached across to the woman and grabbed her hand. Inside, the baby girl kicked and rolled to the music. And there the woman sat, both hands clasped over her sister's swollen belly.

Toss me a cigarette, I think there's one in my raincoat.
We smoked the last one an hour ago.
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine,
And the moon rose over an open field.

At that moment the woman realised something. Some things are not about the past. They are about the future.

And Art Gunfunkel sang, his voice rising to crescendo:

We've all come to look
for America.

*

Tomorrow my sister is going to be induced.

Baby Milly and I will be beginning our new lives. Together.

3 comments:

  1. Wow. Lovely.

    Baby Milly is fortunate to be have such a strong Auntie.

    In the spirit of Simon and Garfunkel, I'll remind you there are 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (cigs.)
    Hop on the bus, gus
    You don't need to discuss much
    Just drop off the key, lee
    And get yourself free.

    I love that line- get yourself free.

    Be well.

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