fiction, mental health, Sex, thoughts, writing

some small and unfinished things from my 2015 journals

Flicking through the pages of my 2015 journals, I found these tiny bits of somethings that never went anywhere. Now they are going here because they seemed to want a home. They are completely and utterly unconnected from each other.

1/ (a short thought on blindness) (connected to nothing)

And sometimes she wondered how the world would be if all who moved through it were blind
If we groped our way along walls, hands seeking doorways

She thought how perfume might take the place of visual vanities
How subtly a man might scent each fingertip, showing off his skills at blending and complementing by running them under the nose of his mate

And sometimes she wondered if we would care more or less for our planet if we couldn’t see it
Is its visual beauty its saving grace or do our eyes, ranging far ahead of our feet, make us want?
Would we be more gentle if everything we experienced had to be touched, to be pressed against, licked, sniffed, listened to?

Sometimes she wondered these things
Sometimes she shut her eyes on quiet streets and walked in a straight line for as long as she dared
But it didn’t make her feel more connected to anything but herself and her fear and the sound of her feet


Photo by Sarah Walker, of course.

2/ (unfinished) (a character sketch)

She’s called ‘Stephanie’ but hates it.

She’s short but not short enough to be mistaken for a younger child, which bores her as she hates being ten, being the eldest, being told to ‘grow up’.

Stephanie thinks of frogs that bury themselves in mud for six years. She wishes she could do that and emerge at the end of her adolescence fully formed. A grown up.

3/ (an old memory) (about no one you know)

“What do you find most attractive about me? Physically. You’re not allowed to say ‘my brain’.”

We’re in his bed. Possibly naked. I don’t remember. More likely he is in his onesie and I’m in some gigantic t-shirt and tracksuit pants he has lent me.

“You know who you’re talking to, right? You realise I have – like – zero facial recognition skills. I mean, I think your eyes are probably quite nice but if I looked away right now and then looked back and you had completely different eyes, I probably wouldn’t notice.”

“There has to be something.”

“There is. I just – I feel like there is something really specific and tangible you want me to say. Like ‘your arms’ or ‘your smile’ and I just don’t have an answer like that. Your arms make me feel safe. And not in some girlie, needing-to-be-physically-protected way. I just feel good when I’m in them. Like we’re doing okay. I like your hands because they make me stop feel self-conscious for as long as they are on me. And yes, I’m sorry, but I do fucking love your brain. It is an hilarious place to hang out in and it fires mine up. It turns mine on. You think so differently to me. Just as fast, just as bizarre but bizarre in a totally different way. I love how you think. How you make me think. And feel. And be. It is fucking sexy.”

But he wasn’t satisfied. And I get that. I do. He was having one of those days. One of those days when you don’t need to hear that. You just need to objectified. You want the answer to be ‘your body’ or ‘your arse’ or ‘your cheekbones, man I love your cheekbones!’ and I am shit at that.

But also, my answers were less about him and more about how he made me feel. And he made me feel good but that day I stopped being able to return the favour. And I got out of his clothes and his bed and his life and he went in search of someone better and I went back to paper and pen.




a short story: delays on the sandringham line

I grumbled with the rest when they announced it: delays on the Sandringham line. They said someone had died and I believed them. I stopped grumbling and felt the familiar guilt settle into my chest. That guilt you feel when you cry over a chipped iPhone screen and then remember starving Kenyans.

When they said that the body on the track was mine, I believed them. My mouth filled with cotton wool. I blinked very hard at the world, memorising its curves; the exact texture of chewing gum under foot; the way the oily air shimmered, rising off the hot surface of the road; the glint of the sun on the glistening train tracks, snaking off to infinity.

Family called.

They said, ‘I don’t know why I’m doing this.’

They said, ‘I wasn’t expecting you to answer.’

They said, ‘Muscle memory.’

They said, ‘I guess I’m just in shock.’

I said the feeling was mutual.

They asked what happened and I couldn’t answer. ‘Guess it goes to show.’ They didn’t say what it went to show but I agreed with them anyway.

I walked along the side of the track until I found the police cars. I was covered in a sheet and I was glad. I’ve never been good at gore. Everyone wore their grimmest faces. A woman stood beside the traffic light with a hand half raised to her mouth. She shook her head again and again as the lights flashed from green to red to yellow to green. ‘God. God. God,’ she murmured with each change.

Another call.

‘Is it true? Is it true that you’re dead?’

‘I’m as stunned as you are.’

‘Do they know how it happened?’

‘I think they’re saying suicide.’


‘Yeah. Sorry to be the one to tell you. I thought it must have been an accident but there’s a witness saying they saw me seeing it. Saw me step out whilst seeing it, I mean. I believe her.’

‘Did you hate us? Did you hate being one of us?’

‘You were great.’

‘Was it Dad? Was it your Dad?’

‘I don’t think so. He was always home by six and he used to carry me on his shoulders at the zoo so I could look the giraffes in the eye.’

When they told me there had been a mix up, that’s when I didn’t believe them. ‘There’s another Meredith Collins. She lived on your street. She had very gray hair and wore flat shoes with orthopedic insoles’ They told me I wasn’t dead. They told me I was standing on platform thirteen. They told me my hands were cold and asked if I wanted to share a taxi, as services wouldn’t be up and running for some time, but if I didn’t want to that there would be a bus leaving at quarter past.

I went home and I lived a great many years.

From my apartment window, I can watch the trains come and go. Fat silver caterpillars crawling out the station. At each stop they pause and munch up more little brown and pink people and they grow longer and longer and faster and faster.

Where do the trains sleep? I hope it is underground. I hope it is a giant subterranean cave and I hope that they weave silk and bind themselves to the walls and the ceilings. I hope it is very silent in there. I hope that in the morning they will wake and eat their way out and become giant metallic butterflies, ferrying the dead from Earth to Heaven. Perfectly on time.

fiction, personal, thoughts

on the future, GPSing our grief and living in the past

The future is just a second away.

Two thoughts.

Thought #1

One day in the future, not too far away, we will have GPS dots. Buy them in bulk. Put them on anything worth more than a few dollars. Your phone. Your laptop. Your keys. Your dog.

Log in and find out where they are. Locate your missing keys. Follow your laptop through the streets of Melbourne on the back seat of a thief’s car. From your work computer, watch your dog, a little blue dot, leap the fence and wander down the street. As you run to your office door, turn back and see the blue dot meet the line that is Punt Road and stop moving.

You drive, fighting back tears and checking your phone but it doesn’t move again. When you arrive your dot becomes your dog and your dog becomes your dead dog and you take him home and you bury him in the garden and you move house and you get a cat and, in time, she dies in your arms and you bury her under the peach tree in your Northcote share-house and pets come and go and so do you, one suburb to the next until the city is crisscrossed with your movements and the suburbs pulse with your little blue dots, now buried underground. They blink like satellites beneath sixty centimeters of dirt, from the roots of gnarled peach trees: a map of grief and joy and guilt and anti-histamines and unconditional love that you carry in your pocket forever.


Thought #2

Today scientists are trying to grow you a new heart. And a new liver. A kidney. A lung. They observe the future under a microscope. A future in which, when you are suffering – when you need a new body part – they will take some of your cells and grow what you need: organs, created for your biological specifications.

What will these future people think of us when they hear that we once waited for strangers to die so that we could fill our desperate bodies with parts of theirs? That we died waiting for others to die because the grim reaper could not keep up with our demand? Will they think us barbaric, for craving that motorbike crash or that life support button being flicked? Or will they hear of the fathers signing over their son’s organs and swell with pride that someone, in the depths of their grief, would save the life of another child? I think they will twist their minds inside out, trying to comprehend a memorial service for a man whose heart beats on in a different chest; anniversaries passing as that heart hammers away. In history class, I think they will turn to each other and pose the question: cells die and re-generate so when does a heart stop being my child’s and start being yours?

Oh we who stagger about in this dark, terrible past, what brave creatures we must be. Saints and martyrs and warriors all.