Thursday, 11th April 2013
You write the week past is a surreal memory and I feel the same until I see the offending stain on Bryan’s feature wall. Tomorrow I’ll go out and buy the paint needed to fix it. And even though no one else will ever know it’s there under the fresh layer of paint—all three of us will know its there.
The final draft of the interview came through today. Like our conversations in the hotel room it is brutal but is as honest as it’s ever going to get in the mainstream media. All those close know the truth and the public will get the opportunity to read the best approximation of it. It’s bizarre to think I’ll walk down to the newsagent Saturday morning and it will all be there to be consumed alongside cornflakes, bacon and eggs, lattes, teas, at kitchen tables, café tables, on couches and balconies. I should be scared but I’m not…giving you the truth, answering every question you had, looking you in the eye and giving a voice to every difficult evil and painful part of my life… it makes a version of it in the public domain something of a cake-walk.
I decided not to go back to Coranderk this week. It seemed like an inordinate amount of driving for no reason. Ava express posted your letter from the 6th to Bryan’s—who is away in Melbourne and due back tomorrow morning. I’m grateful for the break. There is a lot to process, to decide upon but I’ve made a start. I’ve told Bryan I’m staying on in my cottage in Coranderk. Sydney is no home. I found a life again in Coranderk and I think it’s the right place to start the next revolution of my life. I bought a vintage typewriter and I’ve knocked out two chapters of the book. I decided that since I’ve had a chance to tell my story, it’s time to tell Charlotte and Jakob’s. Despite all the talking about ‘my life’ it feels like the easier path to take. The research will consume what the writing time doesn’t and I guess I’ll fall into something of a routine. Something that resembles real life. I also want to be close to Ava and Ellie.
After you left Friday morning and I went back to Bryan’s I was going through my bag and found the care package they’d put together. In all that happened I’d forgotten it was there. I took out the friendship bracelet and tied it around my wrist as best I could and wished I’d found it while you were still around, so you could have helped tie it on. Remember how we tried to make them in Year 10 but you were all fingers and the wrong sorts of knots…and I made you one with thick green and black stripes and you wore it until the sea and water bleached it grey and it disintegrated. There was a mix tape from Matt—the Frames, Nick Cave and a bunch of obscure bands only Matt would think to put together. No book from Ava though—she knew this was no pleasure trip…she’d written a quote from Alain de Botton: forgiveness relies on a sense that bad behaviour is a sign of suffering not malice.
And I can see that in my words and actions—how my own pain fuelled decisions that were not mine to make. And I know I said I was sorry…but I want to say it again. But how do you say sorry and not have the guilt eat you alive? How do I say sorry to you, your Dad, to Rebecca and your kids. I remember the dream I had about Rebecca and I wish there was some way to tell her you are every ounce the man she thought you were. That you are every ounce the man I hoped you’d be. And that’s why you’ve gone back home to your family. And why I won’t be following. To be the man I want you to be means there is only room in your life for me on those two days a year at The Point…why the only place I can abide is that place in your heart where you’ve always had me. And it’s not about allowing or denying—Thursday night showed me that—it is about ‘being’…of existing, of revelling within the limitations of being, thankful for the opportunity. It’s not about unlocking or jettisoning but paying tribute to what is there. Not trying to fix the history broken or shoe-horn the future—but to just be in the present without expectations.
When you appeared at the café I felt the fragile calm from the night before break. To be the abandoned you must be abandoned…and there you were. The cycle began 20 years earlier broken. I only ever wanted you to step up and say, “I’m here” and there you were despite my best effort to push you as far away as possible. And the one thing I’d never done in front of you… I did. I cried. I let you see how deep the pain and vulnerability was. How deep the caverns of pain were. I let you see how broken and fucked up I was, how far the desperation dragged me down. And you turned the chair and held me and out it came.
Inana travelled the seven levels of hell and was left to hang from hooks through her flesh until her lover travelled to replace her. And in that café with everyone watching we found our way to the bottom of hell together. Only no one is staying there…though I know you are facing your own version of it now. At least it doesn’t (hopefully) involve explosive poo.
Lying with you on the bed, my heart pounding into your back, I wished there had been a better way to tell you everything. Wish I hadn’t gone so far to the end before realising what a load of shit my life was. You wanted to massage clean the scars on my back and I wished I could reach inside you and emancipate all the pain I’d caused you. But to lie there, with no words, just two hearts slowing, syncing; breathes becoming one single inhalation and exhalation, the past and the future were superfluous to the present. We know more than we realised as teenagers—we knew how to be. I feel asleep with an ease I don’t think I’ve been able to since a child. With you beside me in those first fragile hours, I didn’t have anything to be afraid of.
Ava rang to check the letter arrived and I got side tracked… walked down by the water with the echo of your companionship—could feel the ease of your hand in mine—by the time I got back the rest of the conversation had played out in my head and now the page looks and feels a bit barren.
I’ve gone and found Blur on YouTube and I’m sitting out here on the balcony lost in one of Bryan’s hoodies listening to it.
When I went to the bathroom to change I saw your t-shirt lying on the floor and I wanted to take it with me and wrap it around me like I used to do. Half your wardrobe was lost in the mess of my bedroom floor. But it seemed too much, too intimate almost, to wear your clothes and all the time you were watching and I was too wrapped up in the dilemma of misappropriating your clothes to realise.
I woke before dawn and slipped out under your arm, wrapped myself in the blanket that was bunched on the floor at the foot of the bed, opened the vertical blinds and curled up in the chair to watch you sleep. Just as I had at Nan’s that Easter, in my room the night of your 18th and every other Saturday night when you fell asleep on the couch. The sun came up. Pale shafts of light came through and you rolled over, the sheets came away and the dawn painted stripes on your bare back. Jakob would have watched the same thing with me…and I thought how life is really book ends…the moment that inspired “Charlotte Coloured Dawn” was repeated here with the two people it was really about. Echoes finding their way back to the original source. Time rushing backwards.
And how we fill the shelves of our life with narratives small and large—the books we want, others that are lent us, bad gifts, ones that just find their way to our shelves. The ones we read and discard, the ones read over and over again, the ones we can’t bear to part with, the the ones we feel obliged to keep. And I knew when we woke we’d be throwing out the book ends, clearing the shelf of everything. But as long as you slept the day hadn’t begun. I dropped the blanket and gently eased back beside you.
“Ella-Louise,” you mumbled half-asleep and I stroked your cheek, rough with stubble.
“Shhhh,” I said, thinking of Jakob’s lyrics of the dawn reaching out to take what had been so patiently waited for and I wanted to close the blinds and hold the dawn at bay. Lying in your arms I wasn’t ready to give you up a final time, even though I knew it was time. The radio played on, the room got light and I closed my eyes and let the steady beat of your heart will me back to sleep.
You’ll have the letter I wrote by now and hopefully that changes nothing and you’ll be there at The Point on Monday for my birthday.
I’ll leave this with your Dad.
I know you said you’d be there to cast a stone with me at sunset but I understand if you decide not to come…it’s still early days.
You breathed life into the phoenix, set me on the path for this new incarnation of my life. Gave me everything I wanted when I teetered on the edge of staying or leaving Piper’s at the end of year 12… and now I can leave.
In case you’re not there Monday… be free Jude. A little piece of me will always be with you, as a little piece of you will be with me.
Thank you, for risking everything for me. Thank you for being there when it would have been easier and safer to stay in Piper’s. Thank you for standing by me so my story could be told. So we could finally find each other.
Thank you for being you; my best friend, lover and soul mate.
All My Love