I have twenty minutes in which to attempt to capture this year and I’m trying to do it in the adbreaks of Sex and the City. Sort of symptomatic of this year really. Trying to fit big tasks into tiny cracks in time.
There are fireworks cracking in the street outside. My hair is still wet from the skinny dip with Mr Rabbit. I didn’t want to jump in but I needed to make sure I’d remember it – New Year’s – like every year, something to remember.
The dip was good – quick – we sort of kissed and swam a bit then got out. We knew pretty quickly that it wasn’t the dip that we would remember, we’re sort of old enough now to realise when the moment is not the moment. We stood afterwards wrapped together in the one towel looking at the sky and the stars over back fence and over the eucalypts and the palm trees. A real Australian picture, we said. And we agreed that was probably the moment we would remember.
And then he went to bed with a headache and I ate a tumbler full of icecream and a few Timtams and switched on the tv.
But that is not my year.
Here is my year.
It started at the Café Francoeur in Paris and will end in a minute in Albury. Six months on one continent, six on another. At least four house moves. Lots of boxes, unpacked, packed again, many many days in post offices and storage facilities. At the Café Francoeur that night it was the first night I had left the apartment in months – keeping Kiki in with crossed legs and horizontal living. Lots of chess. We drank three timid champagnes and ate a huge meal that night. Then it was 2011. We tried not to slip on ice on the way home. Until March 17 we played chess and experimented with final cut and read books and ate tagines and talked and talked and downloaded films and then even though Kiki had threatened to born herself early she was so late I felt I could barely hold her in my skin and we needed to drink special potions to coax her out. Which she graciously responded to and proceeded after a taxi ride from hell to arrive in the most exquisite way followed in contrast by an afterbirth experience I can only describe as medieval. Then, madness, excitement, terror, bewilderment, my spine an upside down question mark. Me a right way up question mark. Back to Francoeur, more chess, no sleep, wonder, waking up to these heavenly alien eyes pressed up against mine. Moving house to the Isle St Louis. Bad art. The ancient stench of old rocquefort, Mr Rabbit in Berlin, terror and more terror and more excitement and fear and noticing that even in the depths of Holy SHIT I could actually do it – get through a day, and then another. God. Then a plane back to Australia – where on earth to live – and these instincts, new angsts, deep concerns, massive questions. No more Melbourne. Beach. Quiet. Time to comprehend. Table tennis. Cycling along foreshores. Dad. Swimming in oceans with nobody around. Fatigue like an itching black daily body cloak. Forced to move, another move, another new house – even more remote – everything so very temporary. Ah – lost. But then – suddenly – clarity arising in distance – ideas forming.
The veil lifting now, slowly. There was definitely a big black hole there, especially during the months from October – late November. The feeling was one of absolute endlessness – a sprawling - it was suffocating – even though it had no walls. Being suffocated by something with no walls was scary. Now that feeling is gone because it is clear what I need to do, where I need to be. I suppose that feeling is about home. It’s important to have one, I’m realising, to know where you fit. I’ve been trying to find that for a while, though it’s always been pretty obvious where that place is for me.
What a year. It’s hard to find words. All I can think of is extreme. Extreme this and extreme that. Such an intense new love, like tearing yourself a new heart, as a friend once said. Such deep contemplation, never before have I gone so deep.
I think next year will be lighter.
Fireworks outside. They sound different in a 30 degree night sky. You can hear the heat.
I love the sound of heat.