bloggity blog, writing

Summer shade

The cicadas are loud today

Singing their merry creed to the summer heat

Like lovers

Summer and cicada

Star crossed and long distance

They use the only words they know how

Trrrrrp trrrrrp trrrp the cicadas sing

The summer heats up

A southerly breeze blows

And the cicadas sing

The breeze coaxes leaves from the trees

They float down to litter the grass

Feeding the tree in turn to make new leaves

And the cicadas sing

A horse whinnies in the distance

Safe under the shade of a swaying, fragrant eucalypt

Parrots flock to the trees

Getting drunk off the sun-kissed flowers

And the cicadas sing

A storm teases the horizon with its darkness

Lightning crackles

Electricity in the sticky air

Thunder moans

Long…

and deep

And the cicadas sing

I sit under the shade of the tree

I breathe in the summer and exhale the hope for an early winter

But the shade kisses my skin, sweetly

The way only summer shade can

The scent of pool chlorine and eucalyptus and baked asphalt is thick

The aroma of a summer freshly cooked and ready to be devoured

And so

I eat

I gorge on summer

And the cicadas sing

Love

Amberley

This was just a random stream of thoughts as I sit and watched my kids play in the pool.

As most of you may be aware, I’m not huge on summer. But as I watch my kids in the pool… how much they love it. Splashing and floating and staying still to allow a dragonfly or wasp to come drink… It makes me hate on summer less and think more on the good, more on the love and deliciousness of everything…

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Milk

Milk – chapter 2

Chapter 2 – Don’t

*if you haven’t read chapter 1, you can do so here. Don’t worry… it’s short.

Two paracetamol. One glass of Gatorade. Followed by coffee. All of the coffee.
I lean against the kitchen counter and stare out over the dust-laden house. That’s how small this place is. I can actually see all of it from in the kitchen.
It looks less like a house and more like an old photograph of a house. There is so much dust on everything, it’s like I am looking through a filter. If it were a filter on Instagram it would be called “dusty hangover.”
On the kitchen floor is a patch of red wine, sticky-fresh from the night previous.
I hadn’t exactly woken up in a puddle of vomit on the floor but I hadn’t not either.
I nudge my booted toe at the mess, trying to work out if it is mostly spilled wine or regorged wine. And does it matter? Not really. It is not the first time I would have to clean up my own puke. Not the last neither.
Thinking of Instagram, I take out my phone. There is a new crack on the screen. I must’ve fallen on my arse at some point last night. I run my thumb over the screen. It still responds. I will go online later and buy a new one.
I open Instagram and scroll through the notifications.
“Missin u”
“When you comin back???”
“Yo! Where are you at, Ms. C!”
The comments go on and on.
I smile at how much they all miss me.
Then.
It all comes back to me.
My brother. The accident.
I couldn’t have given him and open casket if I’d wanted to. Not that there would have been anyone else there, besides me, to see his mangled, unrecognisable corpse. And I sure as hell didn’t want to see it again.
I walk to the sink to refill the kettle and kick something along the floor. It skittles toward the kickboard and I hear the crack of breakage. Bending down to pick up the two pieces of the wine-stained mug I kicked, I realise I had used my brother’s favourite.
“Don’t do that,” says the memory of my brother. “You can be so careless, Conny.” I would purposefully use his mug and then place it on the edges of tables, teetering on the brink of destruction, just to get something out of my ultra-calm brother.
I place the broken mug on the counter and step back from it.
I feel like the king who would turn everything to gold with his touch. Except, I turn everything to broken.
I run out the front. I want to just sit and stare at the garden for a while. Even though I never understood why he lived the way he did, I always loved to look at that garden.
“Because I like living this way, Conny.” My memory of my brother said.
“But why? You should move to the city with me. Get out a little more. All you do is sit here with your garden.”
“I like my garden, Conny.”
“Why do you have to be such a fucking hippie! Did we even come out of the same vagina.”
I turn the old door knob and go out onto the porch, anticipating the green, the new growth, the scents of herbs and earth and flowers.
My stomach turns cold. Suddenly last night’s wine wants to regorge again.
Brown.
That is all there is. Brown. Ochre. Umber. Tawny leaves, crumpled, crumbling.
I don’t feel my legs as I walk down the steps toward the devistated garden.
As far as I can see. The rows and rows of once flourishing broccoli, twisted pumpkin zines, spinach, tomato, tall rosemary, basil, plum trees, peach trees, apricots. All of them.
Dry stalks. Brittle leaves.
What the actual fuck has happened here.
I feel my chest clenching. Bile at the back of my throat.
I turn and run back inside. I will deal with this situation. But not sober. I just … can’t.
My fingers shaking, I tip the coffee out of my mug and look around for the wine bag.
“Don’t drink so early,” says my memory-brother.
I look around the floor. I cannot remember where I put down the bag.
“Don’t be such a fucking hippie,” I said to him in retaliation.
Always in retaliation.
I see the bag by the door and I can barely wait to pour it into a mug.
I drink. Long. Deep. Sweet. Hot.
I see my memory-brother rolling his eyes, sipping camomile tea he has grown himself.
Pulling the empty mug away from trembling lips, I look out the back window. There is a post-it note on the glass, written in my brother’s hand.
“Don’t follow the lightning bugs.”

Milk, writing

Milk

Prologue

As my hand passes through the barrier it begins to melt and change. Skin turns to shells. Bone to tiny legs. Muscle and nails to wings and light.
I scream.
All I want to do is go home.
Why won’t they just let me go home?

Chapter 1 – the Cottage

Once the will was read and the papers were signed, there was no reason to stay another night in my apartment. I could have gone back, picked up a few of my things, but why? It was all junk. Useless shiny objects, a collection of wealth. What was the point? I couldn’t take any of it to the grave. No one would mention my collection of Franck Mullers at my funeral. “Here lies Conny, owner of many pretty watches.”
The only stop I made between the city and the Cottage was to fuel up and buy a dozen bottles of red wine.
My brother had lived in the Cottage for nineteen years and I had only visited him eighteen times. Once a year, on his birthday. Except this year. Not this year and never again.
And now, I drive. Bottle of red wine clutched between my thighs, open and slushing around – the sound of my irresponsibility. The smell of it in the car is a foreign, sickening sweetness.
The road towards the Cottage is barely worthy of the name. No lights. No markers.
My headlights illuminate only several feet in front of my car. Trees; white trunks and black tops, stand still and straight like funeral goes, solemn as the big metal coffin on wheels glides past. No pole bearers for me.
Fog hangs in cloudy formations slightly above the bitumen. Like suicidal ghosts waiting to be decimated by a passing car. Their wish is granted as they dissipate at the touch of my grill.
“Left turn ahead,” says the British sounding woman on my GPS.
Seeing no sign of any road, I slow my car to a crawl, inching my way through the darkness.
But then it is there, an apparition. A road that is no more than the absence of trees and grass. It is both nothing and familiar. Needlessly slamming on the brakes, my wine sloshes between my knees and I stop short of the corner.
I shouldn’t be driving. I push my foot harder on the break to reassure myself that it is down firmly.
Leaning forward to get a better view of the corner, I realise that my seatbelt isn’t on and I cannot remember taking it off or putting it on for that matter.
My brother’s street is a formidable beast, a conquest, an outstretched hand just out of reach. It is so far away and too close. And I realise when I drive up there and find his house, he will not be sitting on the porch waiting for me.
I turn off the car and the world is snuffed out.
Darkness so thick it forces me to feel.
Feel my heart, a frightened animal trapped behind my rib cage. It scratches at my bones, knaws on my flesh, trying to dig it’s way out only trapping itself further.
I feel the heat and stink of my life pressing on my skin. I’m in a pot of boiling water, my head is being held under by my past, face pushed under the bubbling surface.
I want to scream. I want to peel off my burning skin. I tear open my chest and free the thing dying inside me.
But I only sit, fingers gripping the steering wheel. Knuckles white … probably… if I could see them.
My eyes rest on nothing. Unfocused. Turning my head, I look up my brother’s street. Up on the hill, near where the Cottage would be sitting (at least where it is in my imagination) lights dance in a line. Spinning and twirling. Blues and greens and pinks. Like a string of animated christmas lights, they move upwards. Not into the sky, but upwards still. Meandering, rainbow fireflies heading up the hill.
I blink so hard I have to swallow at the same time.
I should not be driving. I’m an absolute fuck knuckle.
I open my eyes and the lights are gone. And I am left in that state of firmly believing that I have lost my mind.
I pry my hands from the leather steering wheel, one finger at a time. I’m sweating, sticking to the seats. I am a dropped lollipop on a summer sidewalk. I am a tongue in a parched morning mouth. I … am drunk.
Throwing myself out the car door, I gasp in the cool night air. On hands and knees, bathed in the yellow glow of my car’s open-door light, I wretch onto the bitumen. Not for drunkenness but from something else. There was a deep pit inside me both empty and heavy. It was the sadness my body was trying to purge… or maybe it was just the wine and I was being a melodramatic fuck head.
Leaving my car but taking all the wine I think I can carry, I stumble up the street. It takes a drunken lifetime. It is funny how malleable time is and alcohol only makes it more so.
The driveway is the worst part. No I’m lying. The light illuminating the front door is the worst part. Left on as if I am expected. And I guess, in a way, I am.
My brother left the Cottage to me. He died knowing he was dying and so there for knew I would be here soon.
“Carl, you piece of shit,” I mutter as I stumble up the driveway that is less driveway than the road behind me is a road.
In the dim yellow glow of the porch light, I cannot see the front yard which is not a front yard, not really. In my memory it is lush, fruits and vegetables and herbs. There is no room for lawn. There is no room for useless, water-suckers. But, in the dark and drunkenness, I see none of this.
Ambling up the front steps, I am already reaching out to ring the door bell. My hand falls to my side. There is no one inside to answer my call.
On the front step, there are dozens of empty plastic bowls. Stacks and scatters of them. I stare at them for a moment. Staring and staring the towers of them. Artistic sculptures of used plastic, random configurations. I wonder at what they mean. What they symbolise.
I look up and the front door is open. I blink hard again. Opening my eyes and looking down, I see I have the keys outstretched. I do not remember opening the door but obviously I must’ve.
The bag of wine bottles clunks loudly as I put it down in the doorway, open one under my arm. I go to have a drink straight from the bottle and hear my brother’s words, memories dredging up, “Conny, use a glass at least, a cup, a coffee mug, anything.” “Fuck off,” the me in my memory slurs.
I pull the bottle away from my lips.
I flick every light on in the house as I make my way to the kitchen. The place is unchanged. Small. Wooden. Dirty. Dark. Old. Cheap art on the walls. A box TV in the corner that is dustier than the not-road and the not-driveway combined. I can almost hear the bugs scuttling over the scarred floorboards. They are what I hate most about the place. I could never sleep sober here, for fear of the bugs. Not that sleeping sober was an activity I partook in enthusiastically anytime.
I’m still just standing in the empty kitchen, bottle swinging limply in my hand.
I can’t remember what I was doing in there. I go to take a sip and remember. Glass.
I open a cupboard, the one I remember being for dinnerware and it is packed full of longlife milk.
I scrunch my face up at the milk-filled cupboard and my weirdo dead brother.
I open another, but it is the same thing.
The pantry. Milk. Fridge. Milk. Shelves. Milk.
What the actual fuck did my brother want with all this fucking moo juice?
I get a mug off the counter instead. All booze consumption holders should have handles. The Germans were bang on with that part. It is the Germans, isn’t it? Steins… sounds German.
I “pour” the wine into my mug, letting the last few drops drip slowly into red lake below. Slow sluggish dollops like paint or blood.

And I’m out.

bloggity blog

Tattered wings

I (tried) to rescue a moth today.

It had managed to get itself stuck between the pavers and a brick wall.

I noticed because I could hear this noise while I wrote. A flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap … silence … then flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap flap. I had to go searching.

When I finally found the source of the tiny noise, a noise seemingly only I could hear. (My roomy thought I had finally lost my last marble)

I was saddened by what I saw.

It had been a big moth. Black and grey and white. Once it may have had wings to rival some butterflies. But in its night-long struggle to get out, its wings were only tatters. Torn. Worn down. All the scaley pixie dust covering from them, gone.

I still rescued it, picking it out of its prison and holding its fluttering, panicked body in my hands.

I still put it in the garden. Bit I knew it was as good as spider food.

In all its efforts to get free, its furious flapping to save itself was what ultimately caused its death.

If it had simply waited and then walked out of the hole, it would still have its wings intact.