I recall the morning as being cold, but that cannot be true because my birthday is in December. I was three/four/five and I went onto the verandah to find a trampoline out on the lawn. My parents had built it during the night or in the early morning. Be careful of the coils, they can nip ya. When I went on it, I had to sweep off all the seeds and gum leaves to keep them from digging into my heels. My baby sister was/wasn’t born, and I had the trampoline to myself in the speckled afternoon light.


I use the street-view function on Google Maps to comb through Sunshine Coast beach access car parks until I find the one I recognise. I have only travelled there in the back seat, don’t remember if it was north or south. The one I am looking for is flanked by bright white houses being eaten away with the salt. It is a long walk down to the water from the car, and a kilometre stretch to the cliff my sister/mother and I climbed up each time we went. While walking, I could close my eyes and walk along the shoreline, talking into the wind, all the way down. Youll walk into a rip one day. I cut my hand on rocks/shells/broken glass once, held pressure on the cut until we got home.


We are living in the last home we lived in before things went bad, it was May/July/October. My mother touched down at Brisbane International, called my father’s phone and I answered. Where are you, darling girl? At home, Mum. I remember her faltering, a woman who always had the right words, struggling for a breath. I remember talking to my father and he attested that he was/wasn’t good to drive, that he didn’t need to apologise. The night stretches up and out and across, over to where my mother was, travelling home by herself. When she got home she was all smiles. My mother was a mother first, an academic second, a wife third and a woman somewhere in between. I talked to her about it when I got older, she did/didn’t remember the incident.


I do not know the last thing I said to my father. I have a Messenger/text/email transcript, the final digital exchanges of a near-dead daughter-hood, but I cannot remember the last words spoken. In a way, it doesn’t matter. He would have told me I remembered it wrong. Just like your mother, you vilify people over nothing. We spoke over a coffee/wine/water in an outdoor seating area. I had just started seeing someone, but I didn’t tell him anything. He speaks at me for some time, not coming up for air. He was a man who was so desperate to be heard/right that he would say anything. When I left I offered/declined to hug him.


I spent a week in a hospital bed, waiting on test results. In the night-time I pretended the rattle of the air conditioning vent was rain outside, so I could send myself to sleep between vitals checks. I wanted to be home, to cook hot meals, to light a suite of candles and wash my hair. I am alone, with my belongings I brought to Emergency in a paper bag on the ground. I call my mother and we talk about moments from years ago. My sister sends me some scans of old photographs to look at to pass the time. In the pictures, there are stills of moments I don’t remember, details I can’t place. I can recall before and after, but not the years during. Even now, even then. My memory has gotten better since it all ended, but moments from before are still buried, behind a coating I can’t quite pierce. I get discharged on a Thursday.

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