little knowing that I had dragged myself in and that from time to time I kept
telling myself, I’d like to give up on this regime of twice weekly weight
body says, no more. I can hardly bear
the thought. Endless hours at the gym
trying to stop my body from its inevitable decline.
further and not feel the trembles every time I get above twenty steps.
and stretch to greater heights.
ago now. It took so long to heal. I
measured the whole of my time away in Edinburgh by the pain in my finger. It ached more in the cold and every day I
kept applying the special plastic bandage the doctor had ordered for me. This bandage allowed the right amount of
moisture through, air and whatever else is needed for healing.
day. A reprieve and an annoyance.
offers a disincentive in the form of a public holiday where everything is meant
to close down – not that it does – then I have to find the motivation tomorrow
or the next day.
victory and even if it was, should we be happy about celebrating it?
time for an indefinite period, and this time to Japan.
saying, ‘Don’t go’. I have to encourage
her at every turn.
cultures, new lives, but all the time the tug of home reminds me of why I
hate to travel. Why I hate to
stray too far from home.
in Melbourne when she lived with her husband and five children in a converted
chook shed, she struggled to adjust to this new place so far from Holland.
through the open door, she noticed the parish priest drive by in his car. She saw him and waved, but he did not see
and ignore her. He would stop and visit
for morning coffee after Mass.
wanted or known into deriding the rest.
This country, these people, these Australians, they lack culture.
not discuss important ideas. They are
ignorant and boorish and at parties the men stand at one end of the room and
drink beer together while the women huddle at the other end or in the kitchen
over cups of tea.
something to do with the way the men on building sites – the men who to me
looked to be mainly European, Italians, Poles, foreigners – behaved?
this what my mother longed for, to be recognised, to be wanted?
adolescence and these workers whistled at me, I felt the conflict of pleasure
at being noticed with a wish to be hidden and left alone.
be good I told myself. This was a sign
of approval. This meant I was desirable.
then they would change their minds. They
would see how I was awkward and could not string words together. They would see the state of my teeth and
the clumsiness of their broken English or the smell of BO that ran off their
I see them all so differently, when I reflect on such attitudes as patronising,
objectifying and a thinly disguised sign of contempt for women, I’m troubled by
my childhood self.
continue to get away without exercise – my body, a suitcase rigid and inert, a
mere carry all.
its consequences but most of all for those who must live through it and if
they’re lucky enough to survive must live with the consequences of what they
have seen, done, and heard.