When I’m at Dad’s the rain smells like freshly cut grass and wood smoke. First thing in the morning Dad checks the weather. “Supposed to rain later, better get out there and mow the lawns. I can see the flowers.” Robyn gets up and wraps her fluffy robe around her. “How about I light the fire?” I flip on the jug and make us all cups of tea. The fire’s roaring by the time Dad comes in smelling like grass and petrol. “Go have a shower Terry, you stink,” Robyn calls from the kitchen. The rain starts to fall. The sweetness of the decapitated daisies fills the house and as I open the door to the fire to place more wood on the flames, the smoke seeps out with the heat. I lie on the rug in front of the fire and sip my tea.
Opening my eyes I can see that the room is cast in shadows. The light trying to push through the curtains fails and I am left to wallow in semi-darkness. I wiggle my legs under the blanket. Thinking it’s a game Artie pounces and attacks the duvet covers, intent on killing it. She turns her fluffy face to me, meowing, she runs out to the lounge room prompting me to feed her. She’s such a greedy little fur-baby. I roll over and feign sleep.
Christmas is a day of food, family and fun. It is just a day though. Any other day could be celebrated in the same way.
It’s Christmas Day and I’m crying. I can’t remember the last time I cried on Christmas, actually no, that’s a lie. I can remember being told off when I was ten years old after inquiring whether the beach towel Grandad had gotten me had been purchased at The Warehouse. Looking back I realise how this could have been construed, like I was calling him cheap or something.
When you live far away from your friends’ stagnation takes place. They only ever see you for who you were, not who you have become.
“You look so good,” Lizzy says.
“So do you!” I lie. Was she lying when she said it to me?
“How is everything going?”
“Oh you know,” there’s no way to answer the question appropriately that isn’t “good, you?”
“Yeah great, how’s Jordan?”
When I was a child I used to wish I were Pippi Long-stockings, now I realise she would probably wish she were I.
I tighten my grip on the rail, the wind whips my hair about my face and the sea spray flutters onto my cheeks. I feel alive. The salt in the air settles on my lips and I can taste it. I take in deep breaths and smile out at the horizon, I wish I could do this more often. We slow down as Dad’s GPS tells us we’re close to where he left them. We putter about the green, orange and black bobbles that disappear under the swell.
“Alright, when we get close throw out the grappling hook and pull the buoy into the boat.” Dad’s voice roars over the motor.
Some people say life is all about the journey, not the destination.
“I-I-I-I-I-I, I’m hooked on a feeling. I’m high on believing. That you’re in love with me!”
I jump awake and fish around my pockets for my phone that’s blaring Hooked on a Feeling for the whole bus to hear.
“Hey, why haven’t you text me back?”
“I just woke up.”
“Shit. She just woke up. You going to try get the bus tomorrow then?”
“No, no. I’m on the bus. I just fell asleep, I’m a bit hung over.”
“So what else do you do dear?” The greying haired lady asks. I fold up the silk blouses she has picked out, my cheeks start to warm. I know where this is going. I’ve had this conversation many times.
“Oh, nothing at this point.”
“So you’re not studying?”
“No, just working for a bit.” It’s not the lady’s fault, but I want to punch her right in the throat.
I’ve been told many times that I was his favourite. I don’t know what it was I did to deserve such a title. I can’t help but wonder if I still do it, this thing that made me so special. If he could see me now would I still be his favourite? Am I the person he thought I was? People say dad was always his favourite too. I can understand that though, they were so alike.