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.
Looking back I realise I may have been using him. Not using him to help me escape the farm I was an animal in. I used him to escape my reality. In Max’s body I found food for my soul. The day I found out I was being farmed for my offspring and eventually my flesh, at the time I didn’t let myself think about what that meant. In my world up until that point I was brought up believing a comet had hit earth and wiped out all of the animals and most of the people. We were told that we were all that was left, so we had to do everything we could to keep the human race alive. Lies.
Criticism is my foreplay
Let me make you feel
Inadequate. Are you wet
Yet? You’re slick with
Self-doubt. Let me touch
Your every insecurity.
Let my fingernails drag
Across your regrets. Yes.
Oh yes. Do you like that?
I don’t know if the way I speak is the way I actually speak or if I choose to sound this way.
That scares me.
I try to talk in the language of my ancestors but my tongue trips over itself trying to taste the words.
I don’t know if the image I project is who I really want to be or if it’s society’s version of a better me you see.
That scares me.
I paint my face with white lies and keep my hair long for you, you like it long don’t you baby?
“He’s good looking for a Maori boy aye?” Jen has a coffee clasped in one hand, a cigarette in the other and last nights makeup melted down her face. Beth watches her as she watches George mowing the lawn out the window.
“Yeah I guess.” He takes off his t-shirt and rubs his face with it before draping it over his shoulder. He’s just hot. No question about it. Look at those abs! “He’s pretty nice too, came over last night to help with dinner.”
“You been crying to Kara again?”
“Hey, I’m George. You’re Beth right? Aunty always talks about you lot.”
“Hey.” Beth says, “Yeah, come in”. Why am I still in my uniform? It’s so ugly. I look like a kid. How long has he ben living there, I’ve never seen him before. Beth leads him into the kitchen where Kara is boiling, frying, mixing all at once.
“Hey boy, thanks for that. You all moved in?”
“Yeah just unloaded the last box, I’ll take Dad’s Ute back to him tonight and pick up me bike.” He grins at Beth.
“What’s wrong with you huh?” Beth asks Lena. Lena grizzles in response. “Okay let’s check out that nappy cause you stink kid.”
Beth takes a towel out of the cupboard and lays Lena down on it before grabbing the wipes and a nappy.
“Boys? Where are you?” She calls out as she wipes bright yellow shit from Lena’s thigh rolls. “No wonder you stank girl, this is next level. What has your mother been feeding you?” Once Lena is clean she gives Beth a big smile. “See life’s not so bad is it? Let’s go see what your brothers are up to.”