I run home from the hospital. The weight of an old hags body has suddenly felt much lighter as I sprint through the parking lot .
My slim legs cease to a light jog as I try to catch my breath underneath the glance of an old Eucalypt tree. The legs that I had learned to hate in my old age take me to my hiding place.
Here in my hiding place, out in the bush, the hospital disappears into the backdrop of trees. The tangy smell of disinfectant which had coated my room is instead replaced with a fresh breeze which drifts through tree trunks and caresses my face.
I poke my tongue out.
There’s a fluster. From the canopy of a paperbark tree darts a lorikeet; it’s fluorescent wings outstretched in the cobalt sky as it lets out a shriek. It screams out into the morning air, it bounces from tree to tree as if giving a wake up call to all of its neighbours. A kookaburra follows in unison and lets out its own call into the morning sky.
Mama is waiting for me, and the sun has begun to ascend with a fiery glow.
I enter the outskirts of town that I had once forgotten existed. My footsteps slow as I wander past the gates of the now-small swimming pool. I rest my head against the cold metallic bars of the gate as I observe the rusty blisters that are growing on the tin roof of the bathroom block. This is the pool where I learnt how to swim. However the cool waves of water that Papa had once held me in, have now gone in the heat leaving it empty; only to entertain a small family of weeds which poke their heads through the worn out lapis tiles on the floor of the pool.
My trembling hand rises to my eyes and smoothly strokes the tears away.
I wander past the bakery where I got my first job. I remember the morning dew that would stick to the sides of my black leather shoes as I marched through the glistening grass to the front door. I remember my co-workers. I remember themsmiling at me from behind the counter as the smell of fresh bread would sift through that yellow bakery. I recall the early morning shifts and the small acts of kindness carried out by people that I would later call friends.
I remember bringing loaves of sourdough home to Mama.
The sky above suddenly begins to peel back, and bright spotlights of sun poke through onto the footpath and dance on the road. It’s breakfast time.
Molly’s Retro Café has begun to seat customers. I walk in.
In the corner of the store, to the right of the jukebox and opposite to the milk bar lies a small booth. It’s vinyl seats do not have the same red glow it once possessed, and the window which has observed lovers and townspeople now has hairline cracks tracing down its length. I take a seat. This is where I had my first date. I rest my head on the gleaming silver table. I let my long flowing hair cover my face and shroud my eyes from loud bursts of laughter coming from behind the bar.
Mama will get impatient.
I leave without being served.
The sun has reached its peak for today; it boils away in the sky, watching my movements. I walk under its gaze until the rays of sunlight are engulfed in high rise buildings. I come to a halt.
This is the plot where my office used to be. The office I had worked in for a decade. The parking lot which held our broken matchbox cars is gone. The wonky door that everyone complained about has been removed from its hinges and turned into scrap pieces; developed into something new. The parcel of land that our office had been situated on has been reincarnated. Instead stands a block of shiny new apartments.
I continue walking down Main Street.
I glance into the pub where my wedding reception was held. Young pretty things wear away the skin on their fingers by carrying silver trays topped with large overflowing glasses of decaying beer. The fine carpet which greeted customers upon their arrival is now tarnished with grog and dirt that has been accumulated over time.
I stop at the local doctors' surgery. It’s been painted up and polished down since I last came. Outside lies the same annoying stairs that I climbed up with my walking stick. I can already imagine the smell of the reception .The brown furniture which stuck to your skin on hot summer days. The weary doctors. The lady who gave me a tissue box. The man that walked me out.
I walk past the chemist, but don’t go in.
I walk past the cemetery, but refuse to glance at the faded tombstones.
C’mon! You’re going to be late!
I keep walking down the familiar dirt path until I’ve reached home. I don’t know how it’s here. It was demolished in 98’. It’s the same home that I had grown up in, only, it has a dreamlike glow.
The sun is going down. The sky is stitching itself back up. The beams of light are starting to fade. The world is starting to go black.
I grasp the golden handle and push open the wooden door.
Mama is here.
She stands parallel to the stove, and lets the smell of something fine waft throughout the room. She wears the same gown that she fell asleep in. Her face is one I have never seen. Her wrinkles are gone and she looks like the girl I had seen in all of the old photos. The smile she wears reaches up to her eyes and her pink lips whisper something faint and sweet.