Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.

Laura Jean McKay
Melbourne, Victoria AUSTRALIA



When I was born there was a huge flood that filled McKay's caravan park to brimming so that all the caravans bobbed around and the tents expanded out like wings and sailed over the water. After the storm, my dad came back to life and rolled a huge wagon wheel around the caravan grounds - they had dried out by then. The wheel was orange and made of wood and as I ran my finger around the rim, which gave me a splinter that someone's mum had to suck out between their teeth because they knew how. When I was four we still lived at the caravan park and I was given a rabbit in a shiny cage. One morning, when everything had a green, guilt-flavoured tinge, that rabbit went missing. Although I asked and asked no one remembered the rabbit at all, let alone its loss. A whole lot of time passed then. Somewhere in that passing I walked into the loungeroom (a house now, not a caravan park) and did an eight-year-old strip tease in my sleep before five step brothers and sisters, one brother, a mum and a step-dad. But I don't remember that. What I do remember is the small man with an umbrella who came to collect me from a bus stop. I would wait and wait at that stop until finally it was he who came, rather than a bus. Then he would give me an umbrella and lead me to a maze. When we got to the middle of the maze (it was a brown, poo coloured maze with poured on edges that only came to our chests) he showed me how to lower my umbrella and then he pulled on a leaver which made the whole maze 'start up'. A starting up maze means that there is a terrible and relentless noise - like that of a dying mechanical bear - and the walls grind in and out and you are stuck forever. This happened twice. Later in life I sat up in bed a lot and stared at my mum in an angry manner. Because she is a good person and not just a good mum she was very gentle about that even though I know it upset her insides. I also emptied the drawers from my dressing table in a big pile and glanced into the mirror and frowned. My face was thirteen then. No pimples, lots of freckles, hardly a breast in sight. After more sitting up in bed and glaring and a touch more walking in my sleep my brother almost did a thing. He almost walked right out the front door in his sleep, unlocked it and everything. That is his dream, not mine but ulocked doors and windows are impressive. A man walked through the moonlight that hung over our farm and found the only unlocked window and crawled through it to find me. What happened when he did find me or whether he did at all is lost like so many other things: our house after the twister whisked the horses and the pine trees and it up in a dim coloured frenzy that I could see coming for kilometers; the whole world drawn on, like the chairs and tables that I forgot to move from the sausage cafe after the huge gong sounded its special sound and the customers were ushered to the side so that the huge, cooked sausage could slide it's way through the middle.; a black and white me, a black and white harbor, a black and white pier and a black and white sea, where drawn on ship was about to set sail and you hopped on it and you raised your hand, with drawn on waving marks on either side. As it left I went down to the water, which had turned red ink blood red, and I washed my hands. Then the drawings stopped. This is real. I lay in bed with a man who had a face full of needles and spider hands. This is not real. Other men have crawled almost naked along the floor toward me as I stood at my mum's full length mirror (full length - so you could look at yourself in bed?) and snarled 'tongues and toes, tongues and toes'. Mum always kept a list of happy making sayings above her bed. Phrases like: 'love your self' and 'you are body beautiful' and I couldn't imagine a day when I would need a list to help me get up in the morning. A boy I liked - his dad owned the fish and chip shop and when we visited his dog humped my friend's leg and we laughed about that until she cried - kissed me on a mountain but I couldn't remember if he used his tongue. In my retelling, though, the edge of it slid along my teeth. I had sex in a field with my whole family. There have been so many babies - small, late aborted looking ones that I have alternatively taken great care of and then dropped and lost in an apron; other people's being pushed along highways - from one farm house to another; my babies that I haven't quite been able to get to. You don't even have to guess what age I was when a washing machine full of blood came bouncing toward me like some mixamatosis-happy rabbit with an hour to live.
Now I am older. We can start again. I have been to a place in the mountains of Thailand so many times. Not really doing a thing there, just sailing over it to the temple at the top of the hill or bouncing along the fields. I don't even like temples - especially on hills - but this one overlooks the whole valley and when I go there I take it all in, knowing those mountains as I do. If you've ever fallen in love, and you have I think, you might visit that love like I have visited this town. I shouldn't be afraid to talk about obsession. I have also visited a man like that. Men. I have tried to fly to them to meet them in the sky like in that movie where the woman has super powers and is really pissed off but they just appear as animals or arrive on the driveway with their dick in my mouth. One night I held his balls against my face, their yeasty smell and their softness and warmth and bristles. Someone told me recently that noone likes balls but I do. Especially after that. It makes me wonder about teabagging, which couldn't possibly be sexy but, rather, sweet. At the end of a love, a great, great one, I fell for someone else and he found out and chopped off that man's head. It was confronting to see such a beautiful head, so calm and noble and strong nosed and dark, on the floor of a lounge room that wasn't mine. 'I had to do it', said my former love as the head sat there and leaked nothing onto the floor. The rest of the body, I knew, was decapitated in the bath. My former love grew weary at his task of chopping the man up and storing him in the freezer. He grew so weary that he couldn't go on and took off his clothes and climbed in the freezer himself. 'You'll die in there.' I told him as I closed the door, but he knew that. And I knew I would now have to get rid of the body. But there have been other people in my life, it's not just me. Sometimes I am a man, or a woman. Sometimes I am a girl sitting naked at a window, watching out for a stalker while the whole town, including parents who aren't mine, search for him. My friend and I swapped bodies one night and I was excited as I discovered long thick hair and scarves and then went to meet me at a party. I wish for the times where everyone I've ever met is in the same place. But that doesn't happen very often anymore. Neither wandering through houses with rooms that never end. Neither nudity. Neither spending time with you when we were children even though we only met eight years ago. Your face when you're young is the same as it is now but you have more freckles as a small you, and you are calm. Calmer. Except when you beat me on your bike.
Last night I was with a man that I've let go of, following him around a dull party. He doesn't have a past or a future but when he's there there is noone else in the room. I hope I don't see him again.