November 14, 2008


Feeling pretty schlumpy on this fine Friday night, so I'm going to post a short story I wrote I think a bit more than a year ago. It was when I was still living in Townsville, and my entire family were all living in the one house - my parents, me and my three brothers (and our chihuahuas!). I've really been missing that time lately - my brothers and I became really close and spent most of our time together. I miss the hours we'd spend together just laying around, listening to music or watching someone play a game on the computer, talking, laughing. I think I credit my style of creativity to my brothers, and the things we came up with together.
My brothers are my absolute favourite people in the entire world, I'm more comfortable with them than anyone else, I love the people they are, or are growing up to be. It's no secret that I hate Townsville, I hated being there, and the only thing that kept me sane (if you could call it that) was my family.

The one place I did love in Townsville was the walking path along the Ross River - it was this beautiful damp, dark, bushy path beside the river, with mosquitos and droopy trees. I used to walk along it every single day after work for the last two months I lived there, and just think and dream.
So here's a story I wrote one day after it had been raining for about a week. Nick and I went for a walk down by the river to take photos and explore. Dedicated to Nick, Jay and Mitchie.

Ramal owns the park. We went for a walk on the moors beside the park, down the concrete stair. We walked most of the way snaking the river and when we went back his name was written in the patch of sand near the stair. He wanted us to know that he was watching. After that we walked around the park and stopped in some big old trees to take photographs of the hanging vines, the names carved in, the old string with popped balloons. A couple of kids rode past, watching us silently. Probably Ramal's friends. Spies. Sending them out for information on these strange outsiders.

We kept walking, stopping now and then to take photos of mushrooms, or a swing in someone's exposed back yard. It looked more jungle than house. None of the houses bordering the river have back fences, some just huge flowering trees, like flowers could keep out robbers. These people probably let Ramal wander into their homes, watch TV, go through their fridge. Watching out for him, they think, but it's really the other way round.
We found a pile of sticks like a kid's campfire. Probably Ramal, he eats where he likes.

I had mud in my shoes, my work shoes, and I squelched when I walked. There were mosquito bites up and down my arms from venturing into those trees. The trees that grew like the inside of the Alien spaceship looks, all twisted muscle and womblike.
We eventually made it to the weir, where we took photos of the crags and trees growing in the huge river, middle of nowhere trees. Dirty looking foam gathering in the pools at the outer sides. Four men were standing on the gushing weir, fishing. The overspill looked strong enough to push you over but they just stood, casting, not catching anything.
Tanned and leather-brown from all their time in the sun, we laughed at the thought of how incredibly pale we were. An obvious sign, along with our puff and sweating that we never went out for walks. Could they tell? We took photos of them with their backs turned and walked on.

We sat in a perfect gazebo, changing film and stared for a few minutes. Found a playground where Nick took shots of me. Walking across a chain bridge I was surprised how much it hurt my feet, surprised how the fireman's pole rubbed my hands and the slide looked hopelessly small, the entire playground breakneck. Was it like that when I was small, did it hurt?

Crossing the weir had brought us to the rich suburb, and it was unsettling. We crossed back into the mosquito and pot-hole squalor of our own neighbourhood. Speculating about how Ramal lives in a hollowed-out cave in the weir. He has to shimmy under the waterfall to get inside. Every kid that passed was a minion of Ramal. All these kids have bikes. More names carved in a tree, handprints in cement. Ramal's Park.

The unfenced houses looked so inviting, I was tempted to break in, just walk around in the gloom. Overcast day, the whole world is grey, but somehow I'm still sunburnt.
Girls walking the track in front of us, would they freak out if we walked up close behind them? Not talking, staring at the back of their heads, maybe making a low-pitched breathing sound like in Doom.
Ramal would find out.

More photos of mushrooms, remind me of my friend who ate magic ones. Where can I get some?
Ramal is a modern day Peter Pan, Robin Hood. Maybe he's a ghost, maybe he died in this park and now he's here to protect all the other kids. Maybe his mother left him in this park when he was a baby, and it's all he knows. Wonder if he patrols at night. He probably skateboards while the other kids ride bikes. He's probably ninth grade, or at least would be if he went to school. Old enough so the other kids look up to him. The only thing I know for sure, if you go down to the park...Ramal's watching.

So there it is, hope you enjoyed it.
On another note, I've had this massive craving all day for cakes, pastries, pancakes, custard, DESSERT.
So I went to Foodworks and went a little mental with my grocery money, and now instead of eating any real meals this week I will be living on a solid diet of pancakes and cream. Here's my first attempt at making an awesome dessert...chocolate poundcake (the best kind of cake) with custard and blackberries, microwave for two minutes, enjoy.

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