Pain shoots up through my ankle, echoing in my knee. I look down at this stunted tree stump, and I want to kick it again as hard as I can but I don’t because I’ve already stubbed my toe once, and once is enough. It makes no sense to me that the human body decided that fingers and toes should have so many nerve endings, so many ways to feel pain. There’s a row of tree stumps back here, six I think, that used to be big old gum trees at the back of the oval. They cut them down after what happened to Anna K. A family of possums used to live in those big old gums, and we all used to feed them bits of our lunch and stuff but it never really seemed like a big issue. Sometimes they’d be a bit cheeky and come and steal something right out of your lap if you weren’t looking, but it hardly ever happened – they knew their place. It wasn’t til Anna K. went and put her face right up in theirs that there was a problem. She was down on her knees like a dog, waggling a bit of sandwich at one of them from her mouth, trying to get it to take it right from her lips cos she thought it would be cute I guess. The possum must have freaked out, cos it started screeching and hissing and smacked her across the face, then bit her hand when she tried to push it away. She wasn’t scratched up badly or anything, but Anna K. had a modelling contract so her Mum threatened to sue the school and I guess that relocating the possums and cutting down the trees was the compromise. Katie says it’s pretty much always people’s fault when animals do crazy things, because people have behavioural standards to rely on. I guess I kind of agree with her.
Postcards from Indonesia:
The piece of batik-painted cloth I bought is throwing gold fish across the bed. It’s not beautiful to touch, yet. It’s still slightly plasticky under my fingertips, still waiting to have its edges loved off. I am looking forward to a hot summer night some time, when it’s grown soft and old and is starting to become ghostlike. It will smell of incense and wine. It will have grown holes that I will never get around to repairing. It will have wrapped picnic utensils and hosted parades of ants. It will be full of smoke and secrets. Under a halogen night light, I’ll lay it on a patch of grass and set a lover’s head in its folds and watch the wrinkles around their eyes slide off into the fabric.