Things I Will Always Remember (Sweet)

The first time I ever felt like a Very Serious Writer, when Mum bought me a blue marble-covered notebook for my writing, with a hologram fairy sticker on the front.

The quietness of the time I was too sick to go to school for months, the restfulness of just reading and drawing and listening to music and walking every day, the hilariousness of everybody thinking I’d had a secret baby when I finally went back to school.

Sarah and I taking a whole set of real china with lukewarm tea and biscuits, and squeezing ourselves into the tiny, wooded gap between the fence and her tennis court to have a tea party when we were probably far too old for tea parties.

Seeing Nathan at the end of the aisle waiting for me; seeing him tear up as he read his vows to me.

The first moment when Posie actually showed that she loved me, when she ran to me and wanted to be picked up after being scared by a cat, after ten long months of acting like I was holding her hostage.

The time that my uncle tried to convince me that I wouldn’t like oysters, but I certainly did.

When I worked at Myer in the city, and I would go downstairs to the food court to buy lunch for me and the Big Issue seller called Chris who had four children and a wife that left him after he was in an accident and had an acquired brain injury.

A watch that Dad got me – jaunty green metal on a leather band, with a little black cat in the middle and a mouse that ran around in a circle instead of a second hand.

When my psychologist, who I hadn’t seen in years, called me one night out of the blue to tell me that he’d been to Easter Island and that I should go too one day.

The first dollar I made from writing, then the first hundred, then the first thousand.

I was in a park to take a big family photo for my grandparents, with my long hair and my pink fluffy dress, and a little girl came up to me and asked if I was a fairy – I said yes, of course.

Stealing a kiss behind a tree when Nathan was meant to be going to a concert and his friends were waiting for him, back when we were each other’s happy secret.

Seeing my parents’ faces when they saw me in a cap and gown at my graduation ceremony.

The time I spent last year in Tokyo and Taiwan, the time in my life when I have felt most free.

Zooming down the summit at Falls Creek with my sister like total pros until we both had cataclysmic crashes a couple of metres apart in a patch of trees, and laughing so hard at how we looked like such disasters that people actually stopped to try to help us.

All of my times in Ubud at my favourite hotel, where I always have nothing to do except sleep, swim, eat, read and think as much as I want or of nothing at all.

When Rupert stole lamb chops from our dinner plates on his first night with us, totally shameless.

Things I Will Always Remember (Sour)

Accidentally calling my teacher “Mum” when I was in my first year of school.

Taking a sip from the teapot at my mother’s tea party when I was tiny, scalding the inside and outside of my mouth, and then lying about having put a domino in my mouth and that it must have been poisonous or something.

Letting myself be naïve enough to be sucked into an elaborate fantasy constructed by a couple of nasty girls at school.

The woman that rammed my ankles with her pram and told me to “fucking move” when I was browsing the shelves at Borders on Christmas Eve.

Dragging my baby sister around on the living room carpet while she laughed and laughed, until we discovered the gigantic carpet burn on the back of her head.

Seeing myself in the mirror for the first time after my nose had been ripped to pieces; the fat, smug middle-aged man in the waiting room who smiled at me while I was in shock and covered in blood, saying, “I guess you won’t be pretty anymore”.

When I accidentally sucked up a nest of baby mice in the vacuum cleaner, didn’t realise and put it away without emptying it, only to discover the rotting chopped up baby mouse soup in the barrel the next time we tried to use it.

Waking up, walking down the hallway in a tank top and underwear, realizing that two huge men had broken into my kitchen – trying to rationalize for a second that they must be Nathan’s friends or something, before my instincts kicked in and I screamed bloody murder and chased them out into the street.

The time that my vision started flickering in my right eye and I couldn’t figure out why, until I went to the mirror and saw a huge moth attached to my fringe, beating its wings against my eyelid and cheek.

That drunk snake of a girl at a post-show party who was much taller than me, and when I hugged her goodbye, she leaned over my shoulder and tried to kiss Nathan on the lips.

Letting myself be slandered and losing people who I thought were my friends, because I was determined to be ‘classy’ by keeping my mouth shut and not defending myself by telling the truth because that person had made me feel like nobody would believe me.

Severe turbulence on a long flight across a wide ocean, bad enough that my orange juice spilled everywhere, bad enough that people screamed and cried each time we dropped.

When Rupert had come home from intensive care with bandages all over his head from muscle biopsies, still too sick to even walk or eat properly, Nathan was away in Canberra, and I was too terrified to sleep in case he died during the night.

When we had come to Australia on a holiday and were staying in a cabin somewhere, and I lost the gold and sapphire signet ring that my aunt bought for me, and never found it.

Going alone to a random man’s hotel room when I was sixteen years old and being shocked when he tried to kiss me, because I really did believe that he just wanted to show me his new jazz records.

Waking up during anaesthetic, in the operating room but before they had started, asking “is it over?”, seeing panicked eyes and quickly being knocked out again.

When I lifted my new, tiny puppy in the air and her head narrowly missed the spinning overhead fan.