Monday, 24 August 2015

Hearts Don't Break.

My plane touched down in Melbourne last Friday and I still don’t even know how planes work.

Suddenly realised I hadn’t been to Melbourne for a while. I love Melbourne but this time it felt different .. and not in a good way. The airport shuttle bus took me to the city centre and I wandered around there for a while feeling incredibly self-conscious and a bit sad and like a fish out of water.

So I did what any freaked out person would do in that situation .. saw a woman sitting down on the pavement with tarot cards in front of her and sat down in front of her.

She read my cards. Parts of what she said I can’t remember because everything she was saying was spot on and blew me out of myself. We both looked each other in the eyes pretty deeply. Her going rate for card reading was five bucks but I gave her a twenty, thanked her. The reading was worth so much more than money. Took a photo of a fire hydrant and thought, “Hello fire hydrant!” 

Because to me everything in the world is a something and it looked pretty cute. Way, way out of my comfort zone I went across town to the serviced apartments to stay with Kristy, the organiser of the Imperfect Mum Conference. We spoke non-stop for two hours. Kristy was balls-deep in organising mode and I just arrived by myself with nothing but myself to share. I’d already written my talk in my notepad to read out the next day because I STILL don’t know how to do a powerpoint presentation and I believe words are more powerful than images anyway. So I went to the conference but the word conference is too businessy. It was a gathering of people who had nothing but themselves to share.

Kristy and I.

The beautiful Nathalie.

And they did and I did and at the end during the panel discussion I was answering a question and imitated how little and small and high-pitched my voice was before I got strong to illustrate the power of how strong a voice can get. Then I busted out “You gotta lose yourself in the music the moment you own it you better never let it go you only get one shot do NOT miss your chance to blow coz opportunity knocks once in a lifetime, yo.” Then I got embarrassed for being a show-off, because sometimes I am a show-off. (I don’t think opportunity knocks once in a lifetime. It knocks every day.)


So the conference was INCREDIBLY INCREDIBLE and I had so many amazing conversations and just blurted all my stuff out every chance I got and I made friends that will last for the rest of my life. Joined people for dinner afterwards and was sad when I ordered the soft shell crab because soft shell crab means you actually EAT the soft shell and it kind of looked like a big deep-fried huntsmen. I asked everyone if they knew that genital crabs were actually crabs with little tiny nippers? Then I said let’s go dancing. Nathalie was there but she had to go home so she thrust $50 in my hand for her dinner and when I tried to give her $20 change she told me to give it to somebody who needed it, because that’s the kind of person she is.

Five of us were left so we all went dancing but everywhere we went was strange so we walked from place to place looking for the right dancing place. Nightclubs have changed a lot since back in the day - for a start there’s not even a proper dance floor? I kept asking the security guards at each place, “Look, it’s been a while … is there an actual dance floor here or what?” I drank two red bulls and we decided to try one last place which was packed but it had not just an actual dance floor .. but a PODIUM. Young drunk girls with tight skirts and stilettos were dancing on the podium and I wanted to dance on the podium to show these young guns how it’s done. (See: show off.)

Cowboy boots, jeans, hair that was NOT sleek, a feather necklace and tattoos. 43 years old. Sober as a judge. I haven’t been out dancing since my brother died. I love dancing. Then I felt a hankering for something so I told the girls I’d be back and I walked around the nightclub. I was looking for something I just didn’t know what. A man? A conversation? A connection? I walked around twice and then felt really self conscious and went back to the girls. A fight broke out and I yelled PUNCH UUUUP and for some reason I really enjoyed watching it. Then I realised the cops were there and I freaked out until I remembered I had nothing to hide anymore. Felt good. Had a huge panic attack in front of the girls afterwards - HUGE. I've never had one in front of other people. I cried so hard. They were just so beautiful and talked me back to earth.

Got to sleep at 3am and woke up like I’d been hit by a bus. Here's where things got interesting. All of us packing up the place, tired and hungry and exhausted and as we all stood in the lift after we left I said “Oh. I left my phone on charge in the apartment.” The apartment with the keys left inside. We tried everything … I even asked Kristy to google “How to pick a lock” and this guy's You Tube tutorial on using two paperclips was MUCH easier said than done.

Almost two hours later I bid the girls goodbye, told them to go, I felt SO bad for making them all wait and told them I’d wait for the locksmith by myself. Hugged Kristy goodbye hard, she didn’t care. She said everything happens for a reason and thanked me because I probably avoided a huge catastrophe waiting for one of us had we all left on time. I like it when people think outside what people usually think. The locksmith came and asked my name and then told me his doctor was called Eden Riley and I said no way! The locksmith was gorgeous, put his headlight on like a miner and drilled the lock until it magically opened I told him I could kiss him, ran in and got my phone that was completely charged! Watching him put the lock back on I said, “So , theoretically, you could break into anybody’s house.” 

“Of course.” 

Then he googled his doctors name but it was Eden Raleigh and I said close, but no cigar. He left.

Because of what Kristy said, I felt acutely aware that every interaction I had with any person after that would not have happened if I hadn’t locked my phone in the apartment. My taxi driver was from Somalia. He fled in 1991 when he was just sixteen years old and hasn’t been back since. He misses his mother and brothers, but he’s married with three children of his own and they’re all teenagers who are so addicted to technology he has to go and check in on them in their rooms to make sure they’re still alive. He gets so fed up with it he takes the Foxtel card with him to work. After he pulled up at my destination we talked for ten more minutes until we said goodbye and how nice it was to meet each other. Then I went into 7/11 for a bad coffee and as the construction worker in front of me made his coffee he told me he can only drink a small one otherwise he’ll just be pissing all day. I laughed so hard and told him about my man bladder so big that even when I was heavily pregnant I slept all night without having to get up and go to the loo and once I sat down on the toilet so hard it broke. We both laughed so hard, standing there talking about piss. He left and then an old guy was swearing at the man behind the counter because the ATM had swallowed his card, “What the hell am I gonna do now?” I went over to diffuse the situation because it wasn’t the guy behind the counters fault. Told the swearing guy to call the bank first thing and they’d retrieve his card and it must be a pain in the arse but these things happen. He’d said if he hadn’t already got his money out the ATM machine would be on the floor.

I bought two bananas because my nan always said they were good brain food then I walked outside and felt really weird like I sometimes do in public. Like everyone is looking at me but they’re not, they’re probably too busy wondering if everybody is looking at them. I found myself standing in the exact same spot I’d had my tarot cards read. My bags were heavy so I stood there awkwardly, early for the airport shuttle. A woman came up to me and asked if I had any change and I said of course I do. She was beautiful. Had really bad teeth and told me I was the exact opposite to every person she’d asked and I suddenly remembered Nathalie telling me to give the twenty bucks to someone who needed it so I did. She was so relieved and told me she wasn’t going to use it for drugs and asked me my name. When I told her, the look in her eyes was so wistful. “Oh my foster carers used to take me to Eden when I was a kid, you know the town Eden down south? I’m transgender. The only happy memories of my childhood were when I went to Eden.” And the look on her face made me want to cry. She walked off and then I saw the tarot card reader walking up the street talking to herself. I wondered if she was talking to herself or somebody else.

When I sat down on the bench this old woman walked by me and we both smiled at each other so she came over to tell me that she couldn’t stop. If she stopped she’d never get going again. And that her grandson kept telling her that she was very old but she was NOT to die yet. “I’m 87. He wants me to die when I’m 92 … who wants to live until they’re 92? Not me. My husband died when he was 47. Heart attack. He worried too much.” I made a mental note to stop worrying so much because I don’t want to die at 47. The woman was Chinese and had hair that just sprang out from her head in tight white curls. “My grandson asked if his grandfather was an Angel and if he was, do Angels get hungry? I told him Angels don’t get hungry, that all they need is love.” 

I sat, completely spellbound by all of these people. When I got on the bus I found myself crying, holding my hand over my heart, feeling it beat. Still pumping. Hearts don’t break. If you think your heart is broken put your hand over it and feel.

See? Still working. Open, not broken.

After all that, I wasn’t looking for anything anymore. Not a thing. As the plane flew I looked down at the clouds from above.

When I was a kid I used to think you could sit on clouds. Even though I know you can't, they're still magical.

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