Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Why am I here? I keep asking myself that question, thinking now would be a good time to reverse a lifetime of clean lung and take up smoking. I'm assured it is relatively quick, convenient, comes with state approval and I could shovel fistfuls of cigarettes into my mouth while leaning on balconies at 3am. I bet smokers do that and I bet it gives them some form of relief.

It's not the house. The house is perfect. I lose myself in some private world with the view from the roof, over the trees, to the bay, the distant hills, the clouds.

It is the sleeplessness. The sleeplessness, and the anxiety. Because Tiger is furious that we have brought her here, to this house on a hill, surrounded by trees, night town sounds and wet jungle smells. She is so furious that each time her head drops to her pillow in exhaustion, the electric bolt of rage shoots through her body, charges her upwards and emerges in a terrifying burst of screaming rage.

So I'm dumping the travel books too. The ones about travelling with children. The totally pointless waste of print and page which explain in agonising detail about what to do with an insect bite, then reassure you that your child won't mind you liberally spraying the repellent available for purchase at all the local pharmacies because they'll be rapt with awe at butterflies the size of your hand.

Crap. Nowhere in those books does it tell you what to do with a small child suddenly at war with the pain of powerlessness, of feeling her whole life just got snatched away and lies in pieces, thrown away several thousand miles behind her.

You might be smitten by the butterflies mother, but your child just sees the fear and the danger and the terror of it all. All the everything. The loss of home. The horrible sudden arrival into otherness. The strange, the unfamiliar, the loud, the scary, the unpredictable, the unknowable. The terrible, terrible butterflies.

Tiger, I'm here to make it work. I'm going to make this work, even if in the short term, for us all, and that's for you included. If I could do it by telling you I love you, then I would do that, but I know expressions of love aren't enough. I'll work with you and alongside you because I am not helpless, and you are not alone.

Meanwhile, I'm off into town to equip myself with a bulk consignment of Marlboro.