Out with friends.
Too much food.
Roll me home.
Out with friends.
Too much food.
Roll me home.
A baby shower
punctuated by ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’
and all things delicate and pink.
Hurting heart from all
this crazy talk you sprout to me.
Let us heal together.
There is a little place with a big wooden door that jingles when you open it. As you walk into this little room, your ears are tickled by the crackly voice of Billie Holiday or a scatting Ella Fitzgerald and comforting smiles from ladies in lovely dresses and pearls slow your heart beat down and you feel your breath soften.
The tables are set perfectly – all white – and there are chandeliers and a wall of tea. Sitting down, you’re served with a mini cup of tea – usually one of my favourites, French Earl Grey – and you’re greeted with kindness and respect. Welcome to Queenies – a traditional teahouse in Nundah that feeds not only your belly with its sweet and savoury delights, but a place peppered with people who know how to nurture your soul.
Whatever emptiness you arrived with will be gone by the time you’re ready to leave this place of refuge. Which you won’t – you won’t ever want to leave this enchanting place that serves ribbon sandwiches, perfect cheesecake, tea and so much more in the way of comfort.
slices of comfort
on white plates speak to me in
sugar twists and nectarous blooms.
pastel cups and teapots
gush colour into our eyes –
our bellies heavy with love.
we breathe as the door
jingles open – a refuge
from dusty tracks of construction.
After a morning of watching cattle of all ages, colours and genders being herded through clanging metal gates so they could be tagged and vaccinated, the sounds and smells took me back to the times I’ve spent on my friends cattle station in Barcaldine. Meagan, a dear friend I had known for most of my life, died from Cystic Fibrosis in may 1999. She had always wanted me to visit, but there was always one of us sick. When I had my transplant in 1998, the risk of cross infection was too great and we lost our angel.
In 2001, I decided to do a pilgrimage of sorts to Cumberland – the cattle station where Meags grew up. I’ve returned a few times over the years, though the time I spend with Meagan’s Mum, Dad and two sisters is always too short lived. When I have to leave, I wail about returning to the city. Sorrow rolls over me like the heavy blankets of heat do, while the silence really is deafening as it beats a bloody tune around your ears.
As I unfurled my body on the first morning; my bones, sinew and muscles meshing back together, I discovered a deep and knowing love and understanding of the land – and we all know that true love lasts a lifetime.
Wednesday 2nd October, 2002
one gone, one strong
Today we had an experience of blatant irony. We transplanted two trees. The first looked like it had more guts to it – fatter trunk, leaves more splayed, plump branches and not on too much of a lean. Then the other – gaunt like a ghost gum. Both were Coolabahs. Threadbare leaves; no veins running through the ashen foliage and no spirit about it. And so today came the tale of the two trees.
Kerry briskly dug one out next to the old shearers quarters. The next, he dragged up at the bull ring – bobcat bouncing like a rubber dinghy in a choppy swell. His kids visiting from Warwick looked on as their Dad tried to uproot them as gently as possible, which seemed fairly odd considering he was unclotting them from such dry soil with a dirty excavator.
One by one, he dragged them out of the ground and drove them back to the homestead, dumping the trees where Katrina pointed, her freckled hands nursing a cup of coffee. Earlier, Kerry had dug the holes where the trees would be transplanted and Katrina had shoved a hose deep into each well to drown the soil – the only element they could survive with.
Both in, we let the water run for another half hour and soon enough, the weakling was on a lean. Jay poured a rum, Sue had a wine and Katrina and I had a beer, minds mulling over the flat plains as the sun set deep behind mountains I couldn’t see, seemingly sinking into a far off ocean to shave off a few billion degrees.
Jay is a man of few words, but he looked over to the trees and said something about ‘waiting and seeing.’ I think the day had brought with it heavy thoughts of his daughter who had to lean into death, then he looked to the girl who clawed her way back to life – me, sucking on an amber neck, absorbed in the minutes leading to sapphire skies, just like Jay.