finbar sits in his ragged shirt; it is unbuttoned, and the wind is slinking across his chest and into the sleeves. yellow shoots of scorched grass press into the backs of his legs. a surfboard lies beside him. he runs a brown hand through brown hair, pushing it off his forehead and behind an ear. he is callused and dry and sunburnt and windswept; eyes red from the salt water. his lips are chapped. there is skin peeling above his collarbones.teetering on the outskirts of his thirties, finbar left his home in eltham, victoria, at nineteen, and never went back, drawn to the sea. he epitomised the traveller: unruly and brashly confident, warm with charisma but isolated. he blazed across the world, sometimes quietly, adrift to people and unanchored to time. he smiled and thumbs-upped his way into backpackers and three star motels and out again, into cheap meals and free rides–
there are seagulls croaking at him. he throws a handful of sand at them, then looks guilty. the breeze runs hot, unkind fingers through his shaggy hair. the fabric of his shirt winces away from it. he has to pick up his son in an hour. but he only stares at the ocean.
“You just terminate the conversation with your anyways.” She wrinkled her nose in displeasure. “As if you have got somewhere to be.”
“Maybe I do,” he said.
“I like to be in control,” she continued, as if he had not spoken. “Hence my rebelling against the anyways and continuing the conversation regardless.”
“Why don’t you read?” She was genuinely facinated. Needing to read — the itch to fall deeply, bottomlessly, endlessly, into another world — was the same feeling as wanting to kiss somebody.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I should.”
She smiled, confused.
You see Tarspen Elia’s eyes first. They are bright and afraid.
The wind whips red dust into your face. You brush it away restlessly. Your cheeks are hot; the air is sticky. You can feel your heart pumping through your skin.
Only her forehead and the tip of her nose is above the lip of the cliff at first. And her hands: bloodless knuckles, and fingers gripping deep and desperate into the warm dirt like claws. Continue reading
“You throw like a girl.”
“You make insults like a loser who cannot come up with a better insult.”
grief, it is such a funny thing.
it is such a feeling feeling.
you cannot help but … feel it. and feel it with every fibre of your being; every hair on your body raised; shivery; the choking feeling of it in your throat, your lungs; every muscle tense, aching, strained; hands warm because the blood burns through you.
your eyes leak and your nose runs and the emotion — just the raw intensity of feeling the feeling — courses through you in all its violence. and suddenly it is gone. it has trickled out of your pores and you are left weak and tingling and empty: your cheeks still wet, your nose still running, your heart still sore.
“You’re cute,” he said.
“Don’t call me cute,” she told him. “I am not cute.”
“Okay, you’re ugly.”
She raised her eyebrows. “I am not something for you to comment on.”
every summer, they come.
when the air is heavy with the scent of flowers and the breeze is warm and the sun scorches through the trees and bakes the earth.
dancing over the ground they arrive; rising through the sky, dropping so low their wings graze the dry, crackling grass.
as silent as the stars slide into nighttime; the butterflies mean summer.
they are all things warm, and joyful and airy and gentle. they mean mild nights under a sky still light. they are the gold of sunshine soaking across the world; birds’ trills sung until all brightness of day has faded; the humidity and oppression of australian summer balanced by gentle summer rain.
and every summer, georgie chased them. the dog was a baby, long-limbed and athletic. and the butterflies played with her, swooping higher into the sky as she launched herself off the ground after them; then dropping down again, flying right by past her nose teasingly when she landed back on the ground.
watching them, the summer was a pause; a momentary, fleeting lifetime.
every summer, as they come, they go.
in memory of georgie.