There’s a full moon tonight. Not an ordinary full moon; it’s a blood moon and a blue moon and an eclipse all at once. We light many candles and I write down my desperate hope for abundance into a letter. I burn it under the moon. The moon burns red as it is eclipsed, the fire burns my words.
By the next morning we are walking through a beautiful home that has just come up for rent. The real estate agent tells us there is another home just across the road. It is beautiful too. “How is this for abundance?” I ask Bee, giddy that all of this has happened so quickly after weeks of searching. We drive to an Airbnb near Alba’s school. The owners read a post I’d shared about not finding a home and kindly offered it to us for a few weeks.
It’s an A frame house set down a path bordered with vines. It has brick walls and a staircase and high ceilings and hanging lights. It’s my dream home. “We’re thinking of renting it out,” the owners tell us. We walk around in a daze, in utter disbelief that we could call this place home. We decide we will. We have to.
We read books from the hammock beside the bamboo trees, we work on our laptops at the kitchen table, we have movie nights. Mira comes to stay and we ask if she’d like to live with us and she says yes without hesitation. We drink rosé and play our guitars and sing and plan creative projects together. Too quickly we have to leave, they have bookings for the house for another month and we’ll be able to move in after that.
Anxiety builds about the in-between. We have to be close enough to school for me to take Alba, since I don’t drive and Bee works. But all of our friends live in the city. Anxiety becomes a resting place. It becomes normal to feel on edge, for my chest to feel tight and my head to ring.
Things with Bee are still hard sometimes. I feel so far from my friends and my family. I have this feeling with my career like I am running and running and running but not getting anywhere at all. The unknown is a hard place for me to be.
Every day has sharp edges. I stay between them, smiling and joking. But I reach out to touch them sometimes. And sometimes the space between me and them grows too small.
I think when you grow up with violence, you sometimes grow more susceptible to the pull of anger. I am ashamed for how angry I feel sometimes. I don’t tear apart rooms like my mother did and I’m not violent like my father and ex were, but I still lose my temper. Most of the time I can numb myself to it, blur the sharp feelings like I’d blur streetlights into soft glowing circles as a child in the backseat of the car. But sometimes it blinds me. In one of those blinded moments I throw my phone against the ground and it fills with fractures.
Sometimes I have this sense I am a spectator of my own life. I wonder about this childish girl who thinks she has such a handle of herself but breaks a phone she can’t afford to replace. It seems like it’s her desperate way of saying, I’m not doing okay, I’m really not doing okay. I decide I need to listen. I need to slow down. I need to look after myself better.
One day I’m dropping Alba at school when a group of parents gathered outside the classroom call me over. “We heard you guys were looking for somewhere to stay a while,” they say. They offer their spare rooms, their sofa beds, their homes. Their kindness floors me.
We stay with Alba’s friend Caroline’s family. One night Caroline’s father tells us the most wonderful stories late into the night. Stories of daring sea rescues, a goodbye note scrawled on the back of an airplane manual in case he never returned to his family. Of growing up amidst unbelievable violence in Ireland. Of the French prime minister flying here to shake his hand in gratitude for saving a French man lost at sea.
He was a real life hero. I’d never have known if we hadn’t stayed here. It strikes me that I often go through life underestimating those around me. It reminds me of the depth of the lives of strangers and makes me long to know everyone’s stories.
We stay with my step brother Oli after that. I didn’t grow up with him but he’d do anything for me, just like family. He lets me work from his studio and brings me kombucha and takes me to yoga classes. He laughs when I tell him about my phone and gives me his old one. My father met his mother in England and my father has lived there since. Oli is a filmmaker and when he was travelling the world making films he fell in love with Fremantle. Now here we both are.
Some days feel too good to be real. My friend Nicole comes to Perth and one day Al picks us up in his van and takes us out. We eat giant slices of pizza on the sidewalk and run into the ocean and head to a free gig by a lake. Bands play sets from the back of a truck and we lay down on picnic rugs warm from wine and sunshine.
One day Bee and I are driving around our soon-to-be suburb when we pass a little cafe and plant store. We stop the car to look inside. I spot creative studios downstairs. I ask about them, out of curiosity really, it feels like a wild and distant dream to have my own space. “Actually, there’s someone wanting to rent a desk space out in her studio,” someone tells me. I write down my email on a piece of paper. I thank the universe.
The owner of the studio invites me in to look. She tells me she’s been reading my blog for years and that she’d love to have me in there. Just like that I’m signing a lease and I have a space away from home for my creative work. It feels profound. I drop Alba to school and I walk through the smell of fresh coffee and the jungle of plants and I unlock the door to the studio with my own set of keys. I can hardly believe it.
I get glasses and suddenly the world is sharp and crisp and I walk down the street gasping and crying at the details in leaves and the edges of clouds and all the little patterns in the world I’d been missing all along.
Alba sees the joy in all things. Falls asleep happily in any bed, so long as I tuck her in with kisses and she has her favourite soft fox. One day we’re sitting with my friend Zal and she says very genuinely, “Thank you for being the kindest person Zal.” He’s so touched, and I’m so touched to see her expressing gratitude like that.
She’s always doing that. Friends tell me I’m the same. Each day I put a love note in Alba’s lunch box. She keeps her favourites tucked away safe and it makes me want to squish her face and cover it with kisses. I’m so happy she still lets me.
We finally have a home. We throw a housewarming where bands play in our front yard and people play ping pong and I cook enough food for everyone. What a difference it makes to have a cosy home and kind friends and a creative studio. All this abundance. It was worth waiting for.
A journal entry.
“You think about death a lot when you’ve lost someone close. At least I do. Every day. This intangible mythical unimaginable horror becomes as real as birthdays and the ocean and fevers. I’ve seen the deaths of everyone I love in my mind again and again. I’ve seen their bodies and spoken at funerals and cried myself to sleep in my thoughts. Goodbyes have a dark underlining, a real possibility that they could be the last. After hard days I look at my sweet daughter fast asleep and I wonder if she’ll wake, and if she doesn’t, how will I ever live with myself not appreciating her enough, not being patient enough, not being present enough? How could I ever live in a world without her, where every little fucking thing would remind me of her. When Bee is away I look at our messages and wonder, terrified, if those are the last messages he’ll ever send me. What if I’m stuck staring at those little hearts and daily declarations of love for all of time, the place where the stream stopped forever. Have I told my friends I love them enough? My mother? My father? If I die tomorrow will my family be okay? I mourn all the novels I left unpenned, all the projects left half finished, all the mistakes left unforgiven. Life feels fragile. It’s beautiful to know death in some ways. I make my love known. I remember to notice the fleeting tiny breaths of moments with my family. To see the world like I’ll never see it again; so that’s a sky, and that’s how music sounds, and that’s how ripe strawberries taste. To recognise the preciousness of time. To live honestly with myself. But it’s a dark undercurrent. It hasn’t even been two years yet since my brother died, maybe it’ll get easier, maybe the anxiety will let up a little. But right now I’m equally heartbreakingly grateful for all I have and terrified for all I have to lose.”