Monday, September 28, 2015

Fragments of Friends by Ky

There are a few new posts under this one too, by the way, so don't miss out on them. But this is the exciting bit. There will be a new serial on A WineDark Sea, starting today. Remember when I threw open AWDS for guest posters? My mate Ky took it seriously. So seriously, he's about six months seven thousand words over the limit but he's come up with a beautiful series of stories about his life and loves over decades. I'll post the first segment today and then twice a week. I hope you enjoy. Take it away Ky ...

Fragments of Friends

'Let your love be disgraceful, crazy and wild. If you are too holy god will escape you'
I was her age now when I met her. She was selling handmade jewelry in a
marketplace. She was 20, in love, and almost pregnant.
One of those people you want to know forever and to whom I've now had to say goodbye.
On the road i have said goodbye to many friends acquaintances, passer-byes, angels, lovers and over time it became easy, accept the inevitable and move on.
It wasn't so easy to say goodbye to this friend. 

I met Steph sitting by a backyard campfire. Three years later in a small room she gave me a stone sculpture, could be held in two hands. It was of two lovers in a Thomas Moreish embrace, sculpted by a mutual friend. Of us.
It was my turn to have it.
Seven years later she flew around the world to visit me in the Kimberly. We had always written and now that i was no longer a chauvanistic controlling arsehole she had appreciated my help in moving with her through her divorce. We spent a week by rivers and gorges, unfinished business, saying goodbye.
Now it was her turn to have the sculpture.
Last year she flew around the world to visit me, for a day. We hadn't seen each other in 39 years, though often a birthday and xmas card and the occasional phone call. We exchanged photos so we would recognize each other. Now that Essa had gone it was my turn.
We would never have not recognised each other.

If it took seven years to say goodbye to Steph, it took twenty minutes to say goodbye to Jan.
Things were improving, I'd learnt a few things.
Jan was passing by, going in a different direction.
A complete stranger, a few hours before she was moving on, i saw her reclining in rest, eyes closed but awake. She looked like an angel. I watched the four seconds it took to change my life, i watched my arm reach out and my finger touch her lips. She kissed my finger.
We spent the next year being together, living together, traveling together.
When i drove her to the airport i didn't watch her leave. I drove 10 minutes to a country lane, climbed into the back of the van where in that same place we had made love half an hour before, and i howled, cried, sobbed and wailed.For twenty minutes, wrenching every last drop from me until there was nothing left. Absolutely nothing. The grief howled out. All that was left was a nothing full of life and light.
Got out of the van, threw my clothes into the hedgerow, put fresh clothes on, and drove into a clear blue sky.
Wonder what will happen now.

It became easy to say goodbye. Simply accepting what was happening.
Dozens, hundreds of people appeared. In minutes, in hours, days weeks months, sometimes decades. Always the few with an instant no mind connection, seeing their energy and their bones. And over time watching them drift away. All those goodbyes.
I will always love them, it's not possible not to.
I will always remember them.
I thought about them every day. ....... for awhile. .

Now there's only a handful of friends. Lovers long gone since Essa left.
And the memories are starting to drift away also. Those fingers of dementia reaching out from the horizon to flick them away, and you don't know they're gone until you remember them, and then they're gone again.
I remember things not thought of for fifty years and gasp in astonishment and pleasure at the recall. I know i won't remember it again. .. unless i write it down.
Sometimes i tell a story and by the time i get to the point of it, I've forgotten it.
That creeping dementia.
I am grateful to my friend for taking me to memories before i lose them. Memories not triggered by anyone else. 

My friend has also drifted away, moved on. She has given me so much joy, especially in recent years. Adventures and conversations with a beautiful soul.
She speaks with intent.
Convoluted, shambolic, ornery, fractious, forgetful, diffident, all an alibi for spontaneity, commitment, heartfelt generosity and love.
Living moment to moment on the feral fringe. Like a wandering stray, an animal that wanders off from the mob into the bush.
She has been a catalyst, particularly this year, for so many memories .... of saying goodbye.
So many memories that i want to seize, before they're gone forever.
As it slowly fades who will now stretch my memory in so many different directions.

Super Fisheries Officer Guy

Fisheries have this habit of turning up when I least expect them. Another golden mean is that they will arrive when I’m feeling guilty about something, or I’m wondering if I should be feeling guilty about something. Whenever fisheries turn up, I get a kind of twitchy thing going on, where I feel I’ve done something wrong, even if I’ve been really good. And I have been good. Really, really good.Just so that is out there, folks.

It’s a bit like getting pulled over by the cops.There is a difference between fisheries and the cops though. Fisheries are still law enforcers but it is within the confines of boats and fish stocks and they are required to liaise with commercials and amateurs in a way that traffic coppers don’t have to.

I have heard that the local fisheries officers don’t like my book very much and it is probably more because my book sorta celebrated Old Salt flying way too close to the line, rather than my ongoing jape of hoping to one day marry a fisheries officer. When I dropped off an off-the-press copy at their office, one of the juniors grabbed it and flicked straight to the chapter Super Fisheries Officer Guy. “That’s Brad, isn’t it! Ha! He’ll never live this one down.”

Today I was burning off the bracken between my house and the shed. I’d finished that and was preparing for a drive into town, to upload marks for my student’s essays. A four wheel drive came along the bottom track, the one along the beach, and stopped at the chain gate.
‘Manji boys,’ I thought.

One man got out and went straight to my boat on the beach.
The driver walked up to the chain gate, and so I walked down to meet him.

“Gidday Sarah.”

Because this is what he does, this fisheries officer. He greets me from the headlights of his car at night at Pallinup, with his flashlight on the town jetty as we come in with a single undersized skippy in the catch, at dawn as we come in to the shore at Irwins Inlet … and now at the chain gate of my hermitage at Broke. Somehow, his presence unnerves me and yet it makes me feel relevant in the scheme of things.
Excellent. The return of Super Fisheries Officer Guy.

His offsider jogged up from checking my boat, my buoys and the size of my net.
“This is Ben. Ben, Sarah used to work with Old Salt.”
I saw something happen in the young man’s eyes. He stood well away from me as he shook my hand. “Pleased to meet you Sarah,” he said. “You just need some ID numbers on your buoys.”

“Been catching any?”
“No!” I laughed. “As a dirty amateur I’m only allowed three inch mesh and everything swims straight through it.” For a while we talked about mesh sizes and sharks, marron and pig hunters and yellow eyed mullet and licenses. It’s always like that, a gradual swapping of just enough information that both parties are pleased with their booty.

When they drove off, I thought, ‘Damn. Now I really have to be good.” Because Super Fisheries Officer Guy would be telling Ben all about how Old Salt schooled that Sarah Toa woman in the good old poaching ways and he knew that because she went and wrote a bloody book about it.