She has no concept of strolling, perhaps in the bush, but not on streets.
She walks quickly, long legs striding.
On the very few occasions I've walked down a street with her I've had trouble keeping up. It's more like walking behind her, and getting further behind with each step.
Down the main drag i was way behind. She was powering along and kind of glowing. If it had been nighttime she would have lit up the street.
And i was caught in this cloud of bucket loads of pheromones
I managed to catch up to her and said,
"You know, you have rampant sexual energy". (Big rampant)
She smiled, paused, turned, laughed, "Yes". (Big yes)
Needn't have been concerned. "I always have a lover".
And she does.
Like a dog with bones, she has them stashed all along the south coast, on boats, on islands, onshore, in caves on mountain tops, in tents, vans, shacks, shanties. ........ and sometimes.......even in houses.
By foot or by boat, by daylight, moonlight, or torchlight, she goes and finds them.
So, no worries there.
Her own, "they don't know my life" and of others, "it's not my story".
We have shared stories, around a campfire, on a verandah, over a kitchen table.
One drinks and pizza evening i told her of Essa's last day.
She leaned forward and softly her heart said "I'd like to write that story".
"It's a love story".
I'll never get to read that story. Some stories you take to the grave. Stories that can only be told to one person. A person you completely trust.
I hope i live long enough to read her love stories.
It nourishes me to witness her life of exuberance, drawing me into her vision.
Her writing focused precisely within a vastness of life and experience, sometimes here, always now. An utterly generous and caring soul.
Sometimes frail and fragile. Mostly powerful and strong.
I have images of her.
Laughing and crying.
Standing still in a doorway, saying goodbye.
Standing bone straight in the dusklight of a campfire, gazing, looking out, looking in, the boketto distance in her eyes. .
Running barefoot over slippery rocks chased by a king wave, her life in her feet.
Running from bees.
They see her coming, those pheromones again! Unsuited, she approaches her girls for a casual check. They attack, and get inside her clothes with their frantic buzzing. Sending her running through the scrub, leaping over logs and rocks, shedding clothing until the little buzzsaws are lying on the ground and not against her skin.
After all, she did kill their queen, and they've never forgiven her for it.
This puzzled me. I'd lived long enough in the bush with snakes i thought i would have seen it. I was carrying my snake gun so put four blasts of ratshot in different directions under the pallet stand. Now she was standing near her shack door and hadn't seen it come out from under the pallet. It wasn't under there either, dead or alive.
She has seen this tiger many times, inside and outside her shack.
Others have ransacked her shack and never seen it.
I have been in a few times, door left wide open ready for a running retreat, with a gun, long handled shovel, torch, crowbar, axe, chainsaw, throwing tomahawk and throwing knives.
If the tiger runs at you, have to use the long handled shovel to chop it as close to its head as possible. Too far back, propelled by its blood and guts it can still fang you on the leg as it falls to the floor.
In her shack I've dismantled perfectly good carpentry work, cleared the floor and walls, looked everywhere, a number of times, and never seen this snake.
She is the only one who has ever seen it!
I may not believe everything she says, she has the memories and imagination of lost places, and she is a storyteller. Her fiction can sometimes slide into her life.
But i trust that this tiger exists. .... somewhere.
I've seen it in her eyes.
By the campfire i suggested she could feel privileged the snake only shows itself to her.
Tell our stories.
Always different, this year has been different with a difference.
There had been that unnecessary awfulness of the drive, driving his van home with the detritus of his life floating around her head.
This year she has changed in a slightly orderly way.
She has exiled herself into hermitry.
Sitting under the tin roof of the back room with acres of sky through walls of glass, trees, and ocean in the distance, i can see all the way to Antarctica.
I watch candlewicks burning.
From my front door to a quiet street, a vehicle perhaps every two hours. Across the street is solid bush with a winter creek, where housing development was not allowed. To protect the carnivorous pitcher plant.
The only hunting i do these days is in a shop for vegemite rabbit toast.
It's a miracle.
Sometimes before i flick on an electricity switch i remember Slim, working at the coal seam face. We worked behind him timbering the shaft and extending the conveyor belt to take the coal two kilometres to the surface.
He worked out front driving the miner.
One day the roof came down and crushed him out of sight.
Before i flick the switch i give thanks to all who risk their lives, every day, so i can flick that switch.
To have light and warm water.
I'm seeing life like a toilet roll, the nearer the end the quicker it goes.
And now as my life folds back in time i talk to the animals and birds and trees and listen to the rocks. ... and wait. ... see what happens next.
I wonder if dementia is a wonderful meditation.
Truth is I've already said goodbye. It wasn't so easy this time.
A bewilderingly unfathomable mind.
I know her well, and do not know her at all.
She is a beautiful mystery.
I will always remember her. ... pre dementia of course!
I will think about her every day. ..................... for awhile.
When there was a silent conversation going on.
Voices maybe do, but bones don't lie.