Eight Months-A Very Cold Night

I had to edit this Wednesday morning and I realised how slow and laborious onscreen keyboard typing is. Especially on a 30mm x 50mm keyboard. Thats about 2 inches x 3 inches for you statesiders.
I got home around 8:30pm, having dropped the two students off, and then saying hi down at the Middle Shop for a couple of minutes. Norm and I yarned for a couple of hours before he crashed, then I started this post…

At home, here in our rainforested valley, it is currently 13C. It’s only 10:30pm, so it will probably get colder. Is it true that Rockhampton was in the minuses? Tell me it ain’t so!
Oh, and I will be in Rocky on the weekend. Staying until Monday night. But then I’ll be going back up to pick up my van, then coming coming back with Tinas stuff a few weeks later. But on Monday (5 days away), I will finally be picking up Her ashes to pass on to Her four babies, as She called them.
Fuck. Ooh fuck. Reality. Her. (edit: I start rocking in my chair, the first sobs wrack my body).
And it just comes all crashing down. I was trying not to think about this moment until Monday. The hardest part of all this is that her/my four will be together again and when I see them, it hurts so much. I know their pain, and it overwhelms me. All of the kids hurt, including Lill and Bonnie.  I’ve realised that I’ve been blocking some pretty harsh realities these past weeks. Typing this is hard. Putting how I feel right now, I feel physically sick and I can’t stop crying. I blocked Her out of my mind. Even this afternoon,when I spoke with Therese about picking Lil up on Sunday, I didn’t think of Her ashes. I have barely spoken to any of my kids since Christmas, other than Lill. I have been hiding from all that pain that they’re going through, because it made it easier to deal with my pain. It has been selfish of me. I’ve become a little bit of a hermit in terms of actual phone calls and Facebook is useless in a no network valley.
I think about Tina in a spiritual sense. I still ask Her advice  sometimes at night, before I go to sleep, hoping She will come to me in a dream with her wisdom. But I don’t dream much anymore. I think the nightly three Sparkling Ales numbs me. But last night in Coen, I was sober. After winding down from the drive (roughly 6 hours with stops), and throwing my thoughts on that last post, I lay down on the back seat of the bus and eventually dozed off around midnight. I was woken by a nightmare, and two vivid dreams through the night. One involved Her. Tina, close, and looking into my eyes, and me, trying to work out her emotion because she was staring, expressionless. I don’t know if I could deal with too many dreams just now, or especially nightmares lke the one I had before that dream where something big had climbed inside the bus in the dark, and was advancing towards me, lying on the back seat, with no way to escape, and I couldn’t get up. I was trying to yell but couldn’t, then I woke up yelling.
The nausea from before has settled, and the shakes have eased. I unconsciously sigh, a lot, when I have these ‘moments’. I guess if I deal with my head now, I can be stronger on Monday for the kids (and it won’t distract my driving on the way down).
I’ve also realised I’ll be running the gauntlet with thousands of other school holiday travellers, so I’m gunna have to drive like a professional. No, not like Peter Brock, but a Driver. It is my ‘trade’ I guess. I’ve been a driver on most of my varied jobs for around thirty years I guess, so I do mean professionally.
A little hint: when driving down the highway towards oncoming traffic, look for potential places on the verge or the table drain (beware of culverts) to pull off (possibly at speed), just in case one of those vehicles starts veering into your lane, or worse, some dick tries to pass a line of traffic without really looking. I’ve had both happen to me on occasions over the years. Be prepared so you can brake early if need be, and make using your mirrors second nature. They could save you being rear-ended by an inattentive tail-gater. DO NOT ASSUME OTHER DRIVERS ARE ALERT OR PAYING ATTENTION.
Remember, just as you are glancing down at your CD player to change a disc, that oncoming Hyundai driver could drop his smoke in his lap & in his panic to retrieve it, swerve into your path.
Anyway, I’ve digressed enough. Now I’m shivering from the cold. I have my wooly socks, jeans, t shirt & trakkie (track suit) jacket on. But it’s half past midnight now and the temp is now 11C. I can feel the cold rolling down the valley. I would sleep, but I can’t. I’m wide awake, and once again it’s seventeen hours since I’ve slept.
So much stuff slams my brain to attention when I don’t need it. I keep failing to get out to the other house,a hundred kilometres away, to pick up all my stuff. I also received only a third of the Super money I was hoping for today. So I’ve had to review and change all our plans. First job when Lill and I bring the van up from Cairns will be to visit the fruit paradise house, pick up all my (our) stuff and bring it back to the hillbilly cottage in the rainforest. Did I mention we live next door to the ‘Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area’? We do. Next door, over the back. Right there. Carol, a teacher, and Her husband Greg live further up the road, completely surrounded by Wet Tropics. They have a stunning, open plan high set timber house. It’s huge, and constructed by them entirely from timber on their block, and even more recycled timber and windows etc.
I really need to ask if I can take some photos one day. Anyway, then we can go through everything and put stuff in order.

*A digression*
(Somewhere around 1am)
“Now seriously Hughie, we live in ‘The Tropics’. You know Hughie, one of the many reasons why I live where I live (thx ABC Macca) is that, *it’s not supposed to get cold*.Remember the place I used to rave about, and how it never got *really* cold? Back then, 15 degrees celcius. Now? Well you remember this time last year Hughie…7 Bloody Degrees Hughie. But then, that’s climate change for ya, and our collective farts are partly to blame.”

‘Sleep deprivation can be used as a torture, or a drug of abuse’
That’s mine. The quote I mean.
I think I might have to get another blanket for the puppies tomorrow. Floyd is shivering up his nose as he snores. Fuck this gentle breeze is cold. I might have to vacate the bar and go into my room under the blanket…brrrrr…1am temperature check. Still 11. I’ve taken the thermometer out of the relative protection of the kitchen, and put it on the other side of the bar, where I sit.




It’s even too cold to drink a second beer I think. I would sleep well then I reckon.
I caught up with my beautiful Jasmine this afternoon. I picked her up from work in Hopevale because I had a couple of hours to kill before the plane arrived with my Wujal transfers. We had a really good D&M on the drive into town. ‘Secret Non Gender Specific Persons Business’. I apologised once again for missing parties and GNOs, and promised I would meet with them on Friday night when I bring the little bus up from the last Wujal transfer. Now, I need to inform you that Girls Nights are supposed to be ‘just the girls’, but I’m special. The girls pretend that I have a vagina for the night. My Girls are ’19 to 20 somethings’, and I usually end up still awake at 4am, discussing random stuff, like the virtues of Spongebob Squarepants with Lyndsay, or future roadtrips with Jasmine to visit Maddy. To Out Of Towners in the pub, I look like I’m one of their Dads, which is good, because it deters the lechers. My girls all have big boobies n stuff, so they get some unwanted attention. In this small town, there is a bit of a gender imbalance. The ratio of single women to single men is pretty extreme. So the three or four or so girls that I go out to the pubs with might often be the only assumed ‘single’ women at the pub amongst dozens. This is also a fishing port, often with three or more boats at the wharf and 20 or 30, often single blokes, out to party. Then you’ve got the ‘boys adventure’ tourists, either on bike or in four wheel drives. Add to that the backpackers, and finally the local single boys, and you can see why a lot of roosters perch around their table. Inevitably, advances can get rejected and egos get bruised. And as with most immature, Australian drunk males, subtle name calling begins. Well, ‘my girls’ are good girls. Beautiful people. They party hard, and I have trouble keeping up sometimes. The Vodka slays me. One night of Vodka means another full twenty four hours of painful, slow movements and a lot of ‘quiet please’ recovery. Post Vodka nights, as I wake up, I seem to feel OK. But I’m still in bed, laying down. Then I begin to move and my head becomes a huge Chinese meditation ball. Gongs go off in my head, and then the pain starts.
Anyways, it’s past 3am. 22 hours awake. I’m going to attempt sleep I have a doctors appointment in Cooktown at 12:45. I really should sleep.
*10:30am* Wednesday
I woke at 6am to gumbu (pee) and checked the thermometer at the bar. It was nine degrees. It’s still only 18 C now. I’m just holding off my first possible mild panic attack in a while. You know, I can drive all day, all over the place. But it takes all my willpower, all my energy, to walk into an office or shop other than the necessary petrol station and the small supermarket. I just don’t like being in town. It scares me a little. I’ve even avoided seeing friends up there (except beautiful Jasmine). I haven’t sent a text to Maddy in ages (sowwy Madski). I haven’t visited Dragon in over six weeks. I’m beginning to realise that living here, besides being beautiful and all, is also a way for me to hide away from the world. As I’ve said before, we have nothing in the way of communication here. No phone, TV, or even a radio. No Internet. These posts sometimes go up days after being written down here. I upload them during my odd hour in town on the back verandah of the office. I avoid the steet when I’m in town. Too many people to potentially have to make small talk with. In the eight months today (yes, today) since Tina passed, and I was living in town with Dragon in the unit behind the old Westpac Bank, I met a lot of people. Dragon and McGee and The Girls would make me come out and socialise at the pubs. Before then we had a few friends in town as well. I hide out the back.
I should dress and go. I had a shower at 9 this morning. I haven’t bothered with a shirt yet.
Everyone at the clinic knows me. But it reminds me of too much. That day in August.


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