Somewhere In-between

I am lost in my life. There is a feeling that my toes just skim the surface of my reality. I’m in some kind of limbo. Here in the last weeks in our forest home, the last weeks with my love, the last weeks before some great wide expanse of unknown. I wish I had some certainty, a home we could call our own instead of a handful of maybes. I should be used to it by now, but this time Alba has school and our belongings don’t just fit into a few suitcases anymore.

I remember when my grief came in waves so close together I could barely catch my breath. They’re much further apart now, but when they come every wall I’ve built against the pain is torn down instantly. The injustice of it all makes me want to kick and scream like a child, I lost my only brother and now I mourn every single day of the future I will never have with him.

Heartbreak comes in waves too. Mostly I live in a cocoon of softness, my little family is still my little family. Then I look down at my hand in Bee’s hand and I realise the time is coming where his body won’t feel like an extension of my own any more. Where I won’t nap to the sound of Alba and Bee playing. Where I will have to face all my challenges alone again. I pray he will stay around, but how can I know? He would be forever on the road if he could and I don’t blame him.

He says things that hurt me sometimes. He says this life is too quiet for him, but this is my life. I know it’s quiet. The school drop offs and grocery runs and tidying up and bedtime routines. But it is its own little adventure in itself, the very adventure I always ached for when I was travelling across the world.

And yet I know he’ll miss it. He helps in Alba’s classroom for fun, he always needs to be there for bedtime stories even when it’s the same book 5 nights in a row and he is almost always by my side.

On nights I cannot sleep I pad through our dark house to Bee’s bedroom. His phone glows in the dark, a podcast left playing as he’s fallen asleep. I nuzzle my head into his neck and I tell him I love him and he tells me he loves me. Sometimes the memories of the beginning fill my mind, all that hope and overwhelming love. I instantly push them out just as I do with memories of my brother.

Mostly he is my best friend and I am his and that is just fine.

I don’t know how I’d manage all my big feelings without my routines. The yoga, the running, the journalling and the meditation. Without these releases my days would be lost to my emotions.

Now that Alba is at school I can work hard. I often write thousands of words in a day. I am running my Patreon, my blog, creating a course and writing a book all simultaneously. It’s the one place in my world where everything feels perfect.

School is pretty wonderful too. Alba’s best friend brings her little treasures and homemade books full of illustrations of ponies and unicorns. Alba is besotted with a boy called Angus who I am sure is trouble and her teacher is so sweet she reminds me of Miss Honey from Matilda.

Laura is directing a film in Sydney and hires me to take stills. For a weekend I’m that girl again, the one with a camera around her neck and the ability to instantly connect to strangers. Being on a set is both slow and exciting. I shoot in tiny pockets of time and wear my heart on my sleeve. The crew becomes a family.

One night I get gelato with Philippe, the lead actor from the film. We’re walking through Newtown and it begins to rain so we throw our arms out to catch the raindrops. The sky is bright purple and pink. We’re both cradling broken hearts but for a few hours we forget.

The freedom and the excitement of the big city reminds me of so many times before. It is a contrast to my settled life at home. But while my father gave up on our family to chase his dreams, and my mother gave up her dreams to take care of our family, I am determined to do both. For me and for Alba.

We’re in the car when Bee tells me he’s going to Perth when the lease ends. So far I thought he’d stay around, at least for a while. It hits me like a tidal wave of betrayal. In the pain of the moment the most bitter words form on my tongue, “you’re unbelievably selfish.”

It’s probably the meanest thing I’ve ever said to him. I am being abandoned again and I am defensive. I feel like everything means nothing at all. Like I failed.

I go running, my body is so tight it feels like someone is wringing all the joy from me. It’s hard to breathe. I make myself let go, let myself expand back into me again. Then I can see the stories. Bee doesn’t care about us, I will always be abandoned and love will never be enough.

Most importantly I can see they are just stories. That this is my challenge. It’s like the universe has taken a look at me and said, I think you need another lesson in letting go. Granted, I obviously do. My ego gets so caught up in it all.

So I hug him and I apologise and then I break down again about feeling abandoned and rejected. Face all blotchy and wet and snotty. For a long time things felt so easy that when people asked if it was hard living with Bee I’d mostly shrug and say, “Surprisingly not.” But him leaving felt so far away then, now it’s right around the corner and I’m not sure I’m ready.

My fears are so incessant at night that I cannot find the quiet to sleep. I talk to Georgia one morning. She tells me I can stay with her and that Alba can catch the bus to school with the kids until I can drive and find a home. She’s rescued me so many times she’s like my knight in shining armour. She says, “I know it’s hard and painful but you don’t need him Nirrimi.”

When I talk to my friend Alex about my fears around leaving she says, “Yeah, it’s scary but isn’t it also really exciting?” Slowly I feel that she is right. It is exciting. Who knows what life has in store for me now? Whatever is coming, I am strong and brave enough to handle it. Deep down I can feel that this is all for the very best and I am ready.

Then I’m back in that cocoon, things feel easy and I forget that they are ever hard. I know these cycles of strength and weakness will keep on going. Probably until the day I die. And that’s alright because I know it will all be okay, even at my weakest.

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