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Rackers

lost & found: short story

It was a cold Tuesday morning. It was the first proper downpour of rain we’ve had in a long time. The ground was wet, my shoes squelching through the grass. It was earlier than I’m used to leaving the house and I couldn’t see much further than my own hands outstretched in front of me due to the fog; my eyes drooped a little, I felt as if I needed my coffee through an IV drip.

I got in my car, cranking the heat up the highest it would go, sitting my fingertips right in front of the vent and allowing  it to flow through my veins. It reminded me of my first snow in New York City; only three years ago, on our honeymoon. It was my first snow ever, and I’d gotten so excited, I numbed every exposed piece of my body by playing for too long. I remember making abysmal snowmen, throwing snowballs and revelling in the happiness. We had gotten back into our rental car, and James had cranked the heating for me to find feeling again. I had never been so immersed in feelings before; I had never been so in love.

The roads were slightly wet, mixed with the early morning fog; I wished I didn’t have to be on the road so early. The last thing I remember is looking down at my phone to change the song.


I woke with a dull thud in my head and a throat so dry it was almost itchy. I was awake long before I could open my eyes, and I could hear the whirr of machines, quiet chatter and the pitter-patter of feet. I could tell the movements and sounds were taking longer to get to my mind than they were happening, and by the time I could make sense of what they were, I had new ones to decipher. My eyelids were weighed down, as if by an invisible weight. Any time I thought I was close to opening them, my head would scream and fight and I’d give up. I’d relax, and fall back into a slumber.

By the time I could open my eyes, I was blinded by white walls and bright lights. The whirr of machines sounded louder paired with the loud lights, the dull thud in my head turning into a soft ache. I look to my right, and see my mum staring at me. Tears streak her face, her eyes puffy and exhausted. I remember that look; she obviously hasn’t slept in days – she was the same when dad passed away. They explain that I was in an accident on the road the other morning, though I have no recollection of it. This is normal, they assure me. Perfectly normal you cannot remember the trauma. I do my best to smile at them, cringing at their excessive use of the word “normal.”

As soon as the doctors leave, I turn to my mum as she holds my left hand, squeezing a little too hard on my wedding band.

“Where’s James?”

A mixture of heartbreak and confusion glazes over my mother’s eyes, and I’m scared for the worst; was he in the car with me?

“Where’s James?” I ask, with more panic.

She runs back to grab the doctor and I watch as a hushed, worried conversation takes place. Cracks in my heart begin to appear; did I survive a car crash that my husband died in?

Again, they tell me it was all normal. As if anything was normal.

James died two years ago, on our wedding anniversary. It’s normal that you cannot remember. Normal normal fucking normal.

“This is not fucking NORMAL,” is all I wanted to scream.

At that moment, a small girl walks up holding my sister’s hand. I can tell my mother wants to hurry them away, new sensations playing in my head; why the fuck can’t I remember? I watch with confusion, wondering if in this “completely normal” time that has been blacked out in my mind, she had another child.

But I notice. The blonde, curly hair; the dimple when she smiles, the eyes that are utterly James. I look to my mother for confirmation, and she turns to this small girl.

“Look, Lizzie, Mummy’s awake,” she whispers.

Categories
Rackers

two years, 100 posts – just getting started.

This time last year, I was lost, confused, and endlessly driving home or numbing my bum on the train from Sydney to Queanbeyan. I called Sydney “home,” but I still called home home. I’ve never been particularly good at quitting jobs, especially when I still like the people I’d be leaving. I’d found it hard to just openly say, “I don’t want to do this anymore — I don’t have the passion for it.” Particularly when I adore the city I’m living in. But there was this small part of me that had had my little love affair with Sydney and wanted to come home (partly to not have to pay rent anymore), and really give writing a crack.

But what did I have the passion for?

I thought there was nothing for me. Writing was a hobby, and my blog was a bit of fun. I started using it as an outlet, for a course I was doing online (that I paid in full for and never finished, haha, whoops). It was having someone I had a past with tell me that, “I’ll get over it when I find a new man.” Because in his small mind, I only turned to writing because it hadn’t worked out with us.

I am yet to find someone again who is so up their own ass.

But I couldn’t make anything of myself as a writer. The dream of writing a book was just that: a dream.

I’d mentioned the fact that I wanted to go back to uni to a few people; and I’d only really gotten negative opinions in return.

“You couldn’t do it once, what makes you think you could do it again?”

“You might think that’s your passion now, but things change.”

“Can people really make a career out of being a creative writer?”

And now it’s meeting someone new and them asking what I do, and I suddenly have no shame in saying, “I’m a writer.”

Did I become a writer the moment I was able to see people actually, genuinely purchasing my words? Or was I a writer the moment I sat down to begin with rackers.co (aka rackersco.wordpress.com when it began – what a banger of a name). Was it when I was told that my writing made people cry? Or was it purely just the moment I felt like my heart had come home?

There are moments I’m feeling so completely out of myself because I feel like I don’t have a place in this world. I am crying more tears than I imagined my body could muster, and my chest is physically aching and I am constantly telling myself I am not good enough.

Or was it purely just the moment I felt like my heart had come home?

And then people ask for a second poetry book, a hard copy edition, congratulate me on my acceptance to New York for a short course; I have people tell me they are excited for the life I am going to lead.

Two years ago I couldn’t imagine I would be where I am. I couldn’t imagine I could make something of myself and I truly did not see my future further than the confines of trusty old Quangaz. Six months ago I couldn’t imagine myself getting out of bed the next day. Today I am so proud of myself, and I don’t know how socially acceptable that is to claim, but I’m doing it.

Thank you to you all for the past two years and reading my rambles; and here’s to so so many more years of my words making it to your hands and your hearts. I am far from done.

Ya gal’s just getting started.

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Rackers

let’s talk about grief, baby

I’m not sure if my entire writing style is law of attraction or if I actively seek out certain things to write, read and hear about; but here we are. For a research essay at uni, I am focusing on grief in children’s/young adult literature. Discussing, reading about and researching grief will obviously bring up (either hidden or not) feelings I have dealt with in the past.

A recurring thing has become apparent to me, though.

Throughout tutorials or in discussions online, people tend to (seem to, anyway) believe that their own experiences with grief are unique. If anything, it’s just widened my own perspective. I like to think of myself as someone whose always been quite open-minded, and particularly with grief; I understand that everyone has experienced it in some way, especially at this age. Whether it be a close family member or friend who has passed away, or whether you grieve the loss of love, friendship or a pet (because trust the fuck out of me, losing a pet can literally break your heart).

But there have been a few that have put their hands up and said (I won’t actually state what they’ve said, because confidentiality and also wouldn’t want this to come back and bite my ass), but basically “This happened to me and so I understand grief better than you and that is why I think this about this book.”

Blatantly disregarding the fact that, hey, maybe the person next to you understands grief, too! What a concept.

I sat quietly. I watched. I smiled politely. And I secretly got annoyed at them.

Your situation may be unique. Hell, how you’ve experienced it sure as shit is unique. I won’t even begin to compare the way I’ve dealt with my own grief to that of my siblings – because we went through the same thing, but we’re different people.

But the fact that we have experienced grief; that in itself, is shockingly (not shockingly at all), not unique.

This is just a note. To stop thinking that your situation is so special; to stop thinking that you know so much more about a certain thing because you’ve experienced another certain thing; to stop thinking that you are above all because you have climbed your own mountain.

Instead, think like this. You’re standing atop your mountain. You have another shittonne to climb in your lifetime, but for the moment, they’re out of sight. You look to your left, and your right, in front of you, behind you. And you see all the familiar faces, your friends, your siblings, the person sitting at the table next to you at the cafe, the barista who made your coffee this morning. They’re all at your eye level because they’re all standing atop their own mountains. Because they’ve climbed through their own shit, too.

And instead of thinking that you are ahead of them all, that you know more, that grief is something only you know — hold out your hand. Grab onto theirs, and start a chain reaction. And all of a sudden, we have people standing atop their own mountains, but they are all connected by linking arms. Each and every one is supporting each other through their version of grief.

We’re no longer special, or different, or worthy of special treatment.
But we’re together.
And frankly, that is what gets us through.