|Influences||Sonya Hartnett, Dean Koontz.|
|Bio||I live in the sleepy town of Adelaide, and grew up in my teenager years on a farm, surrounded by ducks and chickens. I have a love for photography, art and writing. I am currently studying an Associate Degree in Creative Writing and have studied an Advanced Diploma in Professional Writing.|
It was the sort of morning when there’s no milk. I know there’s no milk either, but I can’t be bothered going out to get more. As I opened the fridge, I poured a glass of milk. Ready to devour a glass of what I presumed was fresh milk, I held the glass up to my mouth, sucking on clumps of stale, stinky milk.
“Yuk,” I exclaimed, “Not even the cat would drink that!”
I shuddered, my jaw still dripping with the stinky, off milk. I wiped my face and marched outside, swinging the back door open briskly and dumping the foul tasting milk into the bin.
On the way back inside, my eyes shot upwards, catching a glimpse of the perfect blue sky. It would’ve been the perfect start to the day too if I only had a nice cup of milk.
The cat darted through the door when I entered the house again. It looked at me strangely through its suspicious green eyes, wondering where its milk was after she’d finished sniffing at her bowl.
She rubbed into my leg, and I’d felt like I’d let the whole family down. No milk meant no cereal either, and I was sure the children were going to be angry as they hated eating toast.
I went into the lounge room, the floor boards, squeaking underneath my feet. As I collapsed onto the lounge, I felt comforted by the small box that we all watched to entertain us all called a television.
Humbled by my own humanity, I was briskly reminded of stale milk when the cat came rubbing into my legs again, and the echoing of children’s shouts filled the house when they woke.
Falling into a trance in front of the television, I completely forgot about having no milk while my favourite television show played on the box.
I began laughing at the comedy until all four children came and stood in front of me, whining about having no milk. The seldom peace which I had suddenly become removed from my life. The vision of the entertainment box was gone and replaced by four upset looking children who began kicking and hitting each other while I failed to show a response to their problems.
Storming upstairs, I confiscated my partner’s blankets, who was left lay in her nightie. She shot up, sleepy eyed and shocked I had invaded her privacy like she often invaded my alone time.
“There’s no milk!” I declared, “You did it again! When you went shopping, you brought no milk. Now everyone is upset!”
Dazed beyond belief, my partner sat in bed and began covering herself up. My wife’s flimsy pink cotton thing barely covering her body.
She rubbed her eyes, still holding onto her blankets.
“Alright, alright,” She said, her hoarse voice traveling down the hallway, “I’ll get some.”
I left her alone, shutting the bedroom door, giving her back her privacy and returning to my so called secluded spot on the sofa chair.
It could be a good day, after all; I thought wisely as I flicked the channel on the television with my remote.
My Nanna, with long stringy ash-grey hair, said she grew up on a farm out bush, near the Blue Mountains. Her parents would stew scrawny rabbits and dead livestock for their long-awaited supper. In those days, Nanna would say, they were hard, much harder than now. Nanna mentioned, she showered each Sunday morning before going to church and wore her Sunday best, homemade proudly by her Mumma. And when I would look down at her wrinkled hands, those wrinkles told a story she never spoke of before, out labouring in her teens, in the sun blistering days. She would awkwardly bend over, in the paddocks, harvesting vegetables by hand. Those days were hard, she often repeated, and those words played in my head like a terminal illness, which would not go away.
I looked down at my own scarred hands, maybe Nanna was right? Maybe I did have it easy, but I did not know it yet? I picked at my scabs, my worn hands looking older than they should be. I remembered my childhood, as if in a daze, heading to a candy store with Dad, running across empty yards with him to the store. Laughing at him because I outran him, yet he hardly cared. But those days were outnumbered by my mental wards and the screams and cries of patients in those wards. I glanced further down to my wrists, hellish reminders of the torment I suffered during the dark moments when I felt so alone and shadowed by my pain. During my teenage years, Dad would burst through the doors, drunk and smelling of wine. His drinking worsened, and he argued with mum each night, turning the arguments into beatings.
Staring at my scabs, I sat alone, as my children were not with me anymore. Reverting my eyes to their smiling faces on the wall in a glass covered frame, I doubted I would see them for many years. My drug habits had become a priority, and I ached more for a needle than to cuddle my own children.
I frowned. I glanced at my hands, and they morphed into my Nannas, making me wonder if I could be a decent mother. My mother never spoke about her past, although she always spoke about Nanna. Mum loved to cook, she said. She made the best clothes, she prattled on. Mum worked so hard for all the kids, she loved to praise.
My eyebrows knitted together, so confused by the past. The large wall clock ticked on, and I heard an aeroplane glide over my house. The lonely sounds nearly made me forget about the past. They crept into my conscious and numbed my haunted past.
I reached for a bottle of bourbon, clinking the bottle against the glass cup as I poured it. The alcohol made those memories more bearable, but I knew I had become like my father, a drunk. Closing my eyes, I held onto my glass, the ticking on the clock soothing my soul. I sucked on the dark liquid, its bitter taste curing my need of loving, for now.
I slurped again on my drink, sucking it down. If only Mum and me were close, I thought. Perhaps all my pain would disappear? I could see a reflection of myself on the bourbon bottle as it rested on the table, and aged lines appeared on my forehead, each one symbolizing a ‘lost’ child of mine. What if we could relive our lives, and make them better if we could? Who would choose to relive their lives, only to realise it never became better at all? We could forever go on, repeating the same mistakes in our lives, if we were sent back in time. The clock kept ticking, its solitude tune. Mortality became our reality. We are closer to the truth now, then we were in the past; those smiling faces in the glass covered frame, looking so contented at me. Their eyes speaking of a future, while happiness froze onto their faces. Why would we choose to be infinite?