I find myself thinking back to a time where I lived in a dilapidated old house, back in Perth. Its wide, red cement verandah glowing in the sunset like the city in the distance. The ceiling in the bedroom bulged, and on stormy nights I’d lie in bed and watch the ornate cornices flash, wondering when it’d finally give, under the strain of years.
At the top end of Australia, they talk about going troppo in the wet – the buildup of heat and moisture and its effects on mind and body.
We don’t have a name for it in this tiny equatorial dot. Troppo is just how it is. Particularly when I return, inevitably, from somewhere cooler, drier, less sardined with other anxious bodies.
The process brings odd impressions to mind from a life I think I’ve forgotten. Today, that strange old dwelling. Tomorrow, the smell of the sunny season in the lower reaches of Western Australia. Yesterday comes back with the force of antipodal summer. I don’t care if I never go back, I’ve declared on more than one occasion. But then… but then… but then, to cross the Nullabor in entirety (I’ve never made it past the South Australian border). To regard the expanse of the Bight with my own eyes, feel my mouth turn to ash and eyes water from the searing day. To witness the graduation of earth from blood to bone.
I don’t care if I never go back. Not if I have to go back to the old pattern. But shadow eyed from the lack of sleep, I think I glimpse an answer to a new way… except it is never clear where this return is to.