Sadness brings creativity.

Unfortunately, when I’m happy and travelling along well, I’m at my least creative. I don’t know why that is.

Only when I’m sad do the memories bubble up…

Like sitting on the living room floor with Jayne and sharing the intimacy of having one earbud in each of our ears as we listened to a song together that Jayne liked and wanted me to hear.

The memory of Jay and I sitting on Mom’s sofa (we’d gotten used to Mom and Dad constantly splitting up by then) with a box of “TV snacks” (they’re small biscuits in random shapes, covered in chocolate that Jay and I really like). I was holding the box and reached in to pull out a star-shaped biscuit. Without moving my face from the TV, I tilted the box towards Jay – who, doing the same and not having to look away from the TV to see what he was doing – reached in and pulled out a few biscuits. Not a word between us…but probably a moment I’ll forever remember as something very special. The interaction between siblings that borders on magical in the way things are said without words yet the siblings involved understand.

When Alun and I were caught in the pouring rain at the beach. We ran laughing to find shelter under a thick bush. Alun was standing behind me and put his arms around me, pulling me close to his chest. Alun rested his chin on my shoulder and pressed his warm cheek against mine. The intimacy of that moment is something I’ll never forget. Just so pure and so lovely.

The memory of holding baby Arlen – he was about 9 months old – against my chest as I chatted quietly to Kira (his Mom and at the time one of my closest friends) and feeling him fall asleep…his “baby snores” rumbling gently against my shirt. Even to write about it fills me with joy. I loved holding Arlen close.

Memories of singing in the car with Gracie, Cony (“Connie”), Caris and Jessica when we went on a random day trip to the beach. We hadn’t planned it so we didn’t have bathers. Laughing and throwing caution and ‘rules’ to the wind, we swam in our dresses! I have never felt so free or so happy. I loved being surrounded by my besties in the sunshine and sea. It was such a great day.

Memories of being on Trevor’s farm and laying outside under the veranda in a huge hammock with Aubrey. I had such a huge crush on him. It was wonderful to lay out on a balmy summer’s eve and watch all the stars come out. It’s hard to see any in the city – but hours away on Trevor’s farm – it seemed that the stars came out in their millions that night. Amazing. I can still see Aubrey’s cute toes when I close my eyes and I can smell the musky but heady scent of him. Mmmmm.

These memories allow me to remember the little things – as my friend Jewel calls them – “the pauses in between” where real life happens. The hugs from friends, the bubbling brook sound of their laughter, the happiness and wholesomeness when I find myself surrounded in friends, the moments when something makes Alun laughs and he looks at me to see if I’m laughing too. The ‘in jokes’ we have that only Alun and I find funny and if we tried to explain it, no one else would get it. The ‘in jokes’ I have with all my mates. The memories certain places and certain foods, songs or scents bring…dates with Mike where we always met at the marble ball in Forest Chase, the mexican place on James Street in Northbridge where Caris and I always order the ‘chilli con queso’ and talk about our lives as we dip tortilla chips into the melted cheese, that I can’t pass the “Nespresso” store on Hay without looking in and hoping I’ll see Jack’s friendly face in there. Fat raindrops remind me of Aurelie, stupid lines from Will Ferral movies remind me of Cony – who knows them all by heart – and can recite them at the drop of a hat.

The part in the movie “Robots” where they get to the girl robot’s front door and she hangs back shyly; saying “Thank you for walking me home” and the boy robot smiles and responds “Thank you for carrying me up the hill!”…and hearing Cony’s laugh whether she is there or not.

I can’t bite into a pie from the Golden Bakery on Barrack without feeling my Dad’s spirit around me. That first bite – that first meaty surprise of thick gravy and finely minced beef as they hit my tongue…and Dad’s gravelly voice saying “These are the best pies, babygirl”.

I know, Dad. I know.

Hearing Roachford on my playlist and feeling tears fill my eyes because Jay and I bought their first cd with our pooled resources and eagerly listened to their songs over and over as we learnt every melody and harmony – Jay practicing chords on his guitar – those were the days where he was just learning; looking to me for guidance and approval and I took those days for granted…I thought they’d last forever. I thought I’d always be his favourite. Always.

The indescribable comfort that I get when I’m half-awake in bed late at night and I feel and hear Alun moving in bed next to me – fast asleep. He’ll drape his leg over mine so we’re touching and his breathing will deepen – as if subconciously he’s putting himself at ease knowing we’re physically close. We’re like otters, Al and I…we hold hands in the night as we sleep so we don’t ever drift apart. I guess it works, because it will be our 9th wedding anniversary this May. In today’s terms, that’s a long time. 20 years ago, it would be ‘nothing’. Marriages of 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years are the ones that get the praise…but in today’s world of ‘throwaway’ relationships…9 years is a big deal. Alun is a big deal. I’m so blessed to be married to someone so genuine, so kind, caring, sweet and someone who’s my best friend. He’s a pain in the ass, too – don’t get me wrong – but for the most part, Alun’s the person I have the most fun with. I love that about us.

Faded, worn memories of the ladies’ bathroom in Darwin on that fateful day. I was applying mascara and taking deep breaths, leaning on the sink to steady myself for something I’d waited my life to do…see Matt again. I remember a really pretty Asian girl came out of her stall and was running her delicate hands through her long, brown hair after she’d washed them.

“You look as nervous as I am” she’d said, smiling at me in the shared mirror.

“Haha – is it that obvious?” I’d replied, smiling back.

“Yes” she laughed “how long is it since you’ve seen him?”

“You first” I invited, buying time and trying to calm the millions of butterflies filling my stomach at the thought that on the other side of the door was the man I’d been obsessed with for over a decade.

“Omg it’s been 4 weeks!” she squealed. “Look! Goosebumps!” and she held out her slender arms to show me the little bumps along them.

“You look so excited. I bet your guy can’t wait to see you!” I gave her hands a gentle squeeze and went back to putting my makeup back in my carry-on bag.

“So…” she reminded me “How long since you’ve seen your guy?”

“11 years” I answered.

I felt the atmosphere shift, as if the world had paused. It was like that part in movies where everything stops and whatever record is playing suddenly makes that “zzzzippp” sound – you know? That happened.

“Oh right” she looked unsure. She took a step away, shook her head and flashed a reassuring smile at me after a beat “Good luck with that, hun. Bye!”.

So many memories. So many I want to put into my memoir because so many were life-altering.

I’d love to hear some of yours 🙂 hit me uppp!

One response to “Sadness brings creativity.”

  1. You have so many great points I’d like to address, but I have no time (plus my computer might run out of in!😆😆) I first want to say I love your description of the ‘baby snores’ against your shirt. That was so precious!
    The part where you talked about ‘the pauses in between’. The laughter and hugs from your friends. Beautiful!
    When I was very young I decided that life, for most of us, is a daily drudge and the only way we keep going, keep motivated, is through these little moments that give us a break that allows us to smile, laugh, have fun, be silly, sit with friends, give hugs, receive hugs, even cry.
    Life is about taking the time to grab these small moments of happiness, because for the most part, they rarely, if at all, fall into our laps.
    Beautifully written, Janet!

    Liked by 1 person

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