First published in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend Summer 2018 reading issue: 10 short stories by 10 big authors.
With much gratitude to Editor, Katrina Strick.
"You can't go home again," wrote Thomas Wolfe. For most of my life I've railed against accepting this unbearable truth, stubbornly searching in vain for a way back to homes that were lost to me; those of wood and nails, those found in other people, and, maybe the most elusive, a sense of home and belonging within myself. For all that time spent searching, what I never paused to consider was that I'd always held a way home very literally in the palm of my hand.
I've wanted to be a writer since I was three years old, the age when my mother taught me to read. Our family home was on the northern end of the Gold Coast, a block from a glittering, shallow estuary of the Pacific Ocean called the Broadwater. I was always outdoors, in Mum's subtropical, ever-blooming garden – full of silver-green ironbark, scarlet bottlebrush and pink flowering tea trees – or at the sea; I could smell the salty pungency through my bedroom window.