I think I remember back when we lived in Western Australia. My memories were birthed there, not on the sparse white shores those Western beaches are famed for, but in the bush, in a one-storey house. Perhaps it had a fish pond in the middle of it? There was a pit inside where the TV and fireplace were nestled together.
The bush was dry and scratchy country. We’d go for walks along a path, to me then it seemed long, large, labyrinthine, with towering twisted trees reaching up into the almost-always blue sky… but I guess it could easily have been a tight pocket of scrub, choked off by creeping suburbia. There was a small clearing of three trees which we maintained whenever we visited with an old branch for a broom, scratching out the dead leaves, scratching lines in the dirt.
My memories are erratic from this time, I’m not sure how long we lived in this house. Like dried-up and used stamps you meant to stick in a book but ended up putting in a box, going brown. I remember eating cat food – the little fish biscuits. I remember planting a spoon in the garden, right inside one of the garden beds, under a bush where no one was likely to find it. I remember eating raw meat from off the kitchen bench when Mum wasn’t around. I remember the tree that fell down and got burnt… hazily… I didn’t understand then, and I don’t really understand now. There were bees, and perhaps we were trying to get rid of them? Anyway, afterwards a chunk of honeycomb sat unceremoniously in a cheap takeaway tub on the kitchen table. I remember chewing on that, it’s black crispy contours, it’s almost soapy-waxy centre, the sweet warm honey that so surreptitiously made its way through your mouth.
It’s strange the way these memories keep. I sometimes wonder if they really are like yellowing stamps in a neglected box, or whether they’re more like changelings, popping up out of the crib, a completely different beast since the last time you looked. But, then, how would you remember what they used to look like?