Posted by: alegra22 | August 17, 2011


With cold passing over the island, we fell asleep as a pile of bodies, cushions, fur and blankets in the living room. Fingers and toes drifted across my face. My ‘to-do’ list began to unravel into imagery that narrated stories about fence lines and spaces that needed clearing. Just before I fell backwards into emerald-green waters, small teeth caught hold of my hair and a purring filled my ears. Sally tumbled lazily on to my face and stared at me, her belly exposed, her paws crossed. I slung her somewhere between the rising and falling hills of my children, their breathing blending into the whir of the heater.

I closed my eyes and was standing before a home that was mine-but-not-mine, crying because the fence was covered in graffiti. As I scrubbed at the wood and pulled at weeds, Joaquin woke me up. He was covered in vomit, his small hands clenched in terror.

The rest is a blur of sour smells and the image of him curled up on the floor, half-naked, shivering and sobbing as Dan and I attempted to clean him as quickly as we could, both of us scrambling in half-crazed parental anxiety.

Cleaned and re-clothed, I gathered him to my chest, imagining that he felt lighter, his bones fragile. He flattened himself into me as though trying to press through the boundaries between our bodies and hide inside my heart. I fell asleep with his head beneath my chin, his legs wrapped around my waist, his fists buried into the warmth between my belly and his. We slept that way for hours, a part of my mind never fully resting because these moments have a way of slipping quietly through the sieve of my anxieties, flecks of something profound glinting in the darkness and disappearing.

Today, I remember this – the peace of being able to hold  my child through the night. It was as though between our bodies the secrets of eternity were written in heat and heartbeat.

We’ve spent the day navigating last-minute business details with the new house, only to find that just when we thought we’d crossed over into a place of security with the move, everything is on hold for a few more days. My anxiety was a flare, a flash across the sky, catching a few dry branches, embers raining down to exhaust their fire in the gentle, calming words of friends and family. By this evening, I felt the last of it as a heat, passing through my body, turning my tension to ash.

My heart relaxed its tight fist. The moments passed through, allowed to breathe. They sifted into a promise, a beautiful design at my feet:

Right now, you have everything you will ever need.



  1. I am really enjoying this backwards journey. Reading your stories and me actually knowing the end to them! It’s like going to the movies for me really!

    What I enjoy the most about your posts is the way you can visually intertwine your whanau into each lesson. We become a part of your stories.

    Again it is proof of the very strong relationship you have with them and everything around you that you touch.

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