Monday, April 30, 2007


Tried to make a myspace page the other day. But then I gave up. Something about going out into the net to find a layout. Codes and generators. I grew frightened and gave up. Another day, I thought, I’ll make a myspace page.

Then, last night, a terrible thing. I discovered I had made a myspace page. By accident. Somehow, just getting started had made it happen. And there I was, half-formed, no photo, no interests, just a star sign and a Friend named Tom. I don’t even know any Toms. In the bottom left-hand corner of the page, I announced that I don’t want kids.

Well. The state I was in. Trying to close down that myspace. I think I did it in the end, I think I no longer have a myspace, and I worry about Tom, but mostly I feel chilled at what could have been.

If I had not found that myspace. If I hadn’t got there first and closed it down.

One day, I’d have woken up and Charlie would have been gone.

Hours, maybe days later, I’d have found him, crawling along the footpath, his little red elephant tucked under his arm.

"Charlie," I’d have said, "I don’t understand. Why are you running away?"

His lower lip would have done that trembling thing that it does when a toy makes a sudden, loud noise. Then he would have composed himself, turned his face away. "I saw it online. You don’t want any kids."

"What? What are you talking about! Who said that?!"

"It’s okay." He’d have given a proud, little shrug. "You did. It was on your myspace. You don’t have to explain. I’ll go live in that play area near North Sydney oval. The one with the spinning things and the drums for kids to play with? I liked it there. I’ll play with the drums. I’ll be fine."

My poor, confused, brave little boy.

In the end, I suppose it would have been nice. We’d have cleared up the misunderstanding and hugged, cried, and so on. Eventually, we might have laughed about technology and default settings, and then we’d have headed home for some mashed banana.

But still. It really makes you think.

The Hammering

Also, new people have moved in next door. There has been hammering in the walls. The first day, a moving truck. The next day a lot of hammering. Hours of it. The day after that, a black dog. I arrived home in the evening, just as their front door opened. I paused, ready to say hi, maybe offer to bring around some home-baked muffins to say welcome to the neighbourhood. A black dog emerged. The door quietly closed.

That was a week ago now. Since then, nothing. Sometimes, the strange, hollow barking of the dog.

The silence around that barking seems to me to be a kind of reeling. I believe that the people next door were once jubilant. That first night they hammered in their picture hooks. That first night, contrary to their lease, they covered their walls with picture hooks. Then they hopped into their beds, smiling around, happy with their new home and their pictures. Then the baby in my house woke up. I believe that the people next door had not realised, until that moment, that they had moved next door to a teething baby who wakes four or five times a night.
There is something hushed and shocked about the silence from the house next door.