Tunnel City

I sat with my back to the girl in labour. Of course, at my age, anyone younger than twenty harvests is considered to be a girl. I could hear her screams, her panting. I could hear the midwife reassuring her, telling her to push. I could hear the girl cursing and swearing, threatening to bring down the wrath of Light onto the absent father of the child she was pushing into existence. The pain of labour always brings out the best humour – and language – in a woman.

In Tunnel City, the greatest respect you could show any other person was to turn your back on them, giving them some privacy. Aside from the midwife and myself, the labouring girl had an entire platform to herself. Anyone with an urgent need to pass, did so with their eyes carefully averted. The hope we all felt for this mother was reflected in the eyes of anyone who happened to meet my gaze as they scurried past. Continue reading “Tunnel City”

The Gift

There is no gift greater than a Mother’s love

Place: Ingham, Queensland, Australia.

Date: 7th March 1977 – my 8th Birthday.

As a sickly child, I’d been evacuated to the local hospital the day before. The hospital was on a hill, just above the predicted level of the flood that threatened our town.

When I woke up, I was greeted with the sight of Ingham under water. The familiar streets and houses were gone: all that remained were the rooftops. Some houses were taller than the others, and you could see the tops of their windows. Furniture and other household items bobbed up and down in the water inside those windows, occasionally bumping into the glass. Continue reading “The Gift”