So we’re in the car, me and John, driving West to Kellyville Ridge to meet my brother. My brother whom I haven’t seen for fifty plus years. Separated by adoption and circumstance. I’m doing it.
There’s a blue and white Sydney sky above and those spindly dark Australian trees along both sides of the highway, casting shadows as we flash past.
I’m only vaguely aware of my surroundings. It’s all going on inside. My head and heart have plunged into the depths. An emotional fucking bungee jump. I’m hoping to Christ the rubber thing doesn’t snap – and part of me is hoping that it will. It’s been that way for hours, giving me grief. Riding the waves of sadness and loss as I travel towards what? Wanting instead to do a U turn, or to descend into oblivion rather than face into the depth of feeling. Oblivion. Obliterate. “What was I fucking thinking? I hate everybody anyway they can all just fuck off if I was dead I wouldn’t have to be feeling these feelings what are they anyway where do they come from fuck”
Blessedly, Robert Forster is in the car with us, with “Songs to Play”, providing an anchor as he sings of knowing there is someone to turn on the rain.
I’ve been awake since five with a busy mind and a sore heart, acutely aware and trying to make sense of the injury and self-betrayal we all carry. Is this shit always with me? With us? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. It’s too much. No wonder I fucking used for so long. The thing I loved about drugs was their ability to take the pain away. Sadly, they stopped working and life became very fucking scary. I was at their mercy. I could do with something today though. I want the car to turn around. I want to die.
I’ve done the usual daily self-care routine hoping for some kind of homecoming. The guided ‘body scan’ meditation, and onto the knees and prayed “fucks sake dear god please help me”. Done the daily reading, written the writing, eaten the breakfast, had the shower. Attempted to distract myself with Crackbook and been up the road to buy something, anything, twice, to no avail. Seeking respite I picked up the book I have on the go, “Between a Wolf and a Dog”, It’s a novel written by Australian author, Georgia Blain. I love her. It’s about family and love and forgiveness and all points in-between, set mostly on a rainy day in Sydney. Mercifully it matched my mood and soothed me. Thank Christ for books and music.
We arrived and there he was. He made it easy for me did my brother. Greeting me with warmth and kindness. We were careful with each other and we spoke of family and showed each other photos on our phones as we gently caught up with fifty years of loss. He took us to a place nearby for lunch with the family. We all did well. I was grateful John was there with us. No mention was made of the mother.
We were tearful as we said our goodbyes. He held me tight. I wanted to stay and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. What is it about adoption? The drive back was peaceful. Robert Forster sang us back to Newtown in the sun. John went about his business and I took the time to rest and integrate. Jesus wept.
A text arrived
“Hi. It was really good to see you again after all the years. You don’t know how much it means to me having you as a sister back in my life. Thank you for coming over”.
I met up with the beloved girlfriends for a home cooked dinner. As we six sat around the table eating and talking shit and laughing, someone did indeed turn on the rain. The heavens opened and it absolutely fucking hosed down.
We were off to see Patti Smith and her band perform “Horses” at the State Theatre. We were driven through the downpour to our destination and the energy was crackling in the beautiful theatre as we made our way to our seats. Full house. And there she was. Patti. Right on time and dressed head to toe in Anne Demeulemeester, commanding the stage with her warmth, humour and fierce grace. Patti talked and sang and prowled and spat, reciting poetry and the occasional verse from the bible, and in the doing, transformed the State Theatre into the atmosphere of an intimate venue.
When “Horses” was done, they let rip with a selection of favourites from the back catalogue, including a cover of the Who’s “My Generation”. Patti picked up a guitar for this one and during an outpouring of concerns about her country’s politics, and in-between a cacophony of feedback and torn guitar strings, Patti faced us and she yelled “We had dreams! And we’re still fucking dreaming! I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks – we’re going to change the fucking world. And I’m fucking OLD and I love it!”.
There in my seat in the State Theatre, I gave thanks for the reminder. I was glad to be alive. Right there, in the State Theatre on Market Street in Sydney City, Patti Smith sang me back home.