I love my little girl. This disclaimer is for no one else but her, for when she reads this she knows that I love her to bits.
BUT – the bad days are really, really bad.
Like the multiple tantrums this morning when we finally had her Dad to ourself – even just for a couple of hours. The hitting and yelling at me to go away.
Then the empty house after he leaves and the hours that loom before me and I think GET OUT. So I pack bags and say to her “we’re going on an adventure!” I explain that she has to go into her pram, we’ll go on a train but she has to stay in the pram and then we can get to the gallery and look at art. Paintings, drawings, sculture – we can do some drawing.
So we take the train and she’s about to kick up but I remind her of our adventure, of what I have explained and then a junkie gets on and he’s not looking good. He’s got blood on his pants and he’s zoning in and out and weaving too close to the pram. He takes off his fanny pack, then goes for his zip and belt and I move us away from whatever it is the poor guy is doing.
We read Green Eggs and Ham and we laugh and make animal noises.
Then we’re at Flinders Street and she’s running across the bridge, pointing at the sky-scrapers and old ladies smile and say lovely things to my girl because she is lovely. But then she decides she wants to go a different way and runs away from me. I get her and force her into her pram and she kicks and screams and hits and yells at me to go away and people are staring and I feel that dreadful hopelessness I’ve been keeping at bay for a while now.
I push the pram to out front of the Spiegeltent and lock it. She screams and screams and screams and I just sit. People are watching and staring so I put my head down so at least I don’t have to see it. See the judgement, the curiosity, the whatever. And then I think about my life and the years I spent in this area making art and money and how now I’m invisible except for the screaming child and how I’ve been doing so well but it’s one fucking thing after another.
Nothing is working with me.
I can’t study – I can’t afford it. I am not entitled to child care rebate. I can’t put a foot right. I don’t feel like I belong. I thought Melbourne was home but it isn’t – it’s just a place where I have history. I’m on a bench again, crying, like I was in Berlin.
No matter where I go.
I eventually hand her her dummy, I turn the pram around and we get back on the fucking train. I come back to the house and I sit on the kitchen floor and just cry.
Like I did in Berlin.