Janet has always loved the power of words, as a reader and a writer. She is very interested in both the spaces we create between ourselves and others when we relate, and the capacity to heal and understand ourselves, and other, through telling and sharing our stories.
I made my way through my teenage years with all senses attuned to possible avenues of escape. I was biding time, keenly focussed on the alluring prize of Freedom just ahead.
On a Friday night and over the weekends, I’d slather on gold eye-shadow and dark brown lippy and head off to my part-time job at the local dairy. If I wasn’t going to be allowed out to linger with others girls in doorways of down-town shops, I’d go ‘out’ to work. It was great to earn pocket money, all my own, and magnificent to be somewhere else, entertained by humanity at large, as it was. The steady stream of people coming in and out of the shop provided a diversion from the restrictions of my family life.
Amongst the regular customers were: rugby boys cooly ordering double malted thick shakes laced with raw eggs; kids, racing to the door on foot or zooming up on their bikes to halt in awe before the bright array of lollies; grannies calling by for ice cream sundaes and the odd can of sardines; blokes buying bait, on their way to catch the big one. On hot weekend days, whole families out driving would roll in, and ice-cream after ice-cream would roll off my wrist.
One morning, my boss, a large amiable fellow related to us by marriage, several times over, arrived looking rather awry. He had been out partying with mates the night before. As the day stretched he re-told his story many times over. He’d been driving in from the ‘Cuttings’, coming up along the ridge, when all of a sudden there was a circle of very bright lights above, like no plane, like nothing else they could fathom…. Whatever It Was, hovered and circled as if checking them out.
Michael was of a wide-eyed Irish variety, yet I’d never before seen his eyes so dilated for so much of the day. This was the UFO day. It intrigued me the way a story could grow so in magnitude and effect over a day’s proceedings. My family were Presbyterian on both sides, we played things down. This passionate way of sharing a tale was almost as fascinating as the story itself. Michael and his mates really did believe they had seen a UFO. Wow!
What a big and fascinating world, just beyond the garden hedge. I fancy I contemplated my small life that evening, staring out at the starry skies above, yearning even more to be Free.
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