Thursday, July 19, 2007

green tea toothpaste

I've been to Armidale and back, but it feels like I've been to hell and back.

Oh, OK. Maybe that's too dramatic... but there's no escaping the intensity.

This was my second trip to Armidale for residential school. Both journeys have been quite surreal.

I jump on the plane, land in Sydney, hire a car, hold myself tensely as I drive through a busy, unfamiliar city to Newcastle where I reconnect with a family I hardly know now. After late night conversations spent attempting to recapture our commonality, I slide behind the wheel and drive six hours into country New South Wales. There the magpies woo me as I tumble backwards to a time when my family was together. Mother, father, sister, brothers. It wasn't always happy, but we were together.

In class I slide further into the depths of what once was. Trauma, violence, grief, loss - the topics of a counselling course. The subjects of a lifetime. And so I sink still more into the past, trawling through the detritus of what was. Of what might have been. Of what never will be.

On the final day of school I start ascending to the surface. The deconstructed pieces of my soul slide slowly back into place before I slip behind the wheel once more and drive back the way I came. Back to the family I know a little better now. Back to the busy city. Back to the plane that takes me homeward. Back to Frank.

As I step out into the wintery sunshine that glints and glistens on the snow capped mountains I break through the surface of the past and gulp in the air of the present as Frank pulls me back from where I've been.

Drained, but in one piece. Bruised, but not destroyed. Glancing over my shoulder at the hazy skid marks of a road trip that wrung me dry.

Nothing much is clear about the last few days. It's all a murky memory. Except for the green tea toothpaste. A relic from last year's trip to China. ("Try this green tea toothpaste Cecily, it's interesting!" So interesting I left it untouched in the vanity cabinet drawer until the tube of Macleans Extreme Clean was discovered split in it's box as I scrambled with last minute packing) It's acridic taste curled my tongue and etched itself onto my brain. Perhaps forever.

So Armidale? Res school? Oh yes, I remember. That's when I journeyed back in time and into myself. When I sampled that awful green tea toothpaste. Yes, I remember Armidale.

What a trip!

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At 2:47 am, July 20, 2007, Blogger Cherie said...

I love reflections like this - not the sadness, or the discomfort, but you, swimming around in your life, your self. Great post! So glad you are home, safe again in Frank's arms!

At 12:04 pm, July 20, 2007, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

Cecily, welcome home. You were missed. Probably more missed by Frank. Families, oh those wonderful, families. You did a good thing visiting. I hope they appreciate you.

At 2:57 pm, July 22, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Glad you're safe home again. Green tea toothpaste - ewwwwww!

At 8:42 pm, July 25, 2007, Anonymous Karen said...

Glad you're back, safe and sound - you should try echinacea toothpaste - no chemicals - just herbs - and it's a lovely brown colour, doesn't froth and leaves you feeling content knowing not only are you not supporting the multinationals but you are being kind to your mouth and to the septic tank!

At 10:31 pm, July 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here it is; better late than never, cut and pasted from the saved Word doc:
The way you write feels transorming; that I've just been on a journey with you, which in reality is to a place inside you. Your ability with the written word is so captivating in whatever the sentiment. I'm glad you're back too.

At 10:34 pm, July 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feeling a touch of the Monk so have to add: the missing 'f'.


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