It was salmon pink, covered in velvet and did not suit the room. It was a grown ups room with its dark stained, wooden floor and white walls, waiting for my stuff, that had been packed away at Mum and Dad’s in Christchurch for so long. There was only my pack, grubby grey and red, leaning in the corner, its top dangling open like the pout of a little kid. This was the least interesting place it had been in the last ten years.
Mum was so pleased her youngest was back with a proper job; even it was at the other end of the country. Mary had stayed in Christchurch, now married with two little kids, who were quite good at pouting when I had seen them. Dave was in Sydney climbing the corporate ladder with ease and confidence, unlike my recent nervous jump onto the lower rungs here at home.
I flicked through the pages of the pink diary from when I was ten.
January 2, 1984.
Today was very exciting we went camping for the first time in our new tent. Dad said we should have got the new dryer Mum wanted.
We started travelling at 9:38.
There were lots of little hills in the road and they left my tummy behind. We stopped at Culverden and got a Moro bar each and some plates because Mum forgot to pack them.
Tonight we stayed at Marble Hill. We were in the middle of the mountains with tall peaks and bush covered hills surrounding a meadow of knee high grass. Mum said it was proper camping using our gas cooker and a long drop toilet. Mary said a long drop toilet was not a proper toilet and I agreed. It stinks.
Just beyond our tent was the bush - the tree trunks covered in black mould, disappeared into darkness. I collected drops of yummy bush honeydew off the mould while I tried not to think that it was insect wee. The ground was covered with fallen beech leaves and patches of green moss that was springy to walk on. A little way into the bush, there was a small stream with three tiny waterfalls close together, surrounded by moss. It looked like a dreamland. It was so quiet I thought I could be all alone in the world.
Out the window Auckland’s traffic was filling on the motorway. My new flat was hidden away around a series of back street corners like a cheap backpackers searched for in a foreign city late at night.
Episode 812: High Rise, Low Returns
10 hours ago