Written 6 July, 2020
Millie, my favourite
We need to leave Marg’s house to get work done, to resume our real life. But 90 year old Marg still needs a watchful eye. We’ve got into the way of always cooking for her since she’d said, after looking after a family of seven, that she’d forgotten how to cook. But last night, we came back to find slices of pumpkin boiling in salted water, another pot with broccoli boiling, and sausages laid out in a frying pan, ready to go. She’s remembered.
Then news comes of her grandson, J, coming home from Perth. She’s worried that he’ll see her bedroom, piled high with the family’s discarded clothes. I comfort her that his bedroom, locked since he went, is probably as untidy. We need to go. We hear the news at 2, and we’re packed by 3. He’s due tonight at 9. She’s going to nap till he comes. There’s dinner for her – a pot of soup in the fridge, sausages ready to fry. and last night’s boiled potatoes. I run around to Woolies to get her a good supply of her favourite tea leaves (tea bags, like the internet, are too modern).
It’s hard to leave her, but it’s a good time now sh’ll have company – and we go back to our flat in Darlinghurst, tiny but warm. it feels safer now that the virus has waned in Sydney, although today there’s worrying news that the virus is airborne, as well as spreading in droplets. That’s only recent knowledge. 229 scientists have signed a paper that it stays in the air for up to 16 hours. We worry over the lift in these flats, a block of 100 units. And listen carefully to the news from Melbourne, where it’s spreading – 127 new cases, up from 66 yesterday, and 2 more deaths, the national toll 106, two from the Melbourne Towers. The border with NSW will close tomorrow night, to “ring fence” Victoria. We’re becoming used to these terms as if we’re all mathematicians dealing with graphs- of the ill and dying- “staying ahead of the curve”,”flattening the curve” “waves” (of infections) “spikes” (of infection)” “the R rate” (how many people one sick person infects…, 10 new cases in NSW up to July 5, after r867,236 tests. If it gets higher, we’ll flee to the river again, and with K. But how high?
A shock today. I texted an academic friend and cried on her shoulder about my chapter, how it was criticised by the first referee. Should I just throw it away? What exactly did they say? she asked. I told her about the dogs’ breakfast.She didn’t think I should give up. Just fix what you can.
All afternoon, her question nagged me. What exactly had he said? I had to get braver. After all, I might be able to fix it. I found some Aldi chocolate in the cupboard, dark with sea salt, popped a big chunk in my mouth and forced myself to read all the way through the criticism. I got to the last line.
With these changes, this will be really insightful and deep reflection on practice, through theory, to tell us something new.
As i write this, I’m crying with joy. In the evening, i text my friend. I’m sorry I worried you. I didn’t read down to the last line. He ended by loving it. Maybe there’s a message here. Read down to the last line.