SEVERAL YEARS AFTER she lost her first child, Peter – abducted by his father in early 1950, lost without trace – my mother met the man she would spend the rest of her life with, the man who would be my father. He too is scarred by loss. It’s easy, in retrospect, to be unsurprised by this: both are looking for renewal, something to startle the disappointment and sadness from their bodies, and leave them altered. But when they find their trust again, these two, their ability to love – who could imagine this – they each offer it to someone who has lost as much: a son.
The geography, perhaps, is inevitable. It plays out in this particular place, the inner city jumble and asphalt shimmer of New Farm, in this city of Brisbane, still making itself. They both know these streets, the rough geometry of rooflines, the curve of the Story Bridge like a faded rainbow through windows, between houses. For them these vistas, these streets, redolent with basil and garlic and hops, already represent a recovery in both senses of the word – a recovery from pain, and the recovery of something, of the notion of the world as solid rather than weightless, of their own selves. Perhaps it is no surprise to them, either, that they find each other here, in this place of new beginnings.
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