Part Eight: And I Feel Fine23 November 2017
I won’t be writing for a while. No need to grieve the loss of such artistic excellence that has surely enriched your fucked up, post-apocalyptic life in some way or another.
I’m not even sure what led me to write these last few weeks – an effort to secure my sanity? A documentation of our lives for future historians (if the world recovers enough)? So that if the world does recover enough and society becomes normal again, my journal could be adapted into some glorious theatre production involving interpretive dance, glitter bombs and a disco soundtrack?
Maybe I just wanted to write about my feelings.
After Mordi was burnt down by the YOMG kids, George, Mum and I went to live with Hazel and her jazz bandmates in Macca’s. Hazel realised early on that you had to form your own new world with whatever you could find and so, instead of ransacking stores for expensive designer clothes or the last scraps of fresh dairy and meat, Hazel scavenged for seeds, fertiliser, art supplies and a shit load of batteries. She grew and created a new world for herself.
I spend most of my time in the garden now. Maybe that sounds stereotypically feminine, but I like it – it’s peaceful, and the garden encompasses the Macca’s wreckage in this weird juxtaposed way, with fruit trees climbing up the sides of the walls, hanging over fields of potatoes, strawberries, pumpkins and a lot of green stuff that I can’t name.
“It’s too bad we only learnt to appreciate Mother Earth after climate change got the better of us,” Hazel had said, presenting her work.
“No, but, aliens attacked us,” insisted George. “It wasn’t climate change.”
“Are you serious? We were nuked.”
He’d looked at me as if I were an idiot. “Yeah…by aliens.”
“Aliens don’t have nukes.”
He scoffed. “And how would you know that?”
George says a lot of weird things. They’ve become weirder now that he’s started bonding with Axel, the conspiracy theorist of Hazel’s band. I think I heard them discussing the prospect of writing a zine together, to expose ‘the truth’ behind the Apocalypse. I asked how they’ll distribute their zines, and Axel insisted that Hazel’s carrier pigeons will deliver them. I wasn’t that surprised to learn that Hazel had trained wild birds.
As for Mum, she’s been learning how to play bass guitar with the help of Hazel’s other friend, James, so I guess we all merged into the new community pretty well.
Hazel found me in the garden this morning, pinching snow peas and flicking bugs off the strawberries. She sat down by my feet and then grabbed my hand, tugging me down as well. We sat in silence for a while; she looked down at our hands and smoothed her thumb over my palm.
She sighed. “This place makes me feel too…settled. Do you get that?”
“I mean, I love it,” she continued, “I grew all of this and I love it, it brings me so much Zen…but I got such a thrill being out there with you that day.” She grinned, looking past me. “It was so exciting.”
I frowned. “It was kinda traumatic for me.”
She blinked. “Oh. Yeah. Obviously…but you’re all good now, aren’t you?”
I looked back down at our hands. “I guess I get what you mean.”
I nodded. “It feels too weird. I haven’t been scavenging in over a week and I’ve been getting this itch. I think I’m actually getting a rash from being stuck here for too long.”
“Oh, nah, that’s probably the tomatoes.”
She jumped up, hauling me up after her. “I’m gonna go grab the ute. We can do anything. Go bush, drive across the whole country, collect all the stray dogs we can find and raise them in a field, grow more farms for other survivors, go on tour with my jazz band, make lots of shitty art, revolt against The Sanctuary like the radical peasants we are at heart!”
I stared at her. “Whoa. Where has all your chill gone?” I hadn’t looked too closely at her herb garden but began wondering if ‘herbs’ were more of a euphemism.
She cupped my face in her hands and pulled me close to her. “I have the best vibes right now.” In a flash she leaned forward and kissed me, before spinning around and running off towards her ute. I stared after her.
Someone gagged and I turned around to see George, walking up to me with a pigeon in his hands.
“Why are you carrying a pigeon?”
“His name is Yorick and I swear to god if you abandon me for your funky herbal girlfriend he will shit all over your bed.”
I laughed. “Remember when Tony Abbott punched you in the face? I’m not going to miss the next time that happens because I’m too busy picking blueberries with my funky herbal girlfriend.”
He side-eyed me for a moment before shrugging it off and asking me to tie his zine to the pigeon’s foot.
So that’s the end, I guess. For now. I’ll start writing again eventually but I’m starting to get some seriously bad hand cramps as it is. I don’t know if anybody will make any sense of this, or if anybody other than myself – or George, if he steals this while I’m sleeping to find out if I’ve misrepresented him – will read these ramblings. Maybe it’s just nice enough to know that no matter how fucked the world gets you can always work with it to bring some good.
I hope I can at least do that.
I hope you can at least do that.