Hum, thrum

29 October 2020

I’ve always lived in the eastern suburbs. Where I live, there’s these hills with TV towers on them that loom over suburbia. No matter where you are, you can see them from almost every point. And they have this permanent electric thrumming sound—an unrelenting suburban melody.

The persistence of the hills, with their watchful eyes and constant thrum, acts as a reminder that I’m always going to be here, woven through the crevices of the eastern suburbs. Woven through a sprawl of modest red brick houses, winding tar roads, squeaking gums and the ceaseless purr of the greyish-blue hills.

In the past I’ve found myself resentful towards the constant-ness of it all. At one point I feared they had a violent hold on me. Clutching me with a grip so tight, I was certain they’d turn my skin into their own greyish-blues. And so, with that thought, I tried to leave a few times. I left with an unmistakable malevolence. I told them I hated them and the way they nagged me to stay. I told them I was never coming back.

But I always ended up coming back. Upon each swift return, clambering my way home through the intimate folds of the backstreets, the first things I’d always notice were the hills and their towers. They’d be sitting there the exact same as I left them, lounging under a velvety pink sky, smugly awaiting my arrival.

Eventually my resistance became useless. I gave into their thrum and submitted to their heavy, changeless lulls. The hills, I’ve realised, are laced through my body in ways I can’t unravel. They’ve seen me in places no one else has. They’ve watched me leave with rancour, only to return with mellow, custardy apologies. They stare with mossy eyes as I bask under a mid-July sun, letting my skin absorb the delicate warmth of the Australian winter. They hear the grass sigh under my weight as I walk through dewy afternoon lawns. They watch as I let myself sink into the familiarity of the suburbs without fear, under the spell of their all-knowing, sort of hazy-blue glory.

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