After what felt like a decade in silence we all heard the doors behind us open, none of us moved our bodies just our heads, out came Michelle. She looked at us with a smile and said “alright let’s head back”.
We all walked out of the hospital gates and down the hill back to our grandparents. After some afternoon tea we jumped in the car and headed back for Wollongong back to Michelle and Jacko’s place. Everything felt like a dream. Life went back to somewhat normancy, whatever that meant, I mean I woke up went to school, ate food, rode my bmx in the car park behind the unit, went into the kitchen watching Michelle koat michelles smoke, but things were strange. I remember my teacher every now and again smiling at me, you know those smiles that are only through the lips but when you look in their eyes you see sadness.
My life went on like that for the seven weeks I was kind of in auto pilot, there was a pub across the road with different shops, Michelle and me went for a walk and past the doors of the pub there were heaps of people I saw a sign that said “jelly wrestling” now I had no clue what this meant, but Michelle turned to me and said get on my shoulders and have a look, so she picked me up and as I got on her shoulders and could see over the sea of people I saw what appeared to be my first viewing naked ladies wrestling each other all, I didn’t know were to look, but they were at each other like fighting messy cats, it was so funny, I could hear the men cheer as one was pounded to the ground, wow is all I can say, even to this day I think of that serial moment and have a quite giggle. A security guard came out and saw us in the car park, looked at us and saw a lady with this boy staring mouth open at this scene turned around and shut the bat door, and as quickly as this unfolded it was over, “well” said Michelle looking at me, “well…” was all I could reply and then we both just laughed and laughed.
Michelle and Jacko from time to time went across the road for a beer they must of let kids in because I remember being in there watching them drink, there was one girl around michelles age that used to come say hi, but I could tell that Michelle hated her and that’s hate with a capital H, there was one time this girl had her baby there in a pram and they just started arguing, they screamed at each other about god knows what, Michelle was getting into her face but this girl had her pram in front of her screaming, I don’t know what was happening, me and my sisters were sitting at the other table and we just stared at the scenario unfolding, the situation was heating us and I remember Jacko getting between the pram and Michelle and pulled her away, he said to us ok let’s go, so we followed him back to the unit and shut the door, Michelle was furious to say the least. Jacko looked at us kids and said stad “here I’m going to calm Michelle down”.
He got Michelle to follow him out of the house and there we were me and my siters, a little confused, we sat on the couch and turned the telly on, when all of a sudden BANG… BANG… BANG… “MICHELLE COME OUT”
I looked at my sisters, who were clearly scared, I got up and quitely walked to the door, as I put my head up to the little eye hole, BANG….BANG…BANG she smashed on the door again, I jumped, I put my eye to the peep whole and saw the girl on the other side pacing past the door, she looked through the peep whole, I ducked down, just in time, I looked at my sisters and put one finger to my lips and go them to follow me to our bedroom, I opened the clothes cuboard and got my sisters to go inside, I wispeared “Stay here I’ll go get Michelle”, BANG…BANG…BANG, she wasn’t going away.
I closed the cupbaord door and went to the window and quitley opened it, I was sweating but knew I needed to get out, I climbed threw the window and fell out the otherside, I ran across the other side of the road looking behind me, I went into the pub searching for Jacko and Michelle. They weren’t there. I went up the road a little and then saw Michelle and Jacko talking to each other, I ran up to them and said “That girl is at the house and she’s banging the door”. Michelle just looked at me and ran back to the house, Jacko and I followed in a sprint, they were to fast for me, when I got there Michelle and Jacko were on the front grassy area and the girl was screaming at her, Jacko saw me told me to get inside, I went into the unit and into the bedroom where my sisters still were, we could all hear screaming outside, the three of us creeped to the front window, and by this stage Michelle and this other girl were fully punching each other, Jacko was trying to seperate them both to no avail, I was kind of reminded of the kelly wrestling I had saw the days previous, but this was so much more viloent and aggresive, and the only man around was not enjoying this. He finally got them apart and screamed at the girl and said “Fuck off and go home!” Pointing down the road, which she meekly did, there was blood on her mouth, they came into the unit and Michelle was laughing, “Showed that bitch, I think I knocked a tooth out”. Me and my sisters wanted to get away from the situation so we went outside looking for the tooth, we enever found it. That night we all slept in Michelle and Jacko’s room on the floor.
So as much as Michelle and Jacko’s place for me was a sence of peace and that I felt like Michelle and Jacko liked me, there was still a sence of crazy.
After a few more weeks, at dinner Michelle turned to us and said, “You mum’s coming back to Wollongong and it looks like you will be moving back to your old place with her and your Dad”. Wow I didn’t expect that. “She looked at me and said are you ok”. I replied “Yeah, I guess”. It wasnt that I was upset about moving back home with mum it was that I would be moving back with him…. My dad. Michelle said that the hospital was going to hold a meeting about the changes that was going to affect us all, I didnt know what that meant, the meeting was going to be in a couple of days during school time, Michelle said she would pick us up from school and take us there.
The day of the meeting I was in class and the phone rang, the teacher answered it and looked at me instantly she said “Jamie you need to go to the office”. I gathered all my stuff and my bag and ran to the office, my sisters were already there, Michelle turned to me and said “Ready” she turned and we followed her to the car. We drove to the hospital and got ushered to a room, there was a large round table in the middle of the room, big square windows that streached from the floor to the ceiling, and around the table a bunch people in white coats, there was five spare seats, these were for us. The room was silent, I looked around, everyone was staring at us kids, the door opened, the noise of people shifting instantly enveloped the room, we all turned round and I saw my Dad come through the room, my two sisters yelled out “Dad” and ran to him, he embraced them, he looked over at me, glanced at me and looked away, then he turned just outside the door and wheeled my mother into the room, straight away I noticed she looked weak, her left arm was held across her body, her left side of her mouth was droopy, she got wheeled to the table. Instantly one person started talking, he introduced himself and the other people in the room, they were all doctors who had been looking after mum, he then went on to discuss what stroke was and that Mum had a heart vaulve removoed and replaced, and that her left side of her body had been permanatly affected, meaning she could no longer use her left hand and that she had limited use of her left leg, the doctor turned to us kids and said that we needed to help her out around the house, and that dad would be moving back into the house to help out. I remember them being very matter of fact about the whole thing. He asked if we had any questions, Michelle grabbed my leg, I looked up to her, I didnt know what to say, of course I had questions I had a million, but none of them could come out of my mouth. After this we, the doctors said “Ok then I’m sure we’ll be seeing you all around soon”. Michelle the said that we would be going to back to her house and getting our things and back to our place
Little did I know then that this would be the last 7 months that I would ever be living with my family…