Sitting alone in my Brisbane apartment, I sort and pack my belongings.
In the stifling heat, I make regular trips downstairs to recycle the detritus of my scrapbooks and photograph albums. It’s a heartbreaking enterprise but I simply cannot take them with me.
Sometimes, I skim through my journals. Leaning back for a moment in the tiny living room’s chaos, I realize how much I treasured the intimate, peaceful and quiet times I shared with Karl.
We loved a game of cards before bed, sharing a cup of tea, strolling by moonlight along the unlit Village streets, sitting together on winter evenings rugged up on the deck, wearing our Ugg boots, enjoying cup of tea or a glass of red wine, and warming our hands by the chiminea fireplace with its crackling wood fire.
I remember glimpses of Karl gently lifting a roast out of the oven…
How I bless our uncomplicated intimacy.
Karl and I were both eccentric. Every time we drove in the car (even a two-minute trip to the Village), I would compose new poems or songs for him.
Karl would tuck me into bed each night with an identical, redemptive bedtime story. It is a story of the challenges, struggles and ultimately, the triumphs of the Wadie and the Pretty (my pet name for him that he accepted).
Karl invariably begins his nightly tale with the escapades of a pair of elderly adventurers, who were initially roughing it by living in a small tent on the Nimbin property, then living in a makeshift tent structure (the hootchie), then in a steel shed, then in the partly built house and finally (wait for it!), triumphantly, living a domestic life of liberty and comfort in a stylish, modern eco-house with all the bells and whistles.
I close my eyes and dream, finding our nightly rituals deeply healing and reassuring.
Karl also feels the power of our intimate rituals, as he explains after he died.
He reminds me in late 2016:
Now all of our life together (all our lives together, actually) makes sense to me. We had unique ways of loving, that’s for sure. And ‘tucking in’ was an essential loving ritual.
Alert to the presence of marigolds
During my last weeks in Australia in May 2017, Karl tells me that my acceptance of the miracles (marigolds) he’s manifesting brings him great happiness. A visiting Canadian friend and her companion cart away four large boxes to Canada as luggage. Taking them with me as excess baggage would have cost me $1000.
The next day, Karl exclaims, “Rejoice now! You are so awash with love and care and appreciation that you can hardly go wrong.”
But I am profoundly exhausted and apprehensive that I will fail to empty the Brisbane apartment before I leave. I am too tired to organize anyone to collect things for a goodwill store. So I beg Karl for more help.
Karl’s next miracle
Karl’s next miracle really sets me back on my heels: the incoming tenants agree to take all my remaining furniture. Even the fridge. And the bedding. All the linen. Pots and pans. The lot!
Worn out by packing, I give them everything I cannot take to Canada.
The new tenants cannot believe their luck.
And neither can I.