“If one keeps on walking, everything will be alright.”
– Søren Kierkegaard
Date 12th September
Kerri dropped me off at the school at Geham and I started walking just as the school bus went past. I knew Ruby and Ayla were on there, so I waved, hoping that it wasn’t embarrassing for them in front of the other kids. It’s hard to know what teenagers think! I couldn’t even get it right when I was one of them myself.
The road was pretty good and for most of it I was able to walk right off on the side. I walked through a bit of a rough section and ate some loquats off a tree in the bush. They were so nice and I could have stayed there all day just eating loquats. It made me wonder why the supermarkets don’t sell them given how great they taste.
I walked past this fancy-looking golf course and waved at the guys at the gate. They stared at me very sternly and didn’t wave back, so I kept waving and in my cherriest voice, I yelled out, “hello!” and smiled at them. They kept staring. It gave me a laugh. A bit further on a group of ladies were doing golf stuff close to the fence. They all stopped and and stared at me. I waved to them and smiled. They just kept staring. That made me laugh too.
I stopped at a little touristy village at Highfields and got a coffee and a fancy chocolate. I walked around the shops there and the guy from the art gallery said he’d seen Kerri and I walking the day before. We got into a discussion about being artists and I got to use my high-brow voice.
I came back through the coffee shop and the guy who served me asked me about the walk (he must’ve seen my bag or heard me asking another staff-member where to put it). I told him what I was doing and I thought he might give me a donation, but he didn’t. At least the coffee was nice that I’d had earlier, even though it was Lavazza.
At the water tower (Mt Kynoch) I walked up to the Toowoomba sign and licked it without waiting to see if anyone was watching. “I did it!” I yelled. I wanted to tell everyone in the carpark how great I was, but I didn’t. Instead I went and sat in the rotunda and called Pat (who had stopped a few days earlier to see me on the side of the road) to come and pick me up.
After Pat took several photos and a video of me walking in past the Toowoomba sign we took off for Hungry Jacks. I don’t eat food like that in my real life, but I’d been dreaming about this specific burger at Hungries for a fair while. I think it’s called a bacon double cheese burger or double bacon cheeseburger…you get the idea; a burger that’s full of fat and stuff that will clog your arteries as quick as you please, but tasty nonetheless, which of course is far more important than being concerned with long term health, social or environmental implications of lowering one’s standards to that level.
Pat bought me a burger meal with a chocolate thickshake and it was the best dream-meal I had on the entire walk. I took the burger apart and shoved it full of chips before smooshing it all back together and shoving it into my face. It was exactly what I’d been fantasising about. We got soft serves afterwards and they were like giant white poos! They must’ve had a kilo of icecream in each one.
Pat took me back to Shanny and Adam’s house, where we were both staying and I had a shower and washed my hair, which was pretty gross by that stage. I really hate washing it, so I make up little excuses about why I don’t need to do it and how it’s ok to leave it for another day, which turns into two more days, then three and before I know it, a week has gone by and I haven’t washed it for more than 10 days.
Pat is Shanny’s father and was in Toowoomba awaiting the arrival of Shanny and Adam’s second child. We got the call in the afternoon that the baby was about to make an appearance, so we headed up to the hospital for the big event. I was a bit worried about being so close to where babies come out of their mothers, but it was ok in the end and I didn’t get grossed out.
“You can come on through now,” the midwife said.
I fell back, and with both of my palms pressed flat up against the wall I said, “I’m not going to see or hear anything disgusting am I?” She looked at me like I was an alien (for some reason, it seems that ALL women are meant to just love babies and want to have as many of their own as possible and if you’re not cut from this cloth, then you are not from this planet) and said, “no, they’re all in a room of their own. Just wait in this chair and we’ll call you in to the birthing suite (yuuuuck!) when she’s ready to see the next visitor.”
I sat there, knuckles white on the arms of the chair. As I rocked ever-so-slightly back and forth I repeated to myself, “it’s going to be ok, it’s going to be ok.” Oh god, I hope I don’t hear anyone screaming. Why don’t they hurry up? I have to get the hell out of here!
Everything turned out ok. I can’t say that it changed the way I feel about babies or that I was swamped with this feeling of reverence for the miracle of life, but it was at least a new experience to be in the same location as a brand new human. Only for friends as good as Shanny and Adam would I be willing to put myself in this situation!
Afterwards, back in Shanny’s room on the ward I sat on the bed with her daughter Aubrey. “Jen! Cuddle!” she demanded. I lifted her up onto the bed with me and we sat there watching a cartoon on TV together. Her head pushed up underneath my armpit and my arm found its own way around her shoulders. She looked up at me and smiled and I could see why Shanny and Adam liked her so much 🙂
Me: I’m going to walk to Toowoomba.
Them: You can’t. That will never work. It’s too far. It’s too dangerous. You can’t do it by yourself. You can’t carry that heavy bag. There’s not enough water. You can’t. What if it rains. You can’t. You’ll get raped and murdered. There’s too many weirdos. The world is a bad place. Anything could happen. There are so many snakes. You can’t. What if you hurt yourself. It’s not safe. It’s too scary. Wild dogs will attack you. You’ll be all alone. You can’t. You’ll get run over. The road is too narrow. There’s no phone reception. You need a support crew. You can’t….but guess what?