I looked up …

and saw that somehow it was June. The time between my January post and this one had been sucked into a black hole. I can barely remember where those months went, though I know it was all English tutoring at the uni, sending Entitlement to the publishers for editing and struggling to and from my job at Autism Queensland in between classes. My stress levels shot through the roof, I went for nearly three months without a day off (except at the Easter break), my social life evaporated, I was irritable with exhaustion and felt as though I was reliving the days before I finished my thesis, only Saviour Brother wasn’t around to help with the cooking and cleaning. At least my laptop didn’t blow up this time.

But … it was worth it. I loved tutoring. I loved the contact with my students, trying to work out what would make them interested and trying to make them talk, which wasn’t always easy, not least because they had an FM microphone shoved in their faces so I could hear them. Once I resorted to tossing sweets at them as a reward, which didn’t really work, but at least it cheered them up. At first I had no idea what I was doing, but as Dad always said, “If you’re chucked in the deep end, you have to learn to swim” and I learnt fast. And once I relaxed, they began to as well.

In the midst of this was the wonderful sanctuary of Coolum, where A1 had booked a house for our friends. The weather was gorgeous and I was able to wear a new bikini on the beach, and another bikini which until this point had been under-utilised (though was not seaworthy, being white and insubstantial). I was put in B1’s room on account of his snoring, which kept those down the hall awake, but not yours truly. In the mornings I staggered out of bed and made a cup of tea and sat on the verandah with my book (Rose Tremain’s The Road Home), soaking up the sun and listening to the wind in the palms. Then, in order to render myself fit for communication with other holiday inhabitants, I swam in the pool and woke myself up.

Having found myself without a beach frock (I had been marking up until the lunchtime before we left, then did a tutorial, then packed in haste), I bought a Wish dress on sale in a boutique which had been marked down 80%. I was so excited I was still talking to Sister about it when I returned.

Oh my god,” she said, “we are so not related. I wore the same clothes four days straight.”

That’s disgusting,” I replied.

We also made a trip to Noosa, to which I had never been and which I found overpriced and crowded, with very unfriendly shop assistants. I also dragged my sorry arse out of bed at 5am to see the sunrise with A1. The last time I had seen the sun rise was when I was 9, camping with our friends the Coopers. I was in the habit (inconceivable to me now) of waking up before everyone else and was often bored to tears waiting for an adult to get up and give me something to do. At least then there had been the sun rising over the sea, viewed from the frame of a triangular tent flap. This time it was overcast, but it was still dramatic watching sharp gold prick the horizon line, before swelling and clinging to the bottoms of the clouds.

When I had shot enough photos, A1 suggested coffee, but I hadn’t brought my wallet.

I didn’t think anything would be open at this hour.”

You don’t get up this early very often, do you?” she said.

There was no answer to that.

All that sunshine, sea, pool and friendship was enough to recharge me to get through the last month of tutoring. Now, on my first weekend off, I have run (lengthily), had my first inline skating lesson by the river (excitement extreme) with J2, attended a Getup rally in favour of climate action with Sister and the kids, and picked up a pen for the first time in months. Life, it seems, is about to begin again at last.


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