Belong

Where do I belong?

I’ve been commuting from Melbourne to Sydney on business for 6 weeks now. And I don’t know where home is anymore. Is it the short stay apartment in Darlinghurst where my belongings lie strewn around my suitcase? Is it the office in Pyrmont where half my stuff sits in filing cabinet drawers underneath my desk? Or is it my apartment in Melbourne where there is even less recent evidence of me?

I went to farewell drinks for people from the Pyrmont office. There were lots of polite smiles, awkward pauses, me pretending to be absorbed by my drink. I was only there for half an hour but it felt like longer. The awareness of how much I didn’t fit in simply couldn’t be tempered by alcohol.

When I go to the Oncology Ward to get my 3 weekly Herceptin injection, I don’t feel like I belong there either. Everyone else is still in the throes of chemo, balding and fragile looking. Where as I left all that behind months ago. I’m the healthy one with the short curly hair, the tan and the loud voice who strides into the hushed room, then, remembering where she is, quietly sinks into a recliner chair with a book, trying to blend in.

I guess the reason why I left Perth 4 years ago was coz I didn’t belong. I grew out of the surfies, the small town conservative attitudes, the limiting career options. In Melbourne I felt like I belonged. But now I feel like I belong in Sydney also.

They say that when you die, sometimes your soul goes into limbo. I may not be dead but I am certainly in limbo. My heart and my head feel torn between too many places. My dad, my job and the lure of a new city attract me to Sydney. But my boyfriend, the arts and close friends pull me back down to Melbourne.

As Dorothy says, ‘There’s no place like home.’ That’s all well and good if you know where home is. The trouble is, I feel at home in Pyrmont, Darlinghurst, at my dad’s in Quaker’s Hill and in Fitzroy. That song ‘I still call Australia home’ is too vague. Why doesn’t the damn singer name a town? A state even?

Still I can’t complain. There are too many people who are homeless. Loveless. Friendless. I have all of the above and more. So now I will cease my petty whinging and allow people with a real gripe to seek your sympathies. Sydney is a short lived fantasy that will end when my 2 month contract runs out. Melbourne is where my heart is. And without a high paying job that allows me to explore Sydney’s overpriced restaurants and live in its overpriced inner city apartments, Melbourne is where I belong.

Aislinn
2006

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