STORY BY ELIZABETH CARROLL | ILLUSTRATIONS & PHOTOGRAPHS BY LOUISE THRUSH
Longing. My bones still warm and melt a little at the thought of it. The dream took hard, aching shape here, and here I walked, carrying my dream every weekend before I carried my daughter.
I was all emptiness then, walking the beach and rocky paths of the headlands like a ghost, forced into motion by pain. I’d miscarried our first baby only months before.
I would walk: see the bright brave kids roving with their dogs and the tiny tots with their mums and dads. My heart would clench at that shy look of pride those mums would offer me as their little kids, damp sandy and tired, would troop past. Back home to their gardens, their vegie patches, up the goat path past the damson plums, feral passionfruit and the flock of grey geese.
My heart would yawn as wide as this bay. It seemed to me that they had everything.
Bringing my partner down one late summer afternoon, the sea haze turning gold over the Alum Cliffs, the kids on boogie boards, the adults snorkelling over the reefs or cooking a barbecue. ‘Well this is… disgustingly idyllic,’ he said.
Tiny sandy tots become king or queen of the castle in a kingdom of boulders and beach creeks, barbecues and kayaks, free as hunting terns, secure in their world. A place where people’s eyes light up a little with pleasure when you mention where you live. Who wouldn’t want that for their kids?
If you have a kid that is.
Even now the smell of blue gums and the sea brings it back.
My daughter was conceived and born at last – pure chance, our miracle – and our world was torn apart and remade, as I now know happens when babies come into your world. Not just your body tears.
I want to promise her that idyll of Taroona, of a ‘good’ school surrounded by smart kids, the dog park and community garden, the beach and the bush just out the door, and a café for me. We may never be able to afford it for her, but we can bring her to play at the beach at least and she can own it and her summers here while she plays. And at least she’s here. Our miracle. Impossible joy after pain.
I am busier now and we come here less often, but when we do I tell her ‘I dreamed of you here. I waited for you.’