My lips, my skin, the hum on my breath.
My beating chest, my insides and outsides, were all once only 15.
15 years of growing and moving and whispers and fractures and bruising and hurting and romanticising.
15 years of not knowing much else beyond the tired dirt road leading from our home town out onto the highway, lined with ghostly gum trees and train tracks and darkness.
At 15 my family and I were living in a quiet tiny country town with only the odd coal train roaring and clacking it’s way through the vast empty quiet.
I travelled that tired dirt road that led to the highway, backyards and forwards and backwards again over my 15 years. Looking out of the back seat of our old cream Fiat, feeling so small amongst the blurred darkness as we moved ourselves through it’s thickness. Tiny beams from the headlights leading our way. The Milky Way and the Man in the Moon following us the whole journey. Captivated was I in my little spot stretching my neck to lock my eyes on the sparkley sparkles lighting up the big, dark nothingness above me.
Shadows of huge trees flicking across us between splashes of a full moon’s glow. My mum and dad in the front listening to a song on the radio, their gentle voices lulling me off to sleep.
All of this. And my 15 years. I liked nothing more then to collect it all up, my skin; flesh and bones; the quiet; the darkness; the clickety clack – and take it to where I could stretch it all out and lay it all down.
On those stars and that sky, I was hooked.
I would always pin all of my 15 year old hopes on the stars, excitedly believing if I just wished hard enough on the right star – something would have to happen, to change, to mould, to shape, to open up the dark and lead me beyond the highway one day.
On one special night at 15, when my mother gave up the evening fight of forcing me to finish every last bite on my plate, I planted my dangling feet down on the cool of the floor boards and tip toed quietly outside; stealing away to the moon lit back yard for some star gazing..star drowning, star bursting.
It was a hot, sticky February evening – I could hear the chimes under the back verandah in a soft dance with every breeze that came by.
Confined in my cotton night gown – a faded lavender hand-me-down from my sister all buttoned up and ribbons bowed. Blowing my wishes up into the giant night sky as it exhaled out glitter and star dust before me, dazzling and drowning my 15 year old eyes.
I lay down – stretched the whole of me completely out on our torn and weathered trampoline.
The faded black mat cool and rough under my skin; the smell of summer time, crickets filling the night air collectively.
I began to wish on those stars – as many as I could. As I remember that moment so vividly as I do with all special ones – I can still hear the soft breeze carrying a song from across the field where my neighbours tinkered on cars under a bright lamp. The Jackson 5 and their ABCs.
Just when I think this instant in time couldn’t get more full, more complete, as simple as 1,2,3,- I hear the back sliding door open and my dad now beside me. The smell of his cigerette and red wine lingering all around us as he pointed at stars and told me all about the things he knew beyond them, and the dirt road and the darkness and his 49 years.
We lay there for an hour or so and he never seemed bigger to me. He told me what he thought about it all, life, death and everything in between. He told of how he believed there was life out there in the deep yonder above, and it made my hairs on the nape of my neck stand up in absolute awe.
We listened to mum as she talked to herself inside, rattling dishes and forks and knives and then we giggled together in complete joy and lightness amongst all of the dark.
He asked me what is was I wished for as I picked one star that was the brightest, but was too shy to say.
I kept deep inside my flesh and my bones my quiet wish. I whispered to the sky once he eventually got up and took his warmth with him – I wished for romance, for love, for someone so lovely to live under the stars happily ever after with me and keep me warm always.
I had wished he was kind like my dad, with strong morals. I wished he was protective but not possessive.
I wished he worked a hard day and spent lots of time loving me. I wished he had warm sparkley eyes mirroring the stars we gazed upon, and I wished for strong hard hands that were also soft with square ends to fingers. Most of all I wished when he one day came along, that he would be seem giant in his love just like my dad.
It seems wishing upon stars is a good thing to do, because that very love did come my way. He has filled up empty space beside me in a giant-like way. With his skin and his bones, and his warm eyes and kind heart. As simple as A,B,C.
I still often look up into the sky as all dreamy girls do, no longer 15. I think about the simple things that make it all just so.
I think about how easy it is to love and be loved when you are amongst the right perfect people with your heart. Ones who want to gaze at the stars with you and dream.
Like a simple melody, that’s how easy love can be.