I am in the underground bunker of the Col Jones Aquatic Centre. In amongst the red brick, and corrugated iron and sandstone. I am crying from the chlorine. It is too hot. In this noisy freak of a cave. Listen. Jacob. BRONTE. LISTEN.

This neighbourhood is a cult. There is no doubt. A cult with a bright blue pool built under the ground.

It is March and Sydney doesn’t know the difference between Summer and Autumn anymore. I am half watching the pool. My children lack buoyancy. I have thought this for years. All those lessons. A zillion dollars or so easily. And STILL so sink-y.

On the drive home Dom is talking about robbery. He has an idea to help the robbers. To improve their chances of evading capture. He is by nature a helpful kid. He says robbers should go swimming before they go robbing. That way their fingers would go wrinkly from the water and it would make their prints much harder for the police to trace.

I am thinking about prisons. Hotels. Flights. Window seats. Meetings in Detroit and Chicago. I am thinking about winter coats. I am planning for the first time in my life on being the sort of woman who wears a smart winter coat. I am aiming for charmingly windswept. Maybe there’ll be lipstick. I don’t know. There is no telling how transformative independent travel might be for me aesthetically. At the very least, my hair will less stupid.

I am thinking about the hemisphere where autumn is spring, and spring looks like winter. I am thinking about all those weeks ahead of no swimming lessons, or making sandwiches, or tussling over homework. And my heart is aflutter. ACTUALLY aflutter. And I am driving and laughing at Dom’s robbers splashing about for hours at the local pool before they bust their robber moves, and I am thinking about what to cook for dinner, and I can see the tops of my boys heads, their messy, damp hair in the rear view mirror. And then I am crying from the chlorine all over again.


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