A story of a young Aboriginal boy who escapes
a mission camp through his dreams
I didn’t know what a nun was, after all we did things differently in the bush, and they were very serious always pulling us up on our mistakes. I see white walls, white people and white ways yet they were not kind like the fully clouds. My home didn’t have fences or big proud buildings, I lived out under the stars of my ancestors. Tau? What an odd name the nun proclaimed with much interest, as she wrote down my information. I was taught to read in the first camp I came to, my list always said the same thing, date of birth unknown, age unknown, parents, location, unknown. “What does it mean”? Demanded the nun, “what does what mean”? I spat.
Your name? And mind your tone, it means “dusk” I snarled. Nuns confused me, they were white but they wore black, I asked what people do they belong to, and I always got the same answer ‘we all belong with and to god’. I never could comprehend this, I belonged to the bush, with the mineral water springs and to my mother and sister. I was going to be an honoured elder like my father, he was the rain maker, he made the gullies and creeks flow and the clouds cry. My dad was the reason the storm bird sang, and the frogs chanted, the winds would moan with the colours of the rain, and tell the stories of our people.
I was used to sleeping under the stars with dad on the softest of grass, not enclosed in a box of sorrow. The room was as long as the river and yet as alone as the moon, sniffs and sobs could be heard echoing through the boundless room. The clouds cried onto the building reminding me of home, I look up to the sole window above my head and notice the tears dwindling down the glass in sync with the ones on my cheek. Memories of swimming in the mineral water spring whilst it rained. Pictures come to mind of watching the rain spill its secrets onto the water’s surface, spreading ripples of gossip across the spring. The all seeing carp painting his way through the water humming its song, such memories of home brought a smile to my face making my cheeks as warm as summer.
I would often day dream like this, dreams of home, of hope and the rain maker crying for his lost son. I would envision the drops hitting my face, and then the wind telling my father I was okay. Nights were long in this white bared prison, and it was not easy to sleep. The clouds and waters would remind the others of their families and homes, delivering a wave of sorrow and heartbreak through the hollow room. I am not alone, yet I feel like a lone fish in a pond of grief. The wind picked up howling its chants at the moon, I think of the unaccompanied willow tree outside in the courtyard.
How it whispers to all with the ears to hear, everything has a spirit my dad told me and with that spirit comes a story. Dad would point to the rocks and cliffs in the distance, he preached how each stone has its own story and if you listen you can hear its chimes. We had no need for paint in our home, the bush has more colours then even the stars and the ever observing moon has ever seen. Ants scurried to a dry nook to escape the damp, lucky you I whispered as I yawned there was no escaping for me. Like me the ants travel from site to site, loosing strings to the soul staining guitar that is home.
There was one escape from the white bars, and the fences through dreams and memories, my eye lids sealed my mind would drift to the place I hold most dear. There is a dark hallway with the most magnificent of doors at the end, painted with the blood of trophies I feel lured towards it, every night I open this golden door into my imagination and relieve myself from this prison. I step out onto an old creaky wooden balcony, and the door shuts behind me, and I look out from the balcony of dreams to see what adventures I shall undertake this night. The dream changes every night, sometimes I step off the balcony to find myself adrift in the endless plains of space. Floating through the cosmos spotting the stars of my ancestors that my father would always point out to me. Items from story’s I have read would float through this dream galaxy, things like bikes and teddy bears toys of children I would imagine, floats by me.
I’d even chat with the forever lonesome moon, and he would point towards the earth with such desperate reach, as if to say bring me back with you. Colours only the winds could whisper of, filled the black boundless sky. All seeming like lights to guide me home. Suddenly I would be home walking through the mossy cloud like grass that used to be my bed, I would see my sister playing and my mother and father talking they all seemed so happy, but they never saw me, only I them.
I reach for the warm embrace of my mother only to be walked through by my father, I was like a phantom that was not called to heaven, dwelling around the one he loved and cared for. And no matter how hard I tried, they never see me, life went on as if I never existed. My own clouds begin to rain as I scream, I’m home! No one heard me. A storm builds and I feel the lightning cracking behind my eyes only to be interrupted by the shakes of the girl beside me. Shhh! She hissed at me, you`re yelling in your sleep, whispers of the willow grab my attention, save your tears it chanted the time for your storm will come. Ryan ward