Houses: A Diary

25 years old. Moved yesterday, for the eighteenth time in my life. A brief re-cap:

1. The birth house in Brisbane, Mt Gravatt. I remember walking. I saw everything from toddler level. So I developed an intimate relationship with my parent’s knees.

2. The first place in Kingaroy. School oval next door. A street that led into the centre of town one way, and to nothing the other way. I remember fields across the street, and the sun setting on an infinite horizon. It was a Steinbeck novel.

3. The pink house in Kingaroy. I created the ‘David Channel’, a TV network in which I would host, write, and produce content. It would also carry helpful messages, like ‘at this time, no other channels are showing ads, so it’s a great time to flick around’. I drew the logo in chalk on the pathway to my front garden. When an older kid from next door came over and asked what it was, I lied. They rubbed it out. That kid was Lachlan Murdoch.*

4. The crappy house in Toowoomba. A new school. I remember the backyard that always felt moist, and my new best friends next door. We put on a play in our garage. It received mediocre reviews from our parents, who sat in the audience and talked through the entire thing. Rude.

5. The amazing house in Cambooya. Yellow. Big. Old Queenslander. Fireplace. Trampoline and chooks out the back. The house where I became a teenager. No plays, no TV networks, but a lot of reading. Douglas Adams. Doctor Who. Harry Potter. 13 years old. It was the house where my dreams linger and my nightmares still play out.

6. The other house in Toowoomba. The dog kept pissing on the one bit of carpet. The day where Dad bought the new computer and it was amazing. I listened to a lot of bad pop music very loudly using Windows Media Player. High school. Slamming doors. The pile of never-to-be-ironed clothes in the corner.

7. My first place. With mates. Drunk too much vodka and threw up. Got testy with friends. Learnt how to mow a lawn badly.

8. My second place, three months later, when I learned that you can live with some friends and not others. A favourite. I bought a washing machine. And had an awesome office. Finished the last Harry Potter book. Smoked.

9. Brisbane. Mangoes fell in the backyard and rotted. The ceiling of the bathroom was covered in mould. I cleaned it and felt grown up. A big window. Lots of sunlight. Left too early to go live in a van with my then girlfriend.

10. Brisbane, again, a fortnight later. The van broke down. Unemployed. No money. Hot Summer. Read ’52′ from DC Comics. Didn’t understand most of it.

11. Toowoomba, again. My girlfriend and I living in fragile, questionable domestic bliss. Wrote a play about indigenous issues and a couple more that have never seen the light of day. Broke the lease early when the relationship broke. Yelled at the landlord. First and last time I’ve ever yelled at another adult, as an adult. Shook with fury.

12. Brisbane. A bedroom on the bottom level of a happy couple. Hot Summer. Bad decisions. Wrote the darkest of dark plays. Stayed awake through New Year’s Eve and jogged around Brisbane on New Year’s morning, dodged five separate and distinct piles of vomit.

13. Toowoomba. Living with my parents. Starting again. Career launched proper. Did a lot of Sudoku. Got up early and watched the mist roll in over the back horse paddocks. The most Australian I’ll ever be.

14. Toowoomba, solo. My own unit. Alone and happy. Wrote some good stuff. The best shower I have ever had. My first nights with my now wife.

15. England, six weeks, in a little cottage in the middle of sheep farms. Ran to my partner after trekking around the States. Cold. Sharp. Clear. Lambs.

16. Brisbane. Opposite a truck depot. One room. Mattress on floor. A pit stop.

17. Brisbane. Our place. The place where we decided to marry. The place where we came home and opened wedding presents. The place where I fare welled a best mate. The place with the screaming pink office. Hot Summer.

18. The new place. To be decided.


*It wasn’t Lachlan Murdoch.