A brief ray of sunshine

Dear Raelene

We had been on the road for over a week; doing the circuit of regional shows during the Spring Holidays.

Dad and Mum, with Terry and Margo were due to catch up with us in Narrandera. You had arrived at the farm while we had been on the road and had been invited to come over with the family for the day.

I watched as Terry and Margo piled out of the car and was surprised to see this tall, elegant woman slowly unwind herself from the confines of the back seat.

You were the new help for Mum in the house, in hindsight; alarm bells should have been ringing but I have a mortgage on naivety and my first interactions with you, were quite wonderful.

By the time we got home; there seemed to be a different mood in the house, Mum and Dad were on their best behavior; your infectious laugh, beauty and seeming lack of pretense had captivated everyone, even Jerry seemed smitten.

Terry, going through puberty at the time; followed you around like a male dog chasing a female on heat, and, even I; with all the doubts still boiling on the question of my sexuality, would go to bed dreaming of a future with you.

When it was time to go back to School, you came with Mum for the trip and I proudly showed you around where I had spent most of the last six years.

For a brief moment, I was the envy of the whole school; we walked the quadrangle and the classrooms, I showed you through the old mansion which was the centerpiece of the school and momentarily; I was King in this place which had been the scene of much bitterness.

It was my HSC term, I struggled through my final exams not expecting to do very well but nothing seemed to matter; life back on the farm suddenly seemed much more alluring.

It was like peace had broken out, after years of internecine warfare.

There is an old saying “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” but all doubts I may or should have had, went on the back burner.

I was back home late November, now finished with school, and the farm was a happier place with you there; debt, doubt and the violence of the past, seemed to have been a mirage.

Harvest was good this year and the world seemed brighter, I put aside the reservations I had about working with Dad, Jerry and Steve.

God knows what Mum really made of this miraculous change of mood and tone, but; she grabbed the opportunity to expand her horizons without the constant criticisms of the past.

She seemed happy to take you on excursions to Wagga and Albury, introducing you, to her old and new artistic friends.

The period leading up to Christmas in 1969 was one of the rare extended periods of joy I had ever experienced at the farm. I had my Driver’s license now and I was encouraged to take you around to the various Christmas services and concerts which were part of the fabric of the district, but which we had in the past not really been a part of.

The foggy grey of depression which in the past had permeated the farm, seemed to have miraculously lifted and life was good.

Raelene; for this brief period of time, you were the ray of sunshine I had wanted for so long.

I forgot the sunshine is always followed by a storm!

I don’t know where you are now and much has happened in the intervening years, but; for this tiny sliver of time, life was good.

Bruce

 

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