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April 2015, vol 11 no 1

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Evonne Brennan Moore

An Ancient Song

I hid in the bathroom, shivering on the tiles, as he shouted about how abusive I was to him, and accused me of doing and saying things that I didn't think I did or said. I knew one of us was insane. We each had completely different versions of what happened each time. So I bought a little voice recorder and kept it in my pocket.

One day, after a forty-five minute recording, I grabbed my headphones and headed out to walk along the river. Nauseous, trembling like Psyche with her candle, I felt I was about to illuminate my own terrible monster self. About an hour later, after hearing things exactly as I remembered them, I followed my trail of tears back home to the monster that I lived with.

I finally grew the strength to leave him, but while I was still there I continued to secretly record him, it made me feel safe. Years later I listen to some of those recordings – there are hundreds, and I don't really want to hear them but sometimes I get curious. When I hear them I cry for that poor girl who hadn't yet learned to stand up for herself. Mostly I am amazed at all the birds I can hear in the background of each recording. Currawongs, bulbuls, cockatoos, lorikeets, wattlebirds all singing and calling from outside.

two masked actors
can't upstage
a chorus line of beaks