top of page
  • madeline mcfarlane

in early december

In early December I found myself walking the backstreets of Prahran and writing novels on my phone before work. During my lunch breaks I would settle in the park behind the store with whatever overpriced lunch I could find on Chapel Street, and read. I’d read all the books I’d found on the shelves at work and convinced myself in spur of the moment adrenaline that I needed to buy. There's a fountain next to the supermarket that I had to pass to reach the park, it smelt like the chlorine pools I’d spend every summer in as a kid; the inside ones we were forced to visit because the heat outside was just too unforgiving. Every time I walked past it I never failed to be hit with nostalgia. So as time went on and it neared Christmas I found more peace there. The inner city offered more luxury than the outer east that I was used to, it was a place to breathe.

And so life was beginning to look up in December— the Degraves Circle was beginning its fun, I was working at a bookstore, and I had no responsibilities but to myself and my writing. I’d spill more coffee than I consumed, and always on book pages and my favourite pants, but who cared anymore?

In early December I said goodbye to everything and everyone I had known for 6 years in a flurry of drunken celebrations. And after all the excitement, I woke up the next morning at 6:54am to a feeling of thirst, and to the news I dreaded— I had done worse than I thought I did. I turned on my phone and just stared at the number, my mind was blank, save for occasional vulgarity. The ache I had lived with was becoming physical now.

In early December I thought more of living than of dreaming. Travel plans were debated, and the idea of Paris stuck to my synapses more than ever.

In early December I found myself scouring the city with a new collective of artists. While not distracted by impromptu singalongs on the library lawn, we would analyse the mundane: the advertisers, skateboarders, and street performers. We'd read our poetry out loud in the Botanical Gardens, and listen to each other's woes. Our evening escapades commenced as we ate McDonalds on the floor of Robin's studio apartment, listening to the 'get on the beers' remix and having to step over each other to reach anything.

In early December we would arrive at a pub on Collins Street where vodka lemonades became the staple and poetry was secondary. Amongst drinks, in voices louder than the other patrons of the glassy eyed man at the table next to us, and all the post work weekday celebrations, the likes of Ginsberg, Hemingway, Kerouac and Burroughs were debated and discussed. Their successes and failures, their writing and their crimes. "One day it'll be us in their place, and we’ll look back to here as where it started." In there it was warm in more ways than one; in weather, the colours of soft brown wood on the walls and tables, in the alcohol sliding down our throats, and in smiles.

In early December all the nights that began with French coffee would begin to end with French anger that seemed to have become a necessity: "putain de merde" was yelled by us all, no matter the occasion or the looks we'd get. Because now, every questionable action is defended under the guise and excuse of pure, unrelenting hedonism.

And as nights end in Hosier Lane, and on home-bound trains, in early December I found myself imbued with ineffable happiness, or something akin to content.

bottom of page