Walking to school, one of those crisp autumn mornings when the wind chills your skin whilst the sun warms your back. The wonder of nature’s tendency towards incongruity. Knitted hands cling to knitted hands, till spotting a pile of autumnal leaves, the connection is rejected. Parental concerns ignored as you plunge head long down the pavement.  Hitting optimum speed at the right moment. Sending shards of rust spinning into the air.


Sat on a train going nowhere, mechanical failure you find out from a passer-by. Well you think that’s what they said, but then again your mind whispers in this reality of perpetual ‘wars on terrors’ isn’t every disturbance to the routine not some harbinger of an imminent threat to come? Should one not duck and cover at every moment of uncertainty?

The reflex of the indoctrinated.

Vendors wander past the windows, pushing their wares through. Demanding, pleading that you buy. A colourful array of beads, clothing, carvings, food. Anything and everything.

You purchase something wrapped in a bright green banana leaf. All heat, aroma and mystery. Outside the window the world keeps moving as you sit still. Colour and voices, heat and dust. Feeling lost and alone. Your universe a battered back pack. Five days growth rubbing within your hand.

You unwrap the leaf and everything falls into place. Aroma, spice and colour unlocking the puzzle on the other side of the glass.

You begin to feel like this might just work out after all.


We smoked,

We slept,

We smoked again.


‘Fucking hell.’

She gave me that contradictory look of pleasurable mischief and telling me to man-up that she had perfected throughout our relationship. Applying another thick layer of hair remover to the reddened skin which earlier a large heart shaped leaf had innocently brushed against whilst we paddled in the creek. Till the leaf’s intrusion we had enjoyed the cool water playing over our feet, relieving the humidity that clung like a second skin.

I had never heard of Dendrocnide Excelsa before. A quick wiki search as skin erupted gave me the more popular name, like some nefarious super villain it had a moniker:

The Giant Stinging Tree.

The leaf was a biological weapon, its viridescent surface filled with delicate glass like needles. Needles that could only be removed by waxing the spot. So we sat within the rainforest, deforesting my leg.

Two months later and it still itches.

I reckon she missed a bit on purpose.


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