The boy in a blue raincoat, the father in a red. Both take a piss in the bushes side by side. A kookaburra is nearby. The boy skips every few steps as they walk , his joy irrepressible at being outside the car. They are walking to the water fall through the rain-forest.
Before this the parents have yelled, the both of them, at various times at the eight year old. They suggested he sit in the middle of the back seat to get a view out through the front windscreen. But would he listen? No. Stubborn to the point of car sickness again.
Then he started groaning, moaning, driving them nuts.
The boy doesn’t get what excites his parents about driving through the country side. The miles of small roads they choose to Ooh and Ahh at. Every for sale sign gets a new intake of breath and a scribbling of estate agent names and numbers.
But where are the shops? asks the boy. No shops.
Just wet roads, damp boggy earth. Tree canopies that meet over roads, like fingers interlocking, making a tunnel of leaves. Wet. Ferns. No doubt full of leeches. Primitive plants. Everything here is dripping. The ground squelches, so water logged it oozes. It is like walking on foam. There is moss. Imagine that. Moss. She hasn’t seen moss for the longest time.
Because they live in Fremantle. Land void of moss. Flat, dry and hot. Hot and windy. Windy and hot. Water is scarce. The Water Board recommends three minute showers. People have fake grass. Roads don’t wind. They are straight and hot and baking. People’s suburban gardens have palms, yellow and crisp. Like they dream of an oasis. Grass turns yellow and then brown. Water sacrificed to sand slips off, repelled, afraid.
The parents long for rain, for moisture. They watch the falls, the way the water, in endless buckets, spill over the rocks. Mesmerised by gallons of the stuff. The spray comes off it and turns to mist and all the air about is liquid and cool.