mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Sport 34: Winter 2006

What I Remember About Butterfly Creek

What I Remember About Butterfly Creek

I went out to Butterfly Creek with a vanload of boys. We were anarchists.

On the way we swam at Eastbourne. The boys were playfighting in the water, like they hadn't touched another human being in years.

We ate fish 'n' chips in a park. In that park, kids always hit cricket balls into the picture windows of houses on the other side of the road.

The path over the hill was dry and covered in dust. I hung back to go for a piss. The bushes were too short to hide behind, so I went on the path. The dust rose and settled.

It was almost dark in the picnic ground. I had a headlamp but the others didn't. They collected branches by feel.

We sat around a fire. Clearly we had too much wood. I was scared that the boys would talk about politics all night. Instead they talked about girls. I felt honoured that my presence didn't hamper them. One of the Simons was in love with an American ukulele player. Unfortunately she had a boyfriend, and also, she was only eighteen. Simon said, 'I'm going to be a rich businessman and every few years I'm going to get another eighteen-year-old girlfriend.'

'That sounds like a good plan,' I said.

We heard, but didn't see, the fireworks over the city. It was Chinese New Year. We kept hearing splashing noises from the dark swimming hole. It was either ducks or eels.

Urs and the other Simon kept making jokes about back doors. Urs asked Simon, 'How many children do you have?' and Simon said, 'One, and a peanut.

Well, it's about as big as a peanut.' We slept in the open. Sandflies were biting but it was too hot to cover your face. In the morning we woke feeling nipped and swollen. Already people with dogs were passing through.

I slunk into the swimming hole slowly. The boys all bellyflopped. We page 141saw two eels further down the creek, pushing against the current.

Going back over the hill, they started talking about whether oil was going to run out or not, and what was going to happen. We kept passing families, the older kids running in front, the younger ones dragged uphill by parents.

On the roadside Jonah found a good casserole dish and a couple of tins of paint.

When I got home my flatmates thought I had had a one night stand. They kept asking me all the details. I tried to tell them what had really happened, but they refused to believe me.