Platypus Rock is a place where nothing happens.
I’ve been back a few times since we scattered Libby’s ashes. I’ve walked down for a look and I’ve ridden down, too. When I ride, I park at the top of the big hill and take the trail, it’s a fast descent, slippery in places because of the rain. I don’t ride with headphones anymore, I have my phone in my back pocket playing like a radio. I hear my tires on the trail, leaves swishing, traffic, my hard breathing and Madonna. For Libby, and me, and Erin, I play Madonna.
The river is high, six inches higher than it was last Monday, and the river is running fast, brown and swirling. The rock we stood on is still above water but its edges are obscured. You can see bits of Libby submerged, tiny particles of white against stone, a little like teeth, a little like gravel. She’s there allright. One day there will be no Libby left. I don’t think I’ll be alive then, I reckon it will take longer than I’ve got, but it’s okay to know that she is gradually going back to the ground. Everything does. It’s meant.
Today I took Daren back to Platypus Rock. He doesn’t drive so I picked him up for his first visit since we scattered her ashes. When I asked if he’d like to go, he said, ‘Yeah! Everyday!” He sounded like a kid at Christmas.
It’s winter, it’s rained, the mornings have been cold, the cold that makes your ears hurt and your nose run, ice on the grass, smooth white fog that like a rainbow, you can never quite get to. But the sun. It’s been so high and bright. We ditched our coats, sat on our rock and watched the river go by. No platypus today, no ducks, but finches, flying low; one dipped a wing into the water. Brrr.
While we were there Erin rang, I told her where we were and put her on speaker so she could say hi to Libby. I held my phone up like the Olympic torch, but better, and heard Erin’s, ‘Hello Libby,’ then, ‘I can’t shout, I’m at work.’ Not long ago I would have thought that was the daggiest thing. Now, I embrace dagginess. We’re doing it our way.
So we spoke to Libby, I was self-conscious at first because I’m not used to an audience. But Darren’s not just anyone, he loves Libby the most, and he was so in the moment it broke down my embarrassment. Darren talked to Libby. I talked to Libby. We talked to each other, we talked about missing and anger and love, he told me a little more about the night she died. How he thought she was sleeping, how the ambulance took only four minutes, how when he asked he if he could come to the hospital the paramedic said, ‘She’s not going to the hospital, mate.’ I told him again he’d done everything he could. I squeezed his hand. I told Darren of the comfort I took in knowing how loved she was by he and his family. It helps. And then we didn’t talk. We sat warm on our rock. And in the silence I found nothing.
The good nothing.
The brain empty of worry and sadness kind of nothing. The being there type. The nothing where if there was anything at all in my head, it was the river and the sun, the idea that we are here for one another, and possibility. But mostly nothing. I felt free.
Darren saying hi to Libby, ‘Hello, Sweet Pea’