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You wanted to know why I didn't call

by Jacopo Mulini 11 months ago in humanity · updated 11 months ago
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Letter from an introverts paradise

My childhood home.

The sun breaks through the wild apple tree and she’s kneeling, glowing in the dappled green light with her basket and gloves ready. She smiles that smile only a mother’s love for a still innocent boy can give – though she still smiles at me like that, unconditionally. And she beckons me. I move over to her, and she hands me a trowel to help her dig over the garden. This is one of my earliest memories. She showed me many gentle things.


You said that you needed me around more.


I remember eating sour-sobs that were above my knees in the bike shed with my sisters. And the three of us sleeping on a foam mattress in the tray of the old Suzuki Sierra while dad was spotlighting for rabbits. It was well past bedtime, but we always wanted to go.

My dad worked hard, five-‘til-five. There’s always something to be done when you’re living on the land and some jobs don’t even make the ‘jobs list’. But at the end of the day he’d come and play cricket with me. He’d bowl generously and I’d slog them all over the paddock, and he’d chase them while I ran between the wickets. And when it was time for dinner, he’d spear in a fast one and knock my wickets over, every time. That beautiful man that couldn’t seem to stop was always asleep by eight.


You said that you were feeling insecure.


We didn’t grow up with any of the modern conveniences, except for an old TV with two channels and a VCR that mum could never figure out. Every night we cooked our food and heated our water with the wood-stove and spent our winter nights around the fire. On the hot summer days, we’d sit in the cool concrete passageway and play cards to take mercy from the heat, or swim in the dam and squish the clay mud between our toes. We were so alive, and I always felt like we had the riches. Like I was loved.

But we were just a family of five, growing wool far from anywhere, somewhat isolated by an expanse of 170-odd square kilometres of the hot, dry Australian ‘outback’. There was a lot of time spent alone, and time in a dusty place like that drips dreamy and slow, like molasses.

Poco played soccer with me and I’d share my sandwiches with her. When we were both really young, we’d gnaw on each other’s legs and roll around on the red earth. There isn’t a care in those memories. She was a brown kelpie, a working sheep dog. And when she worked or slept, I often played alone. I spent a lot of time alone. Hours and hours a day, for days or weeks on end. Not neglected, but somewhat predisposed to it while in an environment that demanded it. I would wonder out into neverland after breakfast, looking for skeletons and old bottles so I could sit and ponder their stories; I’d be back just in time for dinner with a collection of snails and dead scorpions filling my pockets. I was growing up introverted in an introverts paradise. I was alone, not lonely.


You wanted to know why I didn’t call.


Poco was my best friend for those early years. Years that instilled in me a deep solace in solitude. I befriended the wide-open spaces between myself and spoken words. Solitude is perhaps my deepest of needs. I’m easily saturated by the people and their busyness in this city. After a decade it still feels new.

I grew up needing lonely spaces to restore my soul, just as you need to feel the energy of others for yours. But amongst the city-life, I’ve been shown that there’s so much more to love, it’s just hard for me to get what I need there, and I withdraw when I don’t. So now I’m caught between two worlds. One where freedom-of-soul is just a memory, and one where the idea of loving you is just a dream.


I loved you. I loved the adventure. Learning, playing, arguing, and laughing. Breaking bread and enjoying beers on a sunny roof somewhere. I’m sorry that it turned out this way, that we were so different. But I hope that now, for what it’s worth, you can understand. That when I’m out on the land, I’m with the land, my first and most magnetic love, getting exactly what I need.

That’s why I didn’t call.


About the author

Jacopo Mulini

Sometimes fictional, sometimes philosophical, sometimes biographical, but mostly as a blend. These stories are my journeys through my loves and my shames, my ego and my empathy, and my detached wormhole thoughts.


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