Friday 27 January, 2012:

Teacher only days; the usual drivel. But my canvases are on the wall – Barry the caretaker puts them up. He and I are talking again (ever since I politely asked him to retrieve my boards from storage). I think he even quite likes the canvases; I didn’t dare tell him one was Tau’s.

Karys has agreed to leave them there now. It’s more of a concession than I expected (at this early stage – and after the buffed walls and removed boards). I sought, and received the aid of Chloe in this matter, and received the following forwarded email in response:

Dear Chloe

As requested, I have considered the artwork on display in room T11.

There will be no further problems, as you have clearly assured me that:

  • It had been hung properly
  • It looked like art
  • You were happy with it
  • You were able to read it
  • It used school terminology; and that
  • No more was going to be added to it


Karys Kirk

Principal, Municipal College


Saturday 28 January:

I go see the wall today. And yup, Rob has has a big old shed, out in the country. It needs water blasting, but apart from that it’s ready to paint – doesn’t require buffing or anything. I take some photos and a little video to show the boys and post them from out there. I get replies within minutes: ‘hahah cool cant wait’ (Tau); ‘solid asz datsus’ (Kost). And even Alexander – through a bit of synchronicity with recent timing – messages me straight away to see if he can come.

Rob and I have a beer outside in the light rain, sitting under a little overhang. He seems quite laid back about the idea of a carload of painters descending on his place for the weekend. He shows me round the shed (where the boys can sleep) and its environs – there are undreamed of comforts such as a fridge, barbecue area, and toilets.

He also offers money for the paint – I mean, it is his shed – but all the same, Hallelujah!

So now I have to: arrange the date (and rain date), get the paint, coordinate the personnel, work out additional expenses (for gas and food) – and confirm everything with Rob


Wednesday 1 February:

Kepaoa has an appointment at Work and Income this afternoon, and I go pick him up. He’s applying for a training benefit – though just being at Winz shoots him straight into ‘agitation’ mode. The second we walk through the door, he snorts through his nostrils, perusing the room with flushed cheeks and rapidly twitching lashes.


“Kepaoa?” We’re on our own for a moment – the case manager has gone to get some paperwork. She’s actually being relatively helpful.

But Kepaoa mutters at her retreating figure, “Fuck, she’s a bitch, see how she’s speaking to me, and the way she looks at me, like this – see? -” and he demonstrates. “Like she’s not even listening to what I’m saying.”

“Nah, she’s ok Kepaoa – just calm down.”

“Miss, I hate it here – my mum comes here all the time, and she always tells me to come in with her and translate. I never wanna do it, and she always makes me do it. I hate it here. And fuck this bitch too, fuck…” he adds, again.

“I know, I know,” I murmur, sympathetically. “But she’s actually alright – just stay calm, and it’ll be ok, everything’ll get sorted.”

He nods. “I’ll try, Miss. I just get angry easily.”

“Yeah, I know you do,” I say without undue emphasis, and he laughs, despite himself. He remains proud and tense through the interview, but accepts the paperwork and a further appointment.


All afternoon and long into the evening, we continue a text conversation that goes back and forth; on and off; for hours and hours. Everything from Winz, to Cluzo, to tagging, to movies, to what did we have for dinner: kno ne good dserts? he writes. dserts are th shit

And then, in the middle of the night: got ua bk anydng I mean it miss.

I fall asleep without replying; woke up at 5:30 and cry, patiently, for a few minutes; then fall asleep again.


Friday 4 February:

Kepaoa texts me and I go round there; we ring Studylink (this takes ten minutes) then sit in the car for an hour, just talking.

I feel consoled, because Kepaoa expects me to be the way I am – he doesn’t expect a different person. And so I feel free. I can talk without paying attention to the world; I don’t have to play the game for a little while. And I take this consolation and go back to the game.

I think I’ll probably lose though, one way or another. Maybe – if I’m not lucky or smart. Cos I’m in up to my neck, with what’s going on all around me and what I see, and know about, and accept, and understand. And, what’s more – I have to write about it.

Oh, to think that back in 2009, I thought trust was a risky business then. I didn’t know the half of it. Guess I sensed it, all the same. What consequences there might be, just from taking that one, small, step. Which I took without the slightest regret; then or ever.

And yet I feel so vulnerable; and everything could be some… shit hitting the fan. But if it does, then I’m squared up with God. I know I couldn’t ignore the suffering of others. And that’s my atonement, I guess.


I can’t put it in words, quite. This afternoon Tau takes a shower, and a little bit later I go into the bathroom to get something and the room’s still full of steam, and Tau’s scent is still in the steam, and I think: I love him like I raised him. And I don’t know what’s gonna happen next, but you know; I still wanna find out. I do.

Everything’s moving right now, and it doesn’t slow up. And I remember, suddenly, about the ‘aimers’ – living signs for the navigators. Turtles swimming in circles to the right. Birds with particular marks. A pair of porpoises playing; flying fish which leap near the entrance to Tarawa lagoon.

I have to get strong: fast. I’ve gotta read the signs, the existing, shifting, living and breathing signs all around me.

This is not just someone else’s story – this is my story too, now. And I think: I’m not brave. Then: Am I brave? I don’t know. But let’s find out.



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