A month of Sundays : How to go travelling without Leaving by James O'Loghlin

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I craned my neck back. Being used to parting branches for one, I had moved one just enough so that when it flicked back it had missed me comfortably but whacked Bibi a centimetre under her eye. There was a mark that she was trying to wash away by flooding it with tears, and trying to scare away with screams. In an instant my self-image deteriorated from wild bush man to that of horrible, irresponsible parent who’d almost taken his daughter’s eye out with his carelessness. We unloaded onto a seat at the top of the hill overlooking the ocean.

It was all very well to disappear into nature and become an enigma, but I should have brought a raincoat. And a good book to read. I slowed and stopped. I wasn’t really cut out to be the wild man of Manly, and I didn’t want to fall off a cliff. And if I did disappear into the 33 A Month of Sundays 25/10/04 3:44 PM Page 34 a month of sundays bush never to be seen again, one day Bibi would find out that the last time I had been seen was just after she had started crying after I caused a branch to smack her in the face.

Everyone, babies to oldies, gaped in wonder. The fish looked back, utterly indifferent, which proves that people are far more interested in tropical fish than tropical fish are in people. There were a few sharks in this giant tank, too. Cunning ones who had somehow managed to escape the shark tank and get to where the food was good? Yet they didn’t appear interested. Perhaps they had been put in there to try and correct the impression the scary music had made in the shark tank, to show that some sharks really can live with other fish in peace.

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