Woolloomooloo is a dichotomy of too much and not enough.
The little enclave suburb is framed by the opulent Blue Hotel on the water, has the poorest inner city dwellers and is bounded by street workers on William St.
The violent smash of glass splintered into my dream, waking me up. It was 3am. The shrill screaming and verbal abuse were terrifying and aggressive. Quiet returned and I went back to sleep.
It’s not uncommon to have these eruptions in the back streets of Wooly bay, which my apartment overlooks.
In the two years I’ve lived here, I’ve come to learn about this little family in the street below. There are three kids, none of whom regularly goes to sleep before 11pm, it seems. I always worry why they are up so late.
The other morning it seems it all became too much for the father of this family. I’m now assuming he doesn’t live with them and he had decided to pick his kids up at 3am.
The estranged father came back at 5.30am and this is when things got messy. The police ended up on the scene. I watched the last part of the altercation, holding my breath that he would just leave. I thought about the kids inside hearing their mother and grandmother yelling at him with police and neighbours looking on. There was no dirge that escaped my mouth, instead a tear of sadness for those perhaps frightened and sad children.
Someone recently talked about children being metaphorically like glass. Parents can, intentionally or not, smear it, crack it or shatter it. Later that day I looked out of my window and noticed how brilliant the sky was, clear and crisp. My thoughts returned to the kids in the street and how they were feeling. I don’t think the light would have felt warm on them, but coldly lighting up their world, showing the fissures and cracks in their surroundings.
Since becoming a parent, I am so much more aware of other people’s children and how they are being treated. They are going to be, after all, my mini men’s peers one day.
If the glass indeed shattered that day for those kids, I hope one day someone takes them and at least makes the sun in their day warm again.