Split lip, split up, split the difference, split it down the middle — that’s what they did.

Hugh convinced the judge to give him half the house. I was gutted.

Sat in that cold courtroom and imagined our Queenslander with a ‘For Sale’ sign, prospective buyers tramping through our living room — where Luca took his first steps, where we’d blown out candles on birthday cakes for 13 years, said hip hip hooray.

I pictured a real estate agent: dyed blond hair, too much lipstick. What happened next was worse.

It was a Tuesday morning in May; I was making porridge. Outside a crow cawed. Inside a gecko scampered cross the kitchen wall. Luca heard a truck, ran to the living room, opened the blinds.

Oh my God.

Outside a man in high-viz said: ‘Yous got two hours to empty it.’

‘What?’

‘Which half you gettin?’ High-viz held up a chainsaw.

Luca cried when he watched half our house on the back of a truck disappear down Elizabeth Street on its way to a property in Rosewood.

That night it didn’t rain — thank God — but I couldn’t sleep. The wind blew Luca’s Spanish flash cards round the room. I lay there under the imperfect for iryo iba, tú ibas. I could feel passersby staring in. Never felt so exposed. The next day neighbours came with hammers, helped board it up.

‘Now there’s like zero light,’ Luca said.

‘Least we’re not fighting.’

‘Dad says you wanted to split.’

‘The marriage, not the house!’

These days I sleep in Luca’s room. Hugh’s got the main bed, bath, and living room out in Rosewood. I have the kitchen; Hugh doesn’t cook.

There’s nowhere to sit down, no room of my own. At night I lie on the floor, listen to my son’s breaths and wonder how I could’ve done things differently with that literal man.

 

 

IMAGE CREDIT: Photo at top of story by Nikolai Chernichenko

Author

  • Sarah Klenbort

    Sarah Klenbort is a Brisbane-based writer and academic. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Best Australian Stories, Overland, Island and Eureka Street.

More from The Long Read
SHORT STORY:  Maggots

SHORT STORY: Maggots

Most school days, I’d arrive home on the hot afternoons with perspiration trickling down my legs and back. I’d run the cold tap for several seconds to drain away the hot water from the pipes and pour  a big glass of tepid, refreshing water. Whirring, banging and...

SHORT STORY: Mum and the orange juice

SHORT STORY: Mum and the orange juice

My mother was not one to suffer fools gladly. She had a caustic sense of humour and when she uttered one of her frequent sharp comments, Dad would say, ‘Ah, there she goes again with that Irish sense of humour.’ Mum was an observer of people and though she was not one...

Flying Fish Point

Flying Fish Point

My earliest memories are of deep red earth and horned black beetles with spiky feet that clung to my fingertips. In the late sixties in Far North Queensland, Christmas beetles shone like baubles and cane toads leapt up the front steps onto the verandah of the family...

They’re not stupid girls

They’re not stupid girls

 ‘Maybe if I act like that, that guy will call me back, What a paparazzi girl, I don’t wanna be a stupid girl, Baby if I act like that, flipping my blonde hair back, Push up my bra like that, I don’t wanna be a stupid girl.’ In the video clip for her song Stupid Girls...

A beautifully ordinary life

A beautifully ordinary life

Getting to know a man who fulfilled most of his dreams and died with few regrets and bathed in love made me question the value of chasing great heights in my career. All my life, I wanted to be famous. When people asked child-me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the...

To receive the latest articles from The Pineapple, please subscribe below.

To receive the latest articles from The Pineapple, please subscribe below.

error: Content is protected !!