Mel Jones - A Matter of Time
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Mel Jones

“One day, she phoned me at work. One of the people at her work listened in on the conversation at the switchboard. So of course, it got around her work (not my work). And things started to go wrong. She didn’t want to be found out. So if a guy asked her out, she’d go. But she always came home to me. He’d drop her off. There was always that terrible wait for her to come in the front door.

There was one incident in Cairns. A guy from my work and a guy from my girlfriend’s work came out to the house late one night. We’d just got home from the drive-in. It would have been about 10.30 at night and we were preparing to go to bed. First of all there were headlights glaring on the curtains and filling the lounge room full of light. Then there was a loud banging on the door. I opened the door to see what was going on. There they were, drunk. They came into the lounge room and one started manhandling my friend. The other pushed me, then opened up the fridge and abused me for not having enough beer. By this stage I was absolutely furious. To see someone put a hand on my friend… I picked up a kitchen knife and I started to lose my temper. I really lost it, and they were somewhat taken aback. Fortunately, they took off, and we could breathe out.

So we decided, enough was enough. That was the night we talked and decided we’d leave. We ended up in a place in the Gulf of Carpentaria, called Karumba. We’d heard that you could make good money there. If this was going to go on in Cairns then it’s just not worth it. So that’s what we did, and it was good up there. That was rather incongruous, wasn’t it? Going into isolation.”


To purchase the book North of the Border: Stories from the A Matter of Time Project, click here.