Maddie, Paddington 1981, the Buddhists

Maddie, Paddington 1981, the Buddhists

The Buddhists, notable for the fact that they are a religion whose followers don’t come knocking at my door, offer a whole different way of seeing, and one I don’t much like, frankly. You go to the university and study comparative religion to learn about Buddhism. It is anti-attachment, which to me is entirely counter-existential. Isn’t attachment the whole mechanism with which we are anchored to life? Isn’t it the same as gravity? I have been unattached for most of my life and, believe me, if it weren’t for Ed, I might actually prefer death by now. Why else would I entertain religious nuts?

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Maddie, Sydney Central Station 1920, the journalists

Maddie, Sydney Central Station 1920, the journalists

There were policemen everywhere around the station, more of them even than newspapermen with their big cyclops cameras, their wide-brimmed hats behind. I had watched those newspapermen enviously for some moments when I’d first arrived, daring to long to be among them, to take up my own notebook and pencil and write what I was seeing. At that moment, they had nothing to do but fiddle with their equipment and bother up the constabulary, but soon they would have a prince to write about, a bona fide prince to share with the world. Imagine that!

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Maddie, Paddington 1981, the young doctor

Maddie, Paddington 1981, the young doctor

The leg itself has healed entirely, the doctor told me when he sawed the cast off, stressing that word entirely, but perhaps next time I might ask the gardener to clear the leaves from the gutters rather than getting up on the roof myself. He was one of those doctors who’d have been pointing a finger at me if all his fingers hadn’t been on duty for the sawing. As it was, he was shaking his head, a smug smile stuck to his face like it was a regular visitor. He can’t be older than fifty, and he’s not my usual doctor, Dr McKellar, who would never be so condescending and would likely encourage me to get up on the roof if that’s what I felt like doing, which I did, obviously, or you wouldn’t have found me up there and I wouldn’t have fallen off. Not only that, the assumption I have a gardener is offensive to me.

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