Trigger warning: violence

It was my 21st hour off for the year.

I was walking around a lake crying to a song I hadn't heard before.

The moisturiser started to sting my eyes and I found a public toilet near the bush to find some paper.

A small sized indigenous woman walks in and noticed I was wiping my eyes.

“I come here to cry often, alone”.

She had some items in her hands.

No shoes and clothes in plastic bags.

“I like having a shower when I do”.

ME: “Me too!”

I have no filter. “Are you homeless?”

“Yes, I am”.

ME: “Do you have children?

“I have eight. I lost a child”.

She starts crying.

“It’s my fault.

My parent was violent.

I was trying to protect two other small children from them, and they turned on me and kicked me hard.

In the stomach.

I tried to tell the doctors that my baby was dead, but they didn’t believe me.

They made me keep my dead baby in my belly for two weeks.

Two weeks!”

ME: “It’s not your fault”.

“Yes, it is. It’s my fault. It’s my fault. It’s my fault!”

Holding her hands up to the sky.

“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry”.

She sobbed.

My heart broke with hers as she cried out to her unborn child, who passed away decades ago, sitting on the cold dirty concrete floor.

ME: “Your parent was a very unwell human.

You didn’t create their anger.

You couldn’t control their anger or make it go away.

It’s not your fault.”

Her hands still up to the sky.

“If I had known they would’ve killed my child, I would not have protected the other children”.

ME: “You are a courageous, compassionate and a brave woman.

You could not have known what was going to happen.

No-one would have”.

She looks at me.

“No one has heard me tell them my story.

When I’ve told them what happened, they are cold.

They say nothing”.

ME: “I hear you.

I SEE you.

I acknowledge your story today.

You are an incredible woman.

Brilliant beyond measure”.

She held her hands up to the sky again.

"I’m sorry I will do better.

I don’t know how but I will.

I will get a home.

I will do better.

I’m so sorry.

I’ve been crying for days.

I’ve been crying a lot lately.

I miss my beloved.

My mother.

They would rub my face and hug me in the night."

Her words reminded me of the song I cried to on my walk:

ARE YOU ALRIGHT by Lucinda Williams.

I played the song.

We cried together.

As her beloved sang to her.