Naarm Melbourne / Writer, Performer & Creative Producer

Working from home

Zadie Mccracken is a Melbourne-based writer, performer and creative producer who likes painting, making to-do lists, wearing glitter and watching TV.


I am walking towards my old house in North Fitzroy, where the balconies creak with the wind. It is a winter day and the sky is grey. I am with my brother. We encounter a neighbour who is being fitted for new legs in the back of a van, and asks us to please be quiet while this is happening. I communicate with her through sign language, although I do not know how to sign very well. I sign 'thank you' over and over. My brother and I step through the gate, in our garden, which is wet and green. There is a wooden staircase leading up to our glass front door. Through the door, I can see my cousin, who lives in England and who I haven't seen in a long time. I smile widely; I have missed her so much. She runs through the door and into me, but I fail to catch her. She falls through the slats between the steps of the staircase and her body is cut cleanly in half by the concrete. She doesn't bleed. I turn to my brother, expectionally calm, and tell him everything is going to alright. I crouch by my cousin's body, dialling the number for an ambulance. Panic is a slow, dull thing inside me.


I am sitting at the kitchen table drinking lemon & ginger tea. A bee flies onto the rim of my mug and I am so frightened, I slam the mug down on to the table. My cousins look at me strangely. They say, ‘What happened?’ The bee is gone. ‘I don't know,’ I say, ‘Sorry’. 


I am in Carlton and the wind is blowing harshly. The street is busy, there are plenty of people out because it is a warm day. I am younger, fourteen perhaps, and I speak to an old friend of mine, who I haven't seen in months. She is happy, but distant. I get the distinct feeling she has not missed me. Then I see the boys up ahead. I have known them for years, and it is lovely to see them randomly, by chance. They have new, goth girlfriends who are holding their hands and looking shyly up at me from behind long, fake lashes. I hug the boys and they smile so widely, it almost makes me cry. We talk for a while but they have to make their way to the cinema. I walk through my city and it feels like home. Finally, I meet my grandfather on a street corner. He says he has been waiting a long time. Me too, I say.


I am in a castle, which is old and crumbling. I try to check my phone, I want to know what time it is, but I cannot. This is a big party and I am drinking champagne. No one I know is here. Then, my favourite teacher from high school comes towards me, smiling hugely. She has gained weight and is therefore softer than when I knew her. She hugs me and kisses my cheek, whispering that everything will be okay and that she has missed me. I know, somehow, and lucidly, that she is not a real person — she is a dream within a dream. I try to check my phone again. I feel warm, there is sunshine pouring in through a window. My teacher asks me how I've been. She is blonde and wearing a suit jacket and blue jeans and cowboy boots. She touches my shoulder, softly.

© Neptune and Manisha Anjali

© Neptune and Manisha Anjali