Some days I went for walks. Long aimless walks, round
the streets and perhaps into the forest beyond the suburb. I walked all over the forest ; enjoying the quiet, and the sound of birds, the feel of soft grass under my feet. Miles I walked, thinking—thinking. It is easy to think while you're walking ; mind and legs seem to work in rhythm : a perfect co-ordination of mind and body. In the evenings after these walks I often wanted to write down what I had been thinking about. Then Norah would come in.
" Well, Ducks. How'Ve you done today ? "
" Been for a walk. Haven't written much." " Show me. No, read it to me while I get supper."
I would try to read while she walked in and out of the room. She missed bits sometimes. " What was that last bit, Ducks ? —I didn't hear." Calling out—shouting from the kitchen. I hated it, couldn't go on reading. How could I—calling-- shouting ?
" That's all," I would say. " I haven't done any more."
She was kind to me but I began to hate her. Despising her coarse voice, her common way of speaking, her--Ducks. Irritation grew and grew in strength to violent hatred. I knew I couldn't stand it much longer. Hating Norah, I hated myself. Hated having to go twice a week to sign a silly book ; hating to have to go to someone else for everything. Wanting a job, wanting to write, wanting friends, not wanting friends. I knew I must go. I hated myself for it. She had been so kind but I knew I must go, had to go ; sneaking out when she was at work.
I planned to go the very next Thursday when I drew my 17s. I could have told her but she would not have under- stood ; would in fact have been bewildered and hurt.
The very next Thursday.
" Well I must be off now, Ducks."
" Cheerio," I said, sitting at the table smoking a cigarette over a third cup of breakfast tea.
At the door she turned. " Cheerio Ducks—be good." " Bye bye."
An hour later I left with my case and a brown paper parcel of books under my arm. I didn't leave a note, perhaps I should have done really but there seemed nothing I could say that would have done any good ; I just went out and closed the door.