27 - Sunflowers, skate parks and sex.

27 6 5


In the car Madden asked some more questions about our family and about Bree. He wanted to know who she was and I needed to be honest with him about her. If he was old enough to ask the questions then I needed to trust he was old enough to hear the truth.

We had been driving and talking for so long, it felt strange when we finally stopped at my next destination and got out of the car. It had been a long time since I had been here last, but it still felt exactly the same. Granted, there were a few extra layers of graffiti and some new wear and tear, but for the most part it was exactly the same. I expected to feel anxious being back considering the last time I was here; but I wasn't, and I felt uncomfortable by how comfortable I actually was.

"Sadie, I'm confused. Why are we at a skate park?" said Madden, breaking me out of the trance I was stuck in staring down at the coloured concrete and shining rails. I could understand why he was confused. We'd never been to a skate park before together. Not for a long, long time at least.

"Well, Madden, it might surprise you to learn that I spent a lot of my late teenage years right here in this skate park," I said. His mouth fell open wide enough to host an entire plague of mozzies which thankfully hadn't yet emerged for the day.

"You so did not!" he said with such conviction in his disbelief.

I opened the boot of my car and pulled out my own beaten skateboard, which I hadn't set a foot on since the last day I was here at this very park. I'd spent so many hours here with Camden, Landon and the others, just rolling around late into the cold nights, sometimes long after the lights even went out.

I started out on Camden's skateboard before I bought my own. He would grow frustrated with how uncoordinated and unbalanced I was in the beginning when he was trying to teach me. He just wanted to be rolling around doing his own thing, which, when I did manage to achieve some form of minor success — and by 'success' I mean 'was able to roll around without falling on my ass every time I set my foot on the board' — I understood entirely. It was so exhilarating, gliding around on the smooth surfaces of the concrete park, progressing and hitting new tricks. It didn't bother me that Camden wanted to do his own thing and always took his board back because Landon was happy to take over, and he was a much more patient and instructive teacher.

In the end I bought myself my own deck to stop feeling bad for always asking to borrow theirs, and when I did Camden grew a lot more patient with me. He was also more helpful and encouraging, and it was fun being able to do something we both loved, independently, but together.

I hated stowing away my deck when we broke up. I felt like I was giving up a very big part of myself, just like when I stopped going to the footy club or creating art. It was almost like losing a limb. I never realised just how much I enjoyed being out there rolling around until I had beads of sweat dripping from my forehead onto the griptape. And I've missed it every single fucking day since.

"Oh, I did. Many, many days and nights here. Sometimes you would hang out here with me, too, when you were just a baby," I said. Madden was about six months old when I started dating Camden. I was never comfortable leaving him home when my stepfather was there, so he would come with me most places when I could make it work. The skate park was one of those places for a while.

Camden actually made an effort with Madden and my siblings in the beginning. He knew what it was like to live in a house where rage and violence was an almost daily occurrence, so he understood why I wanted them with me. But after a few months, his desires and needs of me superseded that understanding, and he just wanted me all to himself. He was never one to like sharing, and he usually got what he wanted, one way or another. Eventually it became easier to just trust my depressed mother with Madden than keep arguing the point with Camden, and I started spending more time away from him. It sucked, but I didn't see myself having any other choice at the time.

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