THERE was another foster home about a kilometre up the road. It had everything my home didn’t have. A swimming pool, a sandpit, a nuclear family with two parents not much older than 40, a relaxed presence, kids my own age and an awesome long drop with words scribbled on the walls.
The lounge was also where I discovered Austin Powers, and for this I am eternally grateful.
Sometimes I wished I could have swapped homes, but I never told anybody. I knew my foster mother Hazel would take great offence.
Shari and her little foster brothers and sister were great. The youngest two were little more than toddlers, but Dom was about four years younger than me. He was the type of rough and ready blond haired kid always getting bitten by bull ants at school because he was shoving sticks in the hills, or running with a pack of girls shrieking and chasing him.
And it was assumed when I visited that I was Dom’s friend, even though Shari and I were closer ages.
“Why don’t we ever go to your place?” Dom complained once. “We always do stuff at my house, and I’m sick of it.”
Stuff included swimming and lying on the tyres in the swimming pool.
Or playing with army men in the sandpit. Or having tea parties with the little foster sister at the cubby house. Or sliding down wet plastic tarp in summer.