Speaking my language

Blood will tear us apart. Again.

Featured in

  • Published 20211102
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-65-8
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

MY AUNTIE HAS stopped speaking to her siblings. Rifts like these are commonplace in my family, where people fall out with each other like dealt cards. The size of our family doesn’t help. The original eight siblings have grown into four generations and almost ninety people. This year two of my cousins had babies and another announced her pregnancy. There are now too many of us to squeeze into our suburban homes at one time. Full family parties happen only at parks and playgrounds or in the backyards of wealthy family members, which are the only backyards that can accommodate
us all. 

Some of the grievances are historic, dating back decades and finessed over time. Others are new, fresh. It’s a condition prevalent among migrant families, especially those like mine who have been tentative – because of differences in language, culture, class, education – to socialise widely in Australia. We are tethered to each other and this tether grows thin, frayed by too many gatherings filled with the same faces and the echoes of old pains. We fight often, and in this context my seventy-year-old auntie’s antagonism is understandable.

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