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I will never know what you know. Not now. Not ever.

January 18, 2011

Reality is subjective.

Anyone who lives in Queensland knows that now but I suspect that until the floods came we had forgotten.

My family were (thankfully) directly unaffected by the rising waters. Yet only five minutes drive from where I sit and write  there are people who are now without a home.

I will never know what they now know. Not now. Not ever.

What it is like to watch the waters advance on you. To watch it creep through under the fence or around the wall next to the driveway. Watch it climb up the stairs and watch it enter your home through doors and windows. Or worse, to watch it take someone. Knowing there is nothing you can do.

Not now. Not ever.

Reality is subjective. Anyone who lives should know that and it shouldn’t take flood waters to remind us.

I will never see what you see. I will never hear what you hear.

Surely we see that red sports car upended in the mud by the river bank! Not if I am colour blind.

Surely we hear the sound of the rain falling on the roof? Not if I am deaf.

If I am blind I can never see what you see – but you will never hear or smell the things that I do. The way the sound ricochets off the walls as it moves down a hallway. The way the flavour of the room changes as people come and go.

You who love the taste of smoked fish will never know how it is to a mouth who refused to let it pass as a child.

“No. I will not. Not now, not ever!”

So why do we pretend that we do know? Why do we say, “I know just how you feel. It’s terrible isn’t it …”

The only honest answer can be, “You have no idea …”

Not now. Not ever.

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