Christmas Eve Oamaru

On Christmas Eve my seaside village awakens from its slumber. Tourists are penguin spotting and locals are present wrapping.

Former Oamaruvians return from far flung corners of the globe. The sea dusts off its special turquoise sparkly number, the seagulls are preening and the boats in the harbour dip and nod like spectators to a royal parade. 

Locals don their best Christmas regalia and the farmers in flannelette shirts come into town for the annual haircut and ham purchasing. 

A girl recently returned from Brunei shivers, pulls her sweater close and smiles as her mother manoeuvres her trolley quickly through tricky supermarket spaces, like the triangle formed by a lost two year old, a stand of eggs and a mobility scooter.

The woman with the green earrings has far-away eyes. Lost in thought, she’s holding up the queue. She’s fitting together pieces of the year. Mexico, Australia, Sri Lanka, Home. Home. As the sediment settles and her father’s home-made champagne clears, home as the seagull swoops, drops the mussel and pecks out its innards, home as all the talk, all the faces, all the love and all “those moments” parade by and if this is life she thinks, smiling, then truly I am blessed to be alive. 


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About duendest (Tina Cartwright)

Tina Cartwright grew up on the East Coast in the South of New Zealand. She lives and works in Melbourne. Her children’s picture book, Kiwi and Scorpion, was published with Penguin NZ in 2008. She edited and translated Taking Latin America Home – a self-published anthology influenced by Latin America which raised funds for the Sweet Water Fund in Nicaragua.

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