I land in Rockhampton and find myself drawn to the shopping complexes that stain our society like liver spots on the hands of the aged. I wander their aisles aimlessly just one of the many who already litter the stores. I purchase nothing. So why do I end up here? As a child I heard all the bargains were in the smaller towns. If you couldn’t find a toy or a comic then all you would have to do is drive for a couple of hours and you’d find whatever it was you were looking for. Out in the wide world there was everything I ever wanted, hiding in the country towns where the customer was always right about the wrong things. Buy your Slim Dusty albums by the dozens; I just need one copy of Uncanny X Men issue 137 to be truly content.
A few years ago in Port Hedland I stumbled about the local K Mart with a Lego Millennium Falcon under my arm. It was $250. I could afford it and I wanted it. I didn’t need it but my body craved it. The problem was that I was 35 at the time and as we all know there is a time to put aside childish things.
The fact of the matter was that I had wanted this toy for 30 years. I remember distinctly when my friend Cain Maddern blew my mind one-day suggesting that Lego should make Star Wars toys. I could barely breathe with the idea of the possibilities. This would be the Holy Grail of toys if it only existed. Instead it lodged in my mind and became myth. Apocrypha. I would have conversations with people who swore they saw photos of such a toy. Other friends would claim with complete confidence that their older brother had made an exact replica of the Falcon out of extra bits of toys. I metaphorically foamed at the idea. It inspired me to add extra pieces to my LL 928 space ship turning it into a cross between the Falcon, Thunderbird 2 and the Phoenix from G Force. The idea inspired the creativity and fueled a thousand tales of adventure, tragedy and triumph.
Now here I was in the future with the toy that was but a dream under my arm. It was physical. It was beautiful. The idea had become reality and the best thing was I could afford it. I didn’t need to ask Mum to spend her hard earned cash. I didn’t need to save up for the prize. All I had to do was walk to the cashier and I could buy it. Own it. It could be mine.
I walked around the store for what seemed a lifetime. The after images of my history burned the pavement as time stretched backward until I was that little boy again. There I was looking up at me, pleading and begging that I just had to buy it, that it didn’t matter that I was an adult, I had to do this for him, for us.
I left the store empty handed. Some dreams are better left for the ruminations of memory. For what could have been.
I know I disappointed my younger self.
I still feel guilty for letting him down.
28th of April, 2011