Above Golden Bay

by Diana Brodie

For fourteen days, we stayed above the bay
in the holiday house at the top of the hill.
Every day we ate from cans, re-read old magazines,
occasionally spoke to one another,
but never about why
we could not leave the house.
Some questions were never asked.
Often we could hear the waves
and imagined them breaking on the golden sands.
Five of us waited for something to change.
On the last morning, rain streaked
the car windows. We sat in silence
while Dad dumped the rubbish, locked the doors
of the holiday house at the top of the hill.
Then he drove us back home, a ten hour journey
past the place where the mountains meet the sea,
across three braided rivers,
(Rangatira, Rakaia, Waimakariri),
and along one-way shingle tracks where
we grew used to Mum’s sharp intakes of breath
before each hairpin bend.
Last summer I came back to Golden Bay.
I did not look for the house on the hill,
but made my way down
from the cliff-top to the beach where
five young kayakers dragged their boats
from the turquoise waters across golden sands,
carried their picnic to the shade beneath
the scarlet-flowered pohutukawa tree.