the pacific highway is constantly upgrading. the roadworks never end. the road stretches into the distance, quiet. there are no workers, but the machines still dig.
you log into facebook. people you may know has updated. a girl is friends with your cousin. your cousin is friends with your boss. your boss is friends with the girl’s brother. they all live three hours away. they all know who you are. you do not know them.
Grafton is inland, but there is nothing to the east. do not ask what is there, only pray you will never find out.
city people ask you where you’re from. you tell them the name of your town. they have never heard of it. neither have you.
the villages on the coast brag about the beach. you visit, once. the ground is covered in sand. seagulls tear hot chips from your fingers.the people are covered in sand too. none of them wear shoes. there is a vacancy in their eyes.
don’t linger too long at the Taree service center. everybody is dressed in yellow and red. the town is yellow and red. yellow and red sponsors the town. yellow and red owns the town. yellow and red is the town. Taree is McDonalds.
the islands off the coast are empty. only one has a lighthouse. we say nobody lives there. we know that it blinks at night.
choosing a university is difficult, even with your regional points. you could brave the cold winters of Armidale, or escape to the drunk paradise of the Gold Coast. quick, you only have 3 seconds to decide, or Lismore will be your only option.
Mullumbimby doesn’t exist. Iggy Azalea never grew up there. The beaches were beautiful, but it couldn’t escape the shame. Mullumbimby doesn’t exist.
the Great Dividing Range looms over you. waterfall way is the only way up to Dorrigo. your parents warn you never to go west alone.
state of origin night, and all the houses are painted blue. all the faces are painted blue. except for the children. they don maroon. they have never known victory.
your local shopping centre has no escalators, if you even have one at all. you buy your clothes from target country. unless you live in Coffs Harbour. in that case, good luck.
it’s July, and the hipsters, goths, indie girls, and tired dads swarm up the highway. they ask you for directions. splendour, they say. it’s in the grass. you only nod blankly. there is no splendour here. only mud, and rain.
there’s a roundabout in the middle of the highway. and a 40km school zone. this is the main route between Brisbane and Sydney. only the strong will survive Urunga to Nambucca.
Russell Crowe’s house in Nana Glen is empty. he only ventures home to visit his parents. there is nobody living there, but that doesn’t stop the sightings.
You visit Casino for Beef Week. You see the Beef Queen crowned. You clap, as the cows surround the regent. All hail the queen of beef.
you wait at your local bus stop, for the once-a-day service. it never comes. it was never going to.
working a shift at your local bowling club, you notice the customers ageing. they age, and you are afraid. everyone is old. they all order chicken schnitzel. you must send them to Port Macquarie. it is the only place for them.
everybody loves the big banana. you are proud of the big banana. everybody wants to visit the big banana. nobody wants to leave the big banana. nobody is allowed to leave the big banana. everybody want to stay at the big banana. everybody must stay at the big banana. it’s a whole bunch of fun.
you moved to the north coast when you were young. you know your way around. it becomes your home. soon, you forget any other places exist. you stop visiting Brisbane or Sydney. you have never been further north than byron bay, never past the nymboida, you are scared to step foot in forster-tuncurry. you were born on the north coast.