by Alan Johnston, Pottsville, Australia
Scene 1: – Trees all around and the sweet sense of dusk settling in.
Men are talking with each other in an open-hearted, honest way. Sharing the kinds of unbearable rejection they have all felt and the ferocity of the life-responses that followed. The respect and caring is palpable. There is no blame to speak of – although it may be mentioned in passing. I, for one, am deeply grateful. The healing grows week to week. And as a man who has had minimal male friends in half a century, I begin to love these men and comprehend what brotherhood feels like…
Scene 2: – The front bar of a Northern Rivers hotel. Some kind of contact sport is on a flat screen high in a corner.
Men are slur-talking with each other through the thick lens on the bottom of a schooner. This distortion flows through the room. Blame and complaint are commonplace. The wife/partner/missus/little woman – well, they’d had a gutful. ‘Others’ by the very word are distanced, resented, even reviled. The laughter is often at their expense. The ferocity of this life-response oozes deep hurt. Unbearable.