Coral Atkinson authors novels, short stories and non-fiction; she anthologises, and teaches writing and publishing. She comes through earthquakes, and in her slightly peculiar story writes poignantly of love's sorrow. Here she shares an article that was published in The Press a week ago.
There are many Christchurch houses like it, faded, two-storied Victorian gentlemen's residences quietly subsiding into neglected gardens. The multiple letter boxes and cars parked in the front tell of division into flats. You have probably passed it often, or one like it, and not given a second glance. Yet when I went by recently and saw the house and grounds ominously surrounded by cyclone netting, and red-stickered, I felt a huge welling of grief.
Loss has been a leitmotif of Christchurch's post-earthquake experience; the loss of loved ones, homes, employment, buildings, and the list goes on. I thought I understood and had come to terms with this, but, on examining my sadness over the probable demise of this house in Cashel Street, I realised I mourned more than its potential destruction. What I grieved over was its significance in my youth, and the anchorage it provided for my memories.
As Katherine Mansfield said, ‘you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on fences – like rags and shreds of your very life.’ read more . . .