The naturopath came highly recommended. As she pointed her long black lens at my eyes I gripped the bottom of my chair, like I used to do on roller coasters and boat rides. I hoped she might heal me, find the root cause. The doctors were no help. The essential oil burner bubbled and wafted sweet lavender through the clinic as she studied my results and bloods. Eventually, she cleared her throat.
‘Your results are quite unusual, Lucy,’ she said and reached out to pat my hand.
Sydney Harbour had whipped itself into a froth by the time I reached Cremorne Point. The wind made floss of my hair and iced my cheeks. So much for the relaxing walk. I called mum and explained I wasn’t feeling well (‘completely exhausted’), that I took the afternoon off (‘fuck work anyway’) and that I saw a naturopath (‘turns out I have adrenal fatigue’).
‘What’s adrenal fatigue?’ Mum asked.
‘It’s when your body’s over-stressed and in flight mode all the time. You’re burnt out from constant adrenalin, rushing around–so your adrenals give up.’
Ferries criss-crossed the choppy water as I walked. Couples hoping for sunset picnics packed up their baskets and frowned at the darkening clouds. I sat by the rocks at the harbour’s edge.
‘Then she did this iridology thing, analysing my eyes. It was strange. She said, you only see eyes like this in prisoners of war, refugees, torture victims, people who’ve been through serious trauma. Then she asked me, has something happened to you, Lucy? I’m guessing she’s just picking up on work stress, my bully-rich corporate environment.’
I could hear mum breathing heavily, and what sounded like a wet, muffled cough.
‘Mum, what’s wrong?’
‘Oh honey.’ She was crying. ‘There’s something I have to tell you.’
The harbour lashed waves against the rocks, frenzied and rough. Sea spray fell near my feet. There was no one else at the point now.
‘Your grandfather… I found out at the funeral, from your aunts… I didn’t know.’
‘Didn’t know what?’
‘I’m so sorry.’
‘What are you talking about?!’
‘He sexually assaulted your aunts. Joanne and Faye told me themselves. They’ve known for years what a grub he was. But you and your sister, all that time you spent with him when you were little. The school holidays, the trips to Wonderland… God, I’m furious! I could kill them for not warning me. And I’d definitely kill him if he wasn’t already dead.’ Mum let out a breath and sniffed. ‘I have to ask, did he touch you?’
‘You think that’s the trauma the naturopath saw?’
‘Yes.’ I looked up. The foreshore was a blur, my jacket and pants soaked through. I couldn’t see the ferries anymore. I could barely see anything.
‘I’ll have to call you back mum, it’s raining.’