Whistle of a kettle

The intense aroma drifts through the air and gently caresses my soul. I was in love.

As I finish the last page of the Book Thief, my all-time favourite book, I curl up tighter on the couch while clutching a hot cup of tea in both hands. The rain is drumming harder now on the neighbour's tin roof. It echoes through my reading room and is music to my ears. This is my happy place.


I take a sip and close my eyes. I fall freely into the rabbit hole until I land on my Aunty Polly's kitchen. It's dimly lit by the soft light of the lounge room. I can hear my dad in deep conversation. His sudden laughter warms the chilly night and my heart. Both my cousins had turned in and had been asleep for hours. I am standing on a step-stool next to my mum. My baby brother is nestled neatly in our mum's womb, bracing himself for the world. I am making my first cup of tea. My heart skips a beat when I hear the steaming whistle of the kettle. I carefully pour the boiling water over the rich local black tea leaves. The intense aroma drifts through the air and gently caresses my soul. I was in love.

I take another sip and tunnel deeper into my thoughts. I look up to my mum with the biggest smile. She smiles back and hands me a traditional Toast Biscuit to dunk.

As I dunked my biscuit, I thought to myself what a magical day today turned out to be. Mum had woken me from a deep sleep earlier that afternoon. She said gleaming with joy, "Shial mamar bae hocce" – The foxes are getting married. She insisted on celebrating. So there we were running full-bore to the front yard. Hand in hand, fully clothed, laughing and dancing in the cold rain as the sun shone brightly. Now, I know it sounds like my mum was on crack, but let me assure you that she wasn't. It was an old folktale that foxes get married during a sun shower.

Dad interrupts my sweet memory as he calls out for his tea. As we enter the lounge room, I listen to the last bit of his story. It was about an encounter he had with a ghost up in a tree on his midnight walk in his village. He's a fantastic storyteller; he would have non-believers (me!) believing. The drama captivates you. I definitely get my love of stories and books from him. Even now, he is always telling me stories. Anything from his childhood memories to the many conspiracy theories he is adamant is right. As a kid, I heard a lot of tales about the gods and kings around the world. Sometimes he still brings them up, and although I know how they'll end, I sit back and enjoy the excitement in his voice.

As I think about the different characters in the stories, I feel a gentle tug on my sleeve. My eyes fling open. Standing there with a big grin on her face is my beautiful baby girl. A Toast Biscuit in her hand, ready to dunk in my cup of tea.