WE DIDN’T KNOW it would detonate, Yvonne and I, that day.
She was young then, longish dark brown hair parted down the centre so that it enclosed her face like a frame around a portrait. Bohemian, you could say. She was compact of build. Not tall. She was bold. She had little time for the conventional. She defied authority. She was the daring spontaneous counterpart to my more cautious think-before-acting self.
While I’m describing her at that time quite some decades ago when we were both young and yearning for a life different than convention offered, I’ll make the point that it was she who dragged me along to that old building on Glebe Point Road that a women’s group had vacated after a split and a squabble. Splitting over minor ideological detail that didn’t really matter was what small left-leaning groups did in the day.
She had in her own mysterious but quite insistent way brought me along so as to recover something the womens’ group had left behind. Someone had put her up to this though I never found out whom. Lacking a front door key we found our way into the backyard from the rear lane. I noticed there was a fire smoldering in a rusty fuel drum. The feminists had been burning papers before they left in the way fugitives destroy evidence. Without a door key we had little choice other than to pry open and enter through a rear window, as you do when you break into buildings vacated by small left-leaning feminist groups that have split over nothing very much at all.
Yvonne entered the living room, inappropriate that sounds as a description of a meeting space where serious discussions and teach-ins had been held in the small feminist group’s house. And there it was conspicuously in the middle of the floor. She looked. She circled it. She thought and assessed. She pondered whether to rip it open. She read the words scribbled on it: this is a bomb. She laughed.
She recovered the thing she had been assigned to get and on our way out she noticed again that package in the centre of the room. She read again the words written on it. She thought. She decided to disregard them. She picked it up, climbed out the living room window, remembering it was only common courtesy to close a window after breaking into the premises of a small left-leaning women’s’ group, and stopped by the smoldering drum. She threw the package in.
We stopped there for a few minutes discussing how to load the recovered thing into my little Mini. BOOM!… a gush of smoke and the smoldering drum lifted off the ground a little distance. Then she remembered the words on what had been the package. We left hurriedly.