Dear Eurydice

I have an hour and a half after a busy day. Turned out to be not such a great one for my wife, she shared with me after work, but she’s always positive. An Ok one for me. A busy one for Jack who is still transitioning at his new school.  And now I have just dropped Sasha, our eldest boy, off at Darebin State Soccer centre. I have an hour and a half. I promised myself today that I would aim to go to a special place tonight not that far away, in Carlton North. It’s a biting cold Melbourne winter night. This great city folds into nighttime, and all that it brings.

 

On the way there I turn off sports radio and have some time to myself as I absorb all around me. Down Separation Street I see a female jogger pounding the footpath. That’s the way, I think to myself, you go girl.

 

Past the Northcote Library I see another woman on a phone, out in the open. That’s the way it should be, I think to myself. Past High street I see another woman along coming out of a Chemist Warehouse shop. She’s singing with her headphones on. You sing proud sister. I pass by an all-night fitness centre and I see two women going in for their workouts. Maybe they will dance whilst they work out tonight, I think to myself as they exercise their night away.

 

I turn into Sydney Road and the cafes are abuzz. There are people out and about enjoying the vibrancy of what this city offers. I get closer to Princess Park and aim to find a park, and my heart switches. As I walk out onto the plateau of the evening Melbourne shines in the nighttime. It beckons me, to walk, to think and to wander. It is clear, clean and I see the great buildings in the background. The nights distance has reflections of blue lights, purple and white. It is a beautiful scene. I then I walk onto the grounds of the massive park.  It’s a little past 8pm now and I have seen many people leaving, but many remain.

 

I see women walking hand in hand, families, men and women. They are silent.  I hear the echoes of sports teams in the distance, playing on a nearby oval. As I get towards the heartbeat of the vigil I am wondering what it was like for this lovely young woman as she walked home from her comedy gig? I am wondering how and why she was attacked. When did fear engulf her spirit? Why did it collapse her being? How imaginable was her horror, and why it is now ours?

 

I stop and various times to ask myself about dear Eurydice but I am lost for thoughts and words. I am myself in a state of numbness, staring at thoughts  I cannot fathom. I watch the faces of those around the sea of flowers. I smell incense. I feel cold and then hot. I see in the eyes of those around me a mixture of pain, hope, anger and strength. I watch a woman as she looks to me and all we can do is look and then we look away. I awaken from all of this and it is time for me to go and I call my wife on the way to the car.

 

I drive back to the soccer centre where I watch Sasha go through his paces. He’s a good boy and flowering into a great young man. I jump through some puddles to watch him and there is mud on my shoes. I watch his boots flashing in the night, the feet of a great dancer,  and I see his strong thighs kicking the ball.  I watch the other young men in the team, his team mates and they walk off the field together talking, smiling and hanging.  It’s time for us to go home, he wears his boots into the car.

 

About Haje Halabi

Born in Bright Victoria and went overseas for 2 years and stayed 18, back home now, keen observer of life and obsessed with sport. Tiger tragic, father of 2 boys who are growing too fast into young men.

Comments

  1. Peter_B says:

    Wonderful sentiments Haje. Thanks for sharing.
    What have we done to have crudified/brutalised/commercialised what used to be called “intimacy” so much that a young man would act in this way? It shames our society and not just the perpetrator.
    So much to admire in getting to know a little of Eurydice’s story. Proud and defiant and brave and caring.
    Well played Brandon Ellis for honouring her on Sunday.

  2. Wonderful words Haje. Great follow up PB.

    It’s more than safety we need to talk about, it’s a culture amongst other men who’s attitudes /behaviours can lead to men thinking of / treating women in this manner. I heard Phil Cleary on the ABC radio last night, expressing it so eloquently.

    We need to change. Yes more lights, extra CCTV, are all helpful but until ALL of us men treat ALL women with respect this sort of tragedy is always on the cards.

    Deepest sympathy to Jeremy, and all the Dixon family.

    Glen!

  3. Haje Halabi says:

    thanks Glen and Pete. We need to change the men. Men need to change some of the men. I am still reeling from this today. Thanks for your comments. Lets be the change.

  4. Dave Brown says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Haje. I have tried to spend the last week listening rather than reacting – listening to women telling their stories and also to men who feel victimized by the reaction, trying to work out the thought process that gets them there. Are they merely confirming the problematic aspects of masculinity that they are disputing or are we just failing to connect, or both? I’m uncertain, just sad. What I can do as a man is be aware of my presence around women (i.e. get out of the lift/bus first so I’m not walking behind), not take behavior designed to be wary of strangers as a personal affront (as the My Favourite Murder podcasters say to their largely female audience”f*ck politeness”), better learn to react to situations with emotions other than anger, raise a son to treat women with respect and raise to daughter to demand it. I hope that’s approaching sufficiency.

  5. E.regnans says:

    Thank you, Haje Halabi.
    Thoughtful.
    Moving.
    We can and must all do better.

  6. Carole Fabian says:

    Beautifully written, thank you. So true that we need to constantly work to change the culture that breeds hatred and violence towards women. Perhaps we need to examine the life circumstances of the perpetrator too. Not to find excuses – no, no no – but reasons. This is perhaps about class as much as about gender. So many young people in our increasingly unequal society grow up in violence, poverty, abuse and hopelessness. So many women in the outer suburbs die violently and unmemorialised in their own homes. Eurydice and her family deserve all the love and tears we offer. Let’s extend this compassion to examine systemic injustice in our community.

  7. Beautifully observed and said Haje.

  8. Jarrod_L says:

    Thank you Haje

  9. Joe De Petro says:

    Thanks Haje. Such a sad, sad thing to have happened. It is heart-breaking for her family and friends and shameful for society. Peter made the correct choice with this word. Events like this shame us all. Terrible things have always happened but we should never accept them.

  10. Very well articulated, Haje.
    It must start early, at the very beginning, this education of men.

  11. paul baines says:

    Very sad, should not have happened. Great to raise $60000 dollars for her family. Can’t help but think, if the money had been raised last week and she could have bought a car, she would not have walked home, she would have likely drove home quickly and safely. I know that is not the point, but if we can help people in any way, we should. I know this thought is left field, but the community and the political leaders should address any disparity in the rich and poor, through education and employment for all and help to benefit the whole society. The politicians need to also pour money into the mental health problems in Melbourne. We should try to take action as a society, rather than react, and the society will benefit.

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