The Girl with the Cardboard Port

The Girl with the Cardboard Port

Language: English

Pages: 245

ISBN: 090898880X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Judy McNeil is only fourteen when her father dies in a railway accident. Penniless and with nowhere to live, her mother is forced to take Judy and her five siblings to seek a new life in Brisbane, where she quickly remarries and Judy's life takes a dramatic turn for the worse. Fleeing to Sydney after attempting to kill her stepfather, all she has are a few belongings in a cardboard port, or suitcase. Judy falls in love with a Singaporean man named Richard, but her dreams of happiness are soon dashed. He sends her to live with his family in Singapore while he remains behind in Australia. So, still a teenager, Judy finds herself abandoned in a strange country with her young child and another on the way.The twists and turns of Judy's subsequent life make for compelling reading. Loathed by her husband's father, she leaves the family home only to find herself at the mercy of one of Malaya's headhunting Dayak rebels and forced to turn to prostitution to feed herself and her children.

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people sit on the footpath and beg for something to eat. Where rich young girls, dressed in their finery, are pulled along the street by poverty-stricken half-naked men. Insecure and comfortless, my fear becomes tangible—a living substance that begins to twine itself around my heart, squeezing the breath out of my body, damaging my already fragile psyche. Tears prick in the shadow of my eyes and I blink them back into my hidden lake of sorrow, already filled to overflowing. The taxi slows,

starved to death, could have been savagely chopped to pieces and he hasn’t bothered to find out how we are, the barbarian. It is just over three months and I almost will him to come now, this minute, the bastard! Givvy touches my arm. ‘Missy,’ she says hesitantly, conceivably sensing my rage, ‘food nearly finished.’ ‘Yes, I know Givvy.’ I continue to watch the storm clouds gather. They race across the sky, sprinting to arrive and drop their load of water on the already soggy earth. The jungle

and servants alike have their eyes fixed, almost hypnotically, on the dance floor. As my eyes sweep across the tables I see … him. He is staring at me, willing me to see him, and suddenly I feel excited and anxious. How am I going to speak to him? For a moment the whole scene fills me with dread and I can feel my composure slipping. Lee’s face is almost completely pink now and his hair so thin that even from here I can see his scalp. My eyes hold his as I barely nod. It is enough; he dips his

his head as he lies impotent and paralysed in the dirt at my feet. I understand enough about Chinese face to know that when he sobers up he will be malevolent and unforgiving of my display of contempt. I don’t care; I have won my battle of shame, and I laboriously drag him inside the house and leave him in a crumpled heap on the bare floor. • • • 8 SEPTEMBER 1964. I am packed. All we own is in my cardboard port and three small rubbish bags, my small Australian flag safely packed at the very

Footsteps. I open my eyes. Lynette is walking up the stairs. I won’t let them open the grill. I don’t let them prise my fingers away from the steel; I stand like a mad statue. My hands dart through the grill … and fasten around Lynette’s neck. ‘Let her go!’ screams her mother, ‘Let her go! You’re crazy!’ Yes, I’m crazy … yes, I am! They unlock the grill and I manoeuvre to the entrance, my hands still fastened around Lynette’s neck as I walk them up through the steel triangles. Lynette’s

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