By Patricia Page

ISBN-10: 1740760484

ISBN-13: 9781740760485

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Across the Magic Line 49 We climbed, took curves around wooded flanks, then descended and came out of the trees. And there it was: a perfectly semicircular harbour, blue in the sudden sunlight, with, on its far side, the city of Suva. Rectangular highrises on the foreshore marred the harmonious downhill tumble of colonial dwellings, foliage and palms. But the city hadn’t spread from its original position on the east side of the bay. It could still look over to jagged mountains piled around a central peak turned back at the top like a tropical Matterhorn — Joske’s Thumb, named after Paul Joske, owner of Fiji’s first sugar mill.

One grazed my waist. Then a terrible thing happened. A hot wet feeling went down one leg and spread under my feet. I stood in a large, shameful puddle. They stopped. A couple of hyena-like laughs and they were off, bounding back over the banyan roots. I stayed in the clearing, trembling, soggy and sick, for as long as it took for my clothes and leg to dry. My parents must never know what 20 Across the Magic Line happened. Whenever I suffered an injustice or indignity I had that illogical feeling many people have: the guilt of the victim.

Mossy joined them, his blank face making his kicks even more terrifying. Their feet were bare but hard as shoes. One grazed my waist. Then a terrible thing happened. A hot wet feeling went down one leg and spread under my feet. I stood in a large, shameful puddle. They stopped. A couple of hyena-like laughs and they were off, bounding back over the banyan roots. I stayed in the clearing, trembling, soggy and sick, for as long as it took for my clothes and leg to dry. My parents must never know what 20 Across the Magic Line happened.

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Across the Magic Line: Growing Up in Fiji by Patricia Page


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