A Change of Heart – Part 3 | Ian Harrison


A Change of Heart – Part 3

Ian Harrison

For the WOLVES Award Part III

Sunday, November 26, 2000.

Thrown to the wolves? Plot twist : I am a wolf.

Uncle Pete always said I’m too independent for my own good. Jokes “she’s from your side of the family”, and Jenny’d glower at him. I’d play along as a kid, thinking it was just their little in-joke, that was somehow at my expense, but good-natured and inclusive all the same.

Then I got older. Wiser. Found out that not one drop of my blood matched either of theirs.

The joke was still at my expense, but I’d been excluded from my wolf pack; kicked out of the den, leaving me : a lone wolf.



Monday, January 13, 1986.

The “Mind, Body, Spirit” festival on the weekend at the Horden Pavlova sucked. Forty degrees in the shade. I couldn’t wait to leave. I found the primal zodiac section and bought a little plush wolf with my own pocket money. My primal zodiac’s wayyyy better than the one in Dad’s weekend newspaper.

Taurus? A cow. A male cow. No thank you!

It says I’ll find love all the time but I don’t think it knows I haven’t even turned twelve yet. So much for knowing my future. It can’t even get my present right.

My Chinese zodiac’s the Tiger. Moody and cranky. I’m a wolf, diary. Even before I knew I was.

Mum insisted we go along to a meditation class held by Yogi Big-long-Indian-sounding-name.

“I’ll bring the pic-a-nic baskets.” At least Rachel laughed.

“Om”, crystals and focusing on breathing… I think. I haven’t had a daytime nap since pre-school.


Friday, February 2, 1990.

Weird – I called Aunt Jenny “mum” yesterday… out loud and written down. My subconscious has a mind of its own.

Just needed my mum last night, and I was so happy she wasn’t too old to hold me all night while we cried ourselves to sleep.


Tuesday, December 13, 2002.

Get this, diary. Aaron pulls me aside, demanding to hear (or read) my speech beforehand. I don’t deserve any stinking token awards, and I sure as hell don’t want one! He clearly doesn’t want me to receive it either, while simultaneously being jealous it isn’t him being nominated.

Fine. Stick your bloody award up your bum. While you’re at it, take my fucking cardiomyopathy too, ok?

That’s it. He’ll get his speech, all right. Both barrels.



Saturday, July 6, 1991.

Food stayed down today, but we’re dealing with ripples in a pond. One life taken means many more will be lost.

Bring back the death penalty.

Urgh. Spoke too soon about food staying down.


Wednesday, November 22, 2000.


Credit card bill just arrived and I almost had a heart attack. Speaking as a survivor of one of those already, it’s something I want to avoid at all costs from now on.

Everyone from the Embassy was nice as anything, but nothing was quick, cheap or easy. I’d spent all my money on the cruise and non-refundable deposits on non-existent hospital visits but getting back to Australia once the cruise had sailed on, well, that was another matter.

Pete and Jenny have been nice enough, doing the “we wish you’d have told us” – but only so they could say “I told you so” as well. Suddenly, I’m fourteen years old with a mouth full of braces again, getting chastised. They say otherwise, but they were my parents for most of my life so we know each other’s personalities well enough to know what we each would or wouldn’t have said.

I’ll find the minimum payment for the next couple of months while I sweat on the big fat travel insurance cheque coming through – fucking pre-existing medical conditions. Greg’s not thrilled about me sleeping on his and Therese’s couch, but neither am I.

(I feel snuggly cool on the leather, like a wolf in a cave, now it’s warming up.)


Easter Monday, April 16, 2001.

I’m in the library, wanting to shout. Wanting to scream.

Wanting to cry.

Every bit of research leads back to the same conclusion : I can’t find anyone related to me. My family tree is a dried, withered twig, no-one to water and grow it. And I’m it.

I change people’s lives, delivering human tissues to hospitals for transplant. I appreciate the families of all of the poor people who died, agreeing to have organs harvested from their son or daughter; mother or father.

And I’m a lone wolf.


Monday, May 2, 2005.

Back living with Mum and Dad. Commemorating (certainly not celebrating) my thirty-first birthday on Wednesday. Unmarried, overweight, no kids, no job, no prospects. Functionally, no heart.

One plan.

My death won’t be for nothing. Let’s get people talking, diary. Even if it is only gossip : that sick, sad jailbird spinster who doesn’t have a job and still lives with her parents, aged thirty-one.


Tuesday, June 24, 2003.

“Dumbest Criminal Ever?”

Yes, Pete, I read the headlines too.

And journalists have somehow got a hold of you too, diary. But they can’t read my mind. I’d hoped my “parents” had some notion of how I think and act, at least.

Pete yelled the entire article down the phone – I’d read it twice already. Hell, I’d lived it.

“Tell me why, Kellie?” I’m five, caught scribbling on the walls – not 29-year-old Kelly.

Why, what, Pete?

Pete just scoffs. “In what possible world would that work? Threatening a doctor with a knife, demanding he knock you out and operate on you?”

He doesn’t say “we raised you better than that”. Doesn’t need to. We have a chasm to bridge. But I’ll have twenty-four months to think about it.

Eighteen, if I cage the wolf and behave myself.