Cold Soft Drink Is Sometimes Free
Monday morning I got up early so I could go get a blood test at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Nothing new or unusual in this. I have to get the blood test the day before my appointment so that the results can be read by my nephrologist as I sit in a hair and watch. The blood test is virtually painless. The woman who takes my blood so smoothly also has the ability to write beautifully and clearly my name and patient number on each tube of blood. I tell her so. I am pulling sown my sleeve over the cotton bud and tape contemplating what to do with this day spreading long and lovely ahead of me when the brilliant blood taker hands me the familiar plastic bag and urine sample jar. My heart sinks I have completely forgotten about the weeing in a jar part. My bladder is completely empty. I buy a coffee and sit on one of the couches near the hospital entrance. In the time it takes to get to the point where I need to pee I have finished my book Adult Fantasy by Briohny Doyle. A book exploring the conflicting nature of being an adult in modern society and feeling like you are not succeeding in the ways so many of those around you are. When people who come from educated middle class back rounds are feeling the pinch of financial and career security it pushes me further and further towards intersectional marxist feminism. As I read and drink my coffee countless people walk past me. There are doctors, surgeons, Patients. I see a tall skinny barefoot young woman walk past me. She has a hospital bed blanket wrapped around her shoulders there is a man walking with her he looks like a doctor. I want to go home I think angrily. I resent having to be here for so much longer than I was ready to be. This is perhaps a version of my own adult fantasy: not having to spend extended periods of time in hospital. I finish my coffee and go back to the pathology out patients. I get a cup of water and gulp it down. It works and I hand in the sample with triumph.
Tuesday i get up early to go back to the hospital for the appointment. The train and tram are very crowded at 8am and i stand pressed against train carriage doors. I listen to the new Camp Cope album How To Socialize And Make Friends as buisness people stand pressed up against me. At the waiting area to see my nephrologist a nurse calls my name and she takes my blood pressure and weighs me. She writes the numbers on the back of my appointment slip I will give them to my doctor to save time. When I sit back down to wait i notice a cute young man sitting across from me. This is unusual as the waiting area for kidney doctors is rarely a babe fest and understandably so. He looks away when i look up from my Zadie Smith collection of essays. Slowly I am collecting personal information about my nephrologist. Today I found out he worked in a bookshop while at uni. He did not appreciate over eager and chatty regular customers. I sit in my chair and watch him read my blood test results. My tacrolimus levels are 2.5 this is a good and excellent level for them to be at. This time I do get to leave the hospital within a couple of hours. Which is good as I have my psych appointment at 2pm.
At flinders st station before getting on a train to West Footscray I decide to treat myself to a bottle of Kirks portello from one of the drink machines. There are two men standing next to an open drinks fridge with a large amount of boxes of carbonated drinks. I try and feed my note into the drink machine and it keeps spitting my money out. It does this three times before I swear under my breath and take my money back defeated. One of the men stops me and gets his magic keys out of his pocket to open the drinks fridge that is not cooperating with my desire. ”You tried enough times” he says.”And you look thirsty.” Oh my god. I think. Is he flirting with me? Was that thirsty remark a double entendre? He asks what I wanted and I tell him. He plucks a bottle from its home and hands it to me. It feels cold and very very free. ”Did you know thats made in Victoria?” He says. I shake my head. ”I thought it was made in South Australia.” I say feeling less sure if this was flirting or simply sharing information. I thank him again and go catch my train. I listen to Camp Copes new album again as I sit on a Footscray train and cry and cry. The album is that good. How J Maq manages to write and sing about her sexual assault and deceased father with such beauty and pathos takes my ability to stay dry eyed and crushes it with talent and tenderness.
The sun is hot as I walk from the station to my psychologist’s office. I hate it so much and there are no trees on this particular street. An old woman with a walking stick is walking towards me as she gets closer to me she stops. ”Where is your mother today?” She asks. I cheerfully respond with my full adult age.
My psychologist and I talk. We discuss this particular form of therapy in a bit more detail. I tell her my favourite thing about reading up on Schema therapy was reading what disorders it was meant to help with. Disorders like personality disorder, traumatic childhood experiences, anxiety and depression. My psych suggests a book that might help me make a decision. She warms me about some of the cringe worthy wording but asks that I persevere through it. I take note of the book. I listen to Camp Cope on the train back to my house and cry some more. Its the last song on the album that does it without fail on every listen. There are so many instances where i nearly lost my own Dad but didn’t, instances where I nearly lost my Mum but didn’t and I am filled with relief that I have him still. That I have both my parents.
Wednesday somebody comes to the apartment to pick up my art work and take it to the Counihan Gallery where it will be set up along side other amazing women such asClea Chiller Rachel Ang and Texta Queen as well as my zine making powerhouse collaborator Miranda Costa aka MC Drawn. The show is called Agency Ink and opens on Thursday the 15 of March. I am so pleased to not have to pay for a taxi in order to get my art there safely.
Wednesday evening I go to a letter writing night at Noisy Ritual an urban winery on Lygon street. Before I go I take the opportunity to go to Readings and pick up the book i had ordered The Will To Change: Men, Masculinity And Love by Bell Hooks. I also buy the book my psych recommended Reinventing Your Life by Jeffrey E. Young Ph.D and Janet S. Klosko, Ph.D. I try not to feel mortified as I ask for it and buy it. Why should I feel mortified about trying to feel less heart sick?
The Dead Letter Club is a night where you go and write letters as other people. That is you take on imaginary personas and exchange letters with another person at the event also pretending to be someone else. It was wonderful. I sat at a table by myself a few minutes before other people arrived and eventually made friends with three other people who sat down at my table. We shared snacks and stories and wrote letters. I was a mentally unstable doctor with an embarrassing and almost career ruining past as well as a son who had saddened and confused their mother by marrying a woman who would rather go to Milan fashion week than attend their husband’s father’s funeral. I wanted to write a response rich with intrigue as to why the wife chose something as fun and frivolous over attending a funeral of someone who didn’t respect her but i ran out of time. I shared my table with a woman in her fifties who told me she is a interior designer, a career i found to sound very glamorous like Grace and Karen in Will And Grace and heaps of female characters in romantic comedies. The other table mate had come along in place of their partner who had purchased the ticket before getting a job a few hours drive from Melbourne. They enjoyed it so much they decided to come along next time with their partner.
Thursday I received an incredibly angry written in all caps email response from a former friend who now hates me. I had written to enquire about a book i lent her before the falling out a book that didn’t even belong to me. She had blocked me on all social media and my phone number. in the response she internet yelled at me that she had sent the book ages ago and it was not her problem if it hadn’t arrived. She yelled to leave her alone. It was like being slapped. My heart raced and my eyes pricked but i did not cry.
We had walked hand in hand from my tram stop to my apartment after literary events. She had slept on my couch and I gave her one of my antidepressants as she had none with her and we discovered we both took the same type and dosage. We shared poetry and writing. Then it changed with no warning. I let her down and i could not rectify things. Once again i underestimated how important my friendship is. Another short but intense and beautiful friendship over for me. As i sat there staring at my phone and getting angry and sad my head started buzzing with anxiety. what do I have control over? I thought. Can I change their feelings by sheer will and constant sorry? No. Is this why I have no girl gang? I ask myself. The book got lost in the mail i guess. I swallow my anger and write back that i would never annoy her on purpose and that i hope she is ok. i suddenly get hot with a sick feeling of paranoia that soon nobody will want to be my friend that she will tell everyone I’m an awful selfish disgusting human and everyone will believe it. Heck, I believe it most days. Just not for the same reason as this person.
Friday I awake from a vivid dream that involves an all day party and live music at a pub. I am wanting to be intimate with a friend. Her name is *Temper and she is very beautiful to me. I shyly approach her on the dance floor and tell her that I would very much like to kiss her. For some reason that seems totally normal she is topless. She puts her drink down and hugs me close we are chest to chest. We are heart to heart and her breath is on my neck. It is almost too much. An ex lover is also here *James is playing in his band. Before he plays he laces his fingers through mine and says he will see me later. I do not react. Though I feel deep arousal throb between my legs. I go to dance on my own. My skirt is long and it twirls out pleasingly. Why don’t I wear skirts more often? I think as I dance and spin until I am dizzy. The floor is clean smooth polished wood with no sticky parts from spilt drinks. I lay down on the dance floor. Flat on my back I spend a moment staring at the disco ball above my head and the light spangles falling all over the other figures dancing around me so carefully. They are not annoyed. Their footsteps are graceful and precise. I turn on my side and curl up. The floor is not hard anymore it is soft.
When I open my eyes it is bright morning and the blind is all the way up showing a perfect bright blue sky.