Brown widow

January 20, 2017 at 9:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
743px-agapanthus_praecox_mhnt-bot-2009-7-4

What we do in life …

It is dusk.

I chat on the warm footpath with the widow next door.

She don spik Englis so good.

I no spik Greek at all.

So she’s ahead on points.

We usually get there in the end.

She ask how am I.

I say I’m OK, but dizzy (gestures) from the hospital pills.

She ask why I am in the hospital.

I pause, realising this topic will be even tougher than our council’s three-bin waste cycle.

I point to my head and say it is sick.

I point to the church hall down our street.

I talk about a man who did bad things to me (and lots of other kids) a long time ago.

I glance at her face, to see if my words are small enough.

Unexpectedly, we lock eyes.

Through these wet, brown, Mediterranean portals, I see.

Her grief, her loneliness, her inability to keep up with everything.

And her children’s thirst to flog her home of 40 years.

I wait for her reply.

She nods slowly,

turns,

points to a riot of Agapanthus and says,

‘I think this is too much for the bin.

I don kno if the man – he will take.’

For some seconds, I plan an entirely different response.

Then, I assure her all will be well.

And that if the man – he no take,

I will call the council.

Personally.

Epilogue

He take.

Pic by Roger Culos.


If you found this interesting or entertaining you may like to:

Even a buck or three will keep me in the hunt. With many thanks, Paul.


Shower scene

January 7, 2017 at 6:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My room is next to the ward’s security portal.

At 2:00 am, I wake to what sounds like agitated people making repeated efforts to get in, out (or possibly both).

My door has no internal lock, so I lie in fear – hoping not to get caught in the moment.

At length, the situation seems to resolve.

Shortly after which, my door handle turns.

I can only hope it’s the night nurse, so pretend to be asleep.

The door cracks open and I feel eyes upon me.

If I overact, I may appear dead – thus triggering entry and further examination.

It’s a nuanced role.

After silicone seconds, the door closes and I breathe again.

I remain sporadically alert for the next three hours.

On a happier note, the hot water’s back on.

A welcome relief.

Alas, the shower curtain doesn’t fully circumscribe the recess.

Either an intruder can see me from the toilet,

or I can see myself in the mirror.

I debate which is worse.

Then I put a bet each way by standing closer to the curtain, with peripheral eyes on the most likely lines of attack.

The bathroom door has an internal ‘lock’ – but this can be overridden from the other side by a key, a coin or even a stout thumbnail.

Also, the door’s hinge pins can be removed by hand.

That said, my shower concludes without incident.

But when I pull back the curtain, I’m dismayed.

The slope of the tiled floor has failed to deter water from most of the bathroom.

I must soak the bath mat to clean it up.

This means the grumpy towel woman (the others aren’t) may have to replace the mat mid-morning.

And last time she stormed out (doubtless with her own travails) she took all my positive vibes with her.

To curtail a repeat, I’d hoped to make the bath mat last the week.

So I set it with the wish

that it’ll dry

in time.

Postscript

I ask the day nurse about the night’s events.

She assures me only one person left the ward – at 11.30 pm – with no disturbance.

She suggests my proximity to the noisy security portal may have magnified things in my mind.

She seems genuine, and I want to believe her, but I’m reminded of a childhood riddle.

If she’s lying, I’m an acute observer, but may never get out of here.

If she’s truthing, I’m a great storyteller, but not ideally suited to the real world.

And so,

may never get out of here.


If you found this interesting or entertaining, you may like to:

Your smallest kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.


My day at the Royal Commission – Part 2

March 2, 2016 at 11:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Into the light.

Into the light.

Read Part 1.

A female usher, as immaculately groomed as the young man with whom I’d been laboriously chatting, politely asked if I was ready.

I felt pretty jolly far from ready, but it seemed a waste of a trip not to go ahead.

She guided me down a corridor and I got the sense that the whole hotel floor had been booked out for this exercise.

I saw no guests, but imagined tense victims and grim revelations behind the various doors.

We at last came to ‘my’ door.

The usher bade me to enter, which I nervously did.

The entrance opened into a room dominated by a round table.

Rising from this table was one of the commissioners.

I was very surprised by this, as there are only five commissioners (plus the Chair).

I had expected my evidence to be taken by some underling – not one of the ‘head honchos’.

My Commissioner stood and offered her hand in welcome. As she did, her silhouette was perfectly framed by the morning sun streaming through the window.

It looked like a remastered version of Patrick Swayze heading to heaven at the end of the movie Ghost.

If felt like I was meeting a broker of power, a shepherd of truth and a wielder of the sword of justice.

I said as much, and the Commissioner seemed to find it amusing.

I said I figured she’d be glad of a giggle, given the hundreds of hideous stories she must have already heard.

She confirmed that the road had indeed been long, but that every person who came forward had a right to be heard.

I asked if the Commission’s funding would permit it to run for as long as it took. As this was up to the government, however, she wasn’t sure.

Next to the Commissioner was a young man with an array of small yet expensive-looking audio equipment.

When asked if I’d be prepared to have my testimony recorded, I readily agreed.

To be continued.

Pic by the Commission.


If you found this post interesting or useful, you may wish to:

Your smallest kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.


My day at the Royal Commission – Part 1

February 22, 2016 at 9:17 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Weighing my words.

Weighing my words.

I chose to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse.

A nice lady advised me to attend a certain inner-city hotel on a Monday morning.

Nervous, and not overly trusting of public transport, I arrived 45 minutes early.

I walked around the empty Queen Victoria Market – which is always good for a bit of old architectural detail.

Time dragged, so I picked it up and carried it into the hotel foyer.

The desk staff seemed to know what to expect, as they quickly ascertained I wasn’t a new or returning guest.

On divining my purpose, they directed me to a dimly lit waiting area, populated by small tables and high-backed couches and chairs.

In scanning this space for threats, I was impressed by its suitability for damaged denizens.

For distributed around the room, with seemingly mathematical precision, were islands of human wariness.

Eyes down, yet peripherally alert. Folded into themselves and away from all others. Tensed with the burden of their stories – perhaps about to be told for the first time.

I found my spot in the series and assumed a kindred attitude. A large window showed ‘normal’ people heading to work and going about their lives. I watched and waited long enough to slide into a light reverie.

This was abruptly shattered when a male voice barked ‘MR HASSING?’ from directly behind my chair.

I sprang up startled and was sufficiently discombobulated to garner an immediate apology from the young man whose task it was to usher me upstairs.

I apologised for my reaction and wondered with concern how his angle of ingress had escaped my inventory. Then again, the best spot had been taken before I arrived.

In the lift, the man promised to modulate his approach to future witnesses. I assured him they’d be mighty grateful if he did.

He led me to a suite that had been converted to a waiting room. On a table was a panoply of sweet and savoury treats – none of which elicited the faintest desire.

Also present, a full range of beverages – excluding the alcohol for which I was fast feeling the need.

Expecting to be left alone in this place until summoned, I was disconcerted when the man sat across from me. I realised this was designed to comfort me before my session, but it had quite the opposite effect.

When I found that his previous job had been in advertising, I felt even less assured. But he was a very nice chap, and the time eventually ground through its course.

Then came a discreet knock at the door …

Read Part 2.

Pic by the Commission.


If you found this content useful or entertaining, you may wish to:

Even a buck or three will keep me in the hunt. With many thanks, Paul.


Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.