The first thing I did when I got home was sling my bag on the couch on route to the kitchen. No time to wait. (Well,
technically the first thing that I did was open the door, but pedantics are only amusing if you have someone to annoy with
I grabbed a beer and a small tub of jello from the fridge, and a spoon from the drawer, not without noticing that I must
put a load through the dishwasher real soon. Of course, to do that I’d have to buy powder, and to do that I’d
have to go shopping. Not just milk and bread and smokes shopping, the type of shopping that you do at the corner store. Supermarket
shopping, struggling with a crappy shopping cart or basket shopping. Crowded shopping. Muzak shopping.
was in the bedroom, and at first I thought I couldn’t be bothered getting it, but my gimp was getting worse with the
cold wind of late, and I didn’t want to wake up in the morning restless AND in pain. A lot of pain.
While I was waiting
for the wheatbag to heat up I played back the messages on the answering machine.
One hang-up, and one from my parents. Dad. Odd, because usually Mum makes the phone calls. Dad probably wanted to have
a good old father to son chat, huh. Just like him to call when he knew I was out, and then leave the onus on me to call him
back. I wonder if they beat fatherhood into him at the Daddy Boot Camp.
“Gregg, it’s Dad. We’re thinking
of renting a cabin again. Same place as last year, in a couple months time. You could come along this time, do some fishing.
Just calling, you know, in case you want us to reserve an extra cabin. We could drive you.” Click.
I could hear
what they were thinking, he was thinking. We needed some quality time together, to work things out. God, what a cliché. They
wanted to see me happy. Or force it into me. Plan A hadn’t worked, the old drop-in-on-the-way-to-Paris trick. Now they
wanted me to come on holidays. The annual family holiday. Perhaps to prevent me from doing what they assume I do – wallow
in self-hate. Maybe to placate themselves that they were doing something. Maybe they wouldn’t be happy until I wrote
my own self-help book about overcoming adversity, and gimped my way around America.
I blew off calling Dad for the moment. And made my way back to the couch. With the wheat bag placed comfortably and
warmly on my leg, with beer just working it’s way down into my gut and the TV happily providing the background noise
in the form of a program on John Lee Hooker, I was too comfortable to play piano or read. For twenty minutes I just wanted
to doze. Sleepiness WITH actual sleep is too good an opportunity to pass up.
In the past five or six years I’ve
seen my parents four times. I have travelled to meet them twice, once dropping in as I took the slow scenic route to a cushy
medical seminar with Wilson. (The slow scenic route to indulge my leg as much as Wilson’s penchant for historic picnic
areas, farm tastings and tourist plaques. I hate tour busses as much as Wilson does. They make him sick. They make me hurt.
Even before the Infarc I hated the thought of someone else deciding when I could eat or pee.)
Once I drove down on
my own for a funeral, going as fast as I could to avoid protracting the trip. My great Uncle had died, a relative who I didn’t
really know that well, however close enough that if I wagged his funeral I would offend a few sensitive family members. Not
that I really minded if I cheesed off a few cousins, although even I occasionally may baulk at the prospect of souring familial
relations (hmm). My Dad had a box of cigars that seemed very nice, that he had promised to share with me. (Read, bribe me
with). So I took a couple of days off work either side of the weekend, urging the kids to call me if anything remotely interesting
I drove in between stretching out in plastic Krispy Kreme and truck stop chairs. My coat only mildly wrinkled, an
unbuttoned collar peeking out from behind the least cheesy looking of the two ties that I owned at the time. (One of these
‘borrowed’ from James, and never returned). Here’s a tip – make one tie sombre and expensive, and
one slightly cheaper and happy. You can never go wrong.
My parents have visited me twice. The most recent on their
way to Paris, with a stopover that was probably very well engineered, with such a convenient parcel of time. Just enough to
snoop in on Gregg at work, but not enough to visit his place. I am very glad that Cameron didn’t need to see me arguing
with my Dad, not least because I don’t like to be reduced to the position of a petulant child. I don’t really
care if people see that my Dad is tactless and arrogant (although in an entirely different way than I am). One part of me
just didn’t want to have to make Cameron sit through what would have been a very awkward conversation. Mum clearing
her throat. My fingers playing silently on the tabletop. Hell, I might have to resort to some kind of annoying tapping program.
Maybe I just didn’t want Cameron to see that I was like my parents. Maybe I don’t want to have to think
that they have more of an impact on me than I realise…
This leaves one more parental visit to reminisce
about, for want of a better word.
My parents visited only about a month after I’d started working full-time again
– No more half-days, no more sleeping in or napping at three in the afternoon. It wasn’t like this was a luxury
– I’d hardly found any time lately to read the mail, let alone do anything other than crash out when I got home.
(Even before I had rarely slept for more than four hours at a time. Now I was king of the cat-nap. And king of staring at
the TV like a zombie, thinking a thousand things, and sometimes nothing).
Now that I was in the office full time, tramping around after patients, standing unsteadily in line at Pharmacy, trying
to rest my legs as much as I could by watching TV in my office, making various working areas as comfortable as possible (I’d
just filched a pillow from somewhere and stashed it in the cupboard in my favourite clinic room, because even though I avoided
the clinic, with children and their questions, and sympathetic glances from bleeding-heart mothers, I often found that the
best place the hide from Cuddy was in plain sight. All I had to do was sneak in past any actual patients, or people who might
think I was a doctor), I was just scraping through each full day, utterly bone tired by about lunchtime.
I’d fallen asleep in the car as James drove me home too many times to count, and it was often James who bought
pizza or heated something up in the microwave when I got home, probably because he knew I was too tired, or sick, to eat.
(He also had the unenviable task of waking me up, and coaxing me out of the car).
He liked eating at my place, still does,
and even though I grumble and moan, I like eating and joking at the TV with him, too.
I suspected that he followed me inside to ensure that I didn’t fall asleep as soon as I got in the door. He
suspiciously eyed the whisky bottle on a magazine on the top of the piano when he was at my house (which was a lot), but I
didn’t need it to sleep. Just for the occasional numbing agent. It wasn’t like I wasn’t in pain, but I did
know that I should pace myself as far as alcohol was concerned at least while I got used to taking Vicodin. I wasn’t
stupid. Like I could ever do myself harm under James’s watchful eye, anyway. The last thing he needed was an OD or alcohol
scare, and the last thing I needed was a shot liver.
I looked very tired, as it was. I’d lost weight. But I was, as I thought, getting better, and I thought
that my parents would think that I looked better too, especially since the last time they saw me I was wobbling around the
house precariously on crutches (when I got up, which was hardly at all) sniping at James and – Stacy- and them. And
the time before that I was so out of my mind with grief and pain and morph I could hardly read the time, let alone hold together
I figured it would be a natural progression, that my parents would see their son back to his acerbic best, regardless
of slightly greying stubble, and a limp that had settled in to posture and habit (indeed, when I first got out of hospital
Stacy had urged me to go shopping with her, to get out. We took the whole day, and I sat down on every possible changing room
stool and coffee booth chair. Cheap rehab crutches nagging at my elbows.
I bought jeans, a couple of t-shirts. Didn’t scream at the annoying lady in the Pharmacy when we went and tested
canes (a little too soon). Didn’t scream at Stacy for prising me away from daytime television. I bought two pairs of
new shoes, a new pair of Nikes because my favourite oldies had part of the sole peeling off, not great for PT, and a pair
of Chucks, old style, black because Stacy said they’d support my ankles, and I just thought they were cool).
These shoes were just beginning to wear on the soles, with a dip to the left in the bottom of the left shoe,
a product of my changed gait. My older chucks, that I had owned for at least six years, were different somehow, a memory thrown
back from when I walked a different way. I was almost unsteady in old shoes. Almost.
My shirt was wrinkled, but clean.
I didn’t smell. I was functioning.
My parents arrived early, as usual. I’d said I would meet them in the Cafeteria, but Dad waltzed through the
door of my office with only a perfunctory knock, at least half an hour early. I’d been half reading a Journal, half
watching a daytime soap with the volume turned down (I could tell enough from exaggerated hand gestures, the occasional raised
word and the shapes of people’s lips). No interesting cases, but I had dispatched the kids down to MRI with a patient,
half to get them out of my hair, and half to prove a boring diagnosis that I’d already worked out. Maybe James is right
when he says that I’m like a kid who discards a simple puzzle as soon as he works out what the picture is.
was sitting at my desk, leg propped up on the spare chair. My first thought was, thank God I wasn’t lying on the floor,
or stretched out on the couch with a heat pack on my scar. Or sicking up into the waste bin. I hadn’t been a stranger
to pain the past couple of weeks, and people knew that if the ‘pain’ sign was on in my mood, and probably in my
eyes, to stay the hell away or be got at. Only James, and maybe Cuddy, would come into my office and gently prod and nag.
Stretch. Go home. Sit down before you fall down. Cuddy knew all about my bludging habits, but she also knew, I guessed, that
she didn’t want her so called top diagnostician (don’t all doctor’s diagnose?) burning out at work or hurting
himself. And I saw the look on James’s face when I tried to walk fast, or bent over.
I was glad, not only because
I’d had a good couple of days (reliatively), leg-wise, but because my parents had seen me apparently working, efficiently,
and with no sign of massive physical impairment.
Dad said Hello. I said Hello back. Mum came and hugged me, looked at my hair. I thanked them for coming. Did they
want to go to the caf, get a coffee or an early lunch? No they said, they would wait a bit. They obviously wanted to look
around my office.
“Did James give you the guided tour?”
As my mother prattled on about the new wing on the hospital, and how nice the Oncology lounge was (I knew, great
sofa), my Dad started turning away to look at my books, and the whiteboard and doodads in the other room. I took this opportunity
to get up from my chair, not grunting, but leaning heavily and tightening my mouth. I walked around a bit, as steadily as
I could, to stretch my stiff legs and send a silent message to my parents that I wasn’t about to fall flat on my face.
So far, so good. No curt words from either sides, no tearful tone of voice. Dad even seemed to like what I’d done with
the office. Had I done anything since they last visited? I didn’t know.
After talking about what we’d done recently, and how busy I’d been, and how work was going, and
did I like this and that and what was this in the office, and avoiding any topics along the lines of ‘My God! My son
is a cripple!’ and Stacy (I had only informed my parents briefly about our gradual then sudden breakup, but I guessed
that they had been in touch with both Stacy and James about it. I wondered if they knew just how ignorant, or lack thereof,
I was of their correspondence. I wasn’t stupid, and they knew it. Maybe they assumed that I was wallowing in a giant
wading pool of melancholy. Maybe they thought that I didn’t care about anything, except for Nintendo and the occasional
point gained through witty riposte).
I decided that we should go down to the Cafeteria, especially before they started searching through my desk drawers.
I made a wisecrack about them not taking away my belt in case I tried to do away with my self, and was rewarded with a tut-tutting
noise from mum.
In the elevator I tried not to look like I was shifting my weight on to the left. Used my cane to press the button
for the right floor. Dad had the touch-and-go egg salad sandwich, on which I could basically imagine the microbes swarming.
Mum had the pasta of the day, and I was just going to go with the lollipop in my pocket and a soda when mum fussed about me
not eating enough, almost saying that I looked skinny, but biting her tongue, so I relented and bought fries.
were eating and I was picking at the food. (One of Vicodin’s more ugly side effects is nausea, and it had just started
to rear its head, probably as I started to be lax about doses. In the days when I started working harder and slowly recovering,
the good days were better, but the bad days were worse.
Sometimes I’d wake up, almost too sick from retching to talk. I’d croak into the phone that I was sick, and
more often than not James would roll up in time to see me collapsed on the bathroom floor, unsure whether to clutch leg or
gag. The pain from my leg and the nausea made the sickness clutch at my body. I shivered and gasped and heaved. A lot. More
heaving, more leg pain. Hello breakfast.
Sometimes worse than the actual sicking up I hated the queasiness, James forcing me to drink something so I wouldn’t
be dehydrated, feeling uncertain and scared of the next wave of nausea. Funny. I was incapacitated by a pain in the stomach.
The Nausea like a chill down my back. I absolutely cannot stand the smell of spew. In primary school I was the one who threw
up when one other kid did. Once I almost passed out on the bathroom mat. I bet I stank. James helped me up as tenderly as
he could, but the combination of the movement and the pain meant that I really did throw up, monumentally. All over his shirt.
It’s hard to aim when you can’t see, and the sickness was like a physical hold… Later, as I apologized,
feeling absolutely empty, James took off his shirt, and with a wry smile, threw it out. I gave him a new one of mine, and
laughed weakly at how it was tight on the chest but too long in the arms).
Conversation was still, but not stilted.
I waited for it to turn, and it did.
“Are you driving, Gregg?”
“Today Dr Wilson was kind enough to give me a ride in his chariot. He left the V8 Monster Truck at home.”
“Can you drive?”
“I didn’t say I couldn’t.”
Silence. Oooh, Scary.
“Have you? Yet?” Dad.
“We wouldn’t want you to be a danger.” Mum.
I had been out driving, with Stacy. About half an hour. I held out. It wasn’t fun, yet, but I could see how
it could be, again. I didn’t want to have to see how I’d go braking quickly, though, especially with Stacy sitting
“Oh, you know me Mum. All I need to go out driving is a quick tot of rum and a snort of crack, you know,
maybe some amphetamines, nice loud music…”
We talked for a while, about how I was feeling (fine), how I was working (no napping until at least ten AM), how
much I was eating (enough). They hadn’t yet asked me how my leg was. How much pain I was in, and I guessed that they
were saving the clincher of the great Gregg test to the end.
“Gregg. We need to know.”
“My sex life? Absolutely raging, thank you very much.”
“Gregg. How are you holding up? Can you handle it?” Mum.
Silence. I was annoyed. I didn’t want to fight.
“I haven’t dissolved, have I? And handle what? The constant questioning? Having to drink bad coffee?
The food here?”
“Son, you can’t hide in your office. Just admit it.”
Cripple. Dad. Christ, I knew. Didn’t I show it? What was I supposed to do?
It must have shown on my face
how angry I’d become. I stared at dad, tipping a plastic drink straw over and over in his chewed-nail fingers. Fingertips
tapping on my thigh.
After studying the pebbled tabletop for a few more seconds I lurched up, claiming I had to look at test results,
which was partly true, but they were hardly relevant. Mum made a quick attempt to rectify the situation, and said they’d
drive me home. I was too angry to try to get out of it, so I agreed and limped off, winding my way around the tables, thankful
that I didn’t trip over something.
After working out my anger by pummelling the buttons in the elevator, and feeling pain, I wondered how long they’d
hang around my apartment. What would mum think of the ashtray by the chair? At least I’d attempted to air the place
out this morning.
I’d felt good this morning, almost criminally, and the condo was turning into a complete shambles, even by
my scruffy, but not unhygienic standards. Jeez, even Wilson had commented as he threw out a pizza box and took out the trash.
So I’d cleaned up a bit, finally put through a wash as I’d sweated through the last lot of sheets, put my clean
clothes in the cupboard and chucked the dirty ones in the laundry, and at least left the large accumulation of coffee cups
and cereal bowls in the sink to soak. Thrown out the various food scraps, which was good, because it looked like I wasn’t
eating anything, merely rearranging food. I even threw out the pudding cups.
The bathroom was terrible, though. I’d helped Wilson put in a hand rail after I almost fell on my ass one morning,
bellowing, and the tins of putty and grout and tools were still lying in the hallway where Wilson had left them. (There was
another reason for the handrail; both Wilson and I had known that we had to do it since before Stacy had left.
Just after I came home I’d dragged myself up to take a shower one morning, hinting that I needed to be alone. I
remember slipping off the little plastic stool there, and really couldn’t be bothered getting up. The water was warm,
wasn’t it? Stacy found me, slumped in the bottom of the shower, the water running. Hands and feet like prunes. Almost
stuporous. Thankful that you can’t drown in the shower. She helped me up, and hugged me sadly, her jumper wet, and all
I could think was, thank God it’s not Wilson. He’s seen the scar, but there are other things that a best friend
should not see). I love Stacy and Wilson because they know me well enough to know that I don’t need pity. Or maybe they’re
just really good at disguising it.
The papers and books lying around were ok, and at least the piano wasn’t out of tune. I had an excuse, didn’t
I? Maybe that was the problem, that I thought I had an excuse, but I knew that even getting out of bed took a huge amount
of energy… maybe only I knew that. Maybe I should hire a maid.
The afternoon passed by quicker than I hoped it would, and I still stayed a bit later, avoiding the inevitable. I
was very tired, however, so under the guise of lying on the couch reading a file and text I fell asleep.
When I woke up my mother had just arrived at the door. She announced that if I wanted a lift, we should leave pretty
soon. I knew that I didn’t really have the opportunity to refuse, that she wanted me to come. I could easily mosey down
to Wilson’s office, as he was no doubt still working. Maybe I wanted to prove something to them. What, I don’t
I quickly grabbed by bag, and briefcase. I guessed that mum wanted to offer to carry my bag, but she didn’t,
denying me the opportunity to snipe and show her how fit and strong my body was. Dad was grabbing a coffee from the machine
down the hall. They both looked as tired as hell.
In the lift I could smell coffee and Mum’s perfume. The last time I’d smelt that and thought about
it she’d been leaning over me as I lay flat on my back.
My leg jolted me thankfully back, and I shifted my weight.
When we got to the ground floor, I pushed ahead of Dad, which was a stupid thing to do, unless I wanted to provoke
his anger, and so, his bluntness. Maybe I wanted to fight. I certainly wanted to yell at him.
“Scuse me. Cripple coming through.”
We came out with no further ado, or talking, into the fresh air. It was a bit cold, but not yet cold enough to start
my leg aching. The air was cold enough, though, and fresh enough to clear my head.
I could feel Dad, and his smouldering anger, behind me.
We ascertained that the car was over on the far side of the car park, and after griping a bit about the distance,
and extolling the virtues of a handicapped park, we set off. The walk would probably take someone walking quickly about ten
minutes. By the time we would reach the car, in about twenty minutes, a short, violent argument would have erupted.
We set off walking in the outdoor visitor’s car park. After about three minutes of silence, my mother
observed that the shoelace of my right shoe had come undone. I have no easy way of doing this one up with out sitting down,
so I told my Mother that I would do it up when we got to the car. Mum fussed about me tripping. I said it would be fine. They
both fussed about me tripping over. I stopped, and headed for the closest park bench, over in a corner by the hedge bordering
some garden or other. My mother told me she’d do it up herself.
“Why not, Gregg?”
“Oh, jeez, I wonder. Not only do I have you hovering over me with bated breath waiting for a catastrophic trip,
but you want to do up my shoelace? How old am I? Twelve? Want to kiss my boo-boo?”
“We’re just worried.” Mum.
“We want you back to normal as soon as possible”.
Ooh. Sore spot. I lashed out at Dad, and all I could think was, you prick. You ignorant blunt prick. I turned so
quickly my leg hurt.
“NORMAL! This is normal! Just accept it! Ok! The way I’m going, you’re not going to have
your son back to ‘normal’ again.”
“You’re being irrational. And selfish. Boy, you’ve still got two legs. Think about it.”
didn’t get it. I did. I was very angry, more angry than usual at being judged and misinterpreted.
I looked around quickly. We were sheltered by the hedge. It was dark.
Before they or I could think any more I
undid my belt and fly, then stood up, leaning on my cane with one hand and holding my pants up with the other. I let my pants
drop, waited a full ten seconds until my right thigh was stinging from the change in temperature, then sat down and pulled
them up. I could guess at what my parents had seen. I’d studied my legs with an almost clinical eye in the mirror.
front of my right thigh has a long pink, lumpy scar stretching across the front of it, plus a couple of smaller white scars.
It’s not a cute scar, it’s ugly and large and in your face. My right quad is missapen, red, angry. Smaller than
the muscle on my left leg. I do try to walk and exercise, but my right leg is wasted.
My dad gasped and looked away. My mum sniffed.
“Thank God I wore boxers today.” Dry.
Dad’s face livid, angry.
I did up my pants, grabbed my cane, and stepped off quickly in the direction of the car, steps jagged and angry.
“I guess it hasn’t sunk in yet. You’re son is a FUCKING GIMP!” I was yelling, and I raised
two hands in the air, before quickly bringing the cane hand down. Telling everyone.
“Jeez, what do I have to do? I’m trying! I can walk and talk! What, they should have cut it off?”
Quieter. Driving it home.
I was walking faster, and I saw their car up ahead. A comfortable sedan. I walked on, parents trailing behind carrying
bags. When I got to the car I waited, leaning. Dad was puffing and angry, and he probably still had more to say. Mum looked
upset, and looking at her I almost felt sorry for what I’d done. I wanted to walk off, but that was irrational.
“Son, you had no right.”
“To what? Wake you up? Tell you the truth?”
“Leave me alone. I don’t need your help. I don’t need your worry. I don’t need your assumptions.
Now that I’ve truly fucked my position as the model offspring, I feel that I can tell you to BACK OFF!”
Head back against the car. Maybe if I shut my eyes they’d go away. I was being stupid.
“Oh, bite me.”
Mum moved to put the bags in the trunk, and I tapped my cane lightly against the light of the window. My dad breathed
softly, beside me. I could feel his rage.
My father was not abusive. He never hit me or mum, nor said anything to hurt
or discourage us on purpose. He never even slammed his fist on the table at dinner.
However, maybe it was different now,
now that I was older. Now that I was acting out, to push them away. To piss him off.
My father wrenched the cane out of my grip, and threw it about six feet away, onto the grass behind the line of cars.
He grabbed my face, and whispering to me, said,
“Don’t be an idiot, son.”
“Don’t be a dickhead, dad.”
I pushed him slightly, prompting the by no means taller, but heavier man to push back. I would not call myself weak,
but I am no ironman. My sports of choice were running, and field hockey with the occasional game of lacrosse. My dad still
had his sweaty defence force muscle, even if he was a bit fat.
I was tired. And weak, from not eating enough and pain. I was still mellow, pliant from the last Vicodin I’d
Dad’s push lightly slammed me against the car. Not very hard, but hard enough to push my rage. My leg hurt,
and pain rang in my ears. I couldn’t hit my dad, so I sidestepped to get away. Not because I was afraid, because I wanted
to end the conversation on my terms.
I’d tried to walk without the cane before, but never in front of anyone. (I knew, of course, that even
trying served no purpose other than hurting myself, but at least I could tell myself I was trying something as I futilely
punished myself). I sidestepped and limped a bit on my right leg, then pushed off viciously on my left leg to get away. I
knew I would fall over. I had to. Having moved about three feet in the direction of my cane, and with most of my weight shifting
onto my right leg, I gasped, or yelped, and almost simultaneously collapsed my right leg, grasped it so tight my fingers were
white, pain be damned, and then planted my hands on the asphalt abruptly, so scraping them. In this awkward position I was
still for a few seconds. I tasted blood, and noticed it dripping onto the pavement. I’d bitten my lip. All of a sudden
adrenalin faded and pain set in, like a freight train. Rush.
Oh, God. My ears rang, and I saw stars. I collapsed my arms with my leg still partially folded under my body. Oh. Oh.
I could hardly think. After a few seconds my vision cleared, and I was coherent enough to think ‘Class A textbook shitty
Another wave swept over me, and I opened my mouth and made a faint, strained sound, rolling over slightly onto my
side and curling up. Each move hurt, a lot, but I couldn’t think of anything else to do, and pretty much everything
I’d done in the last fifteen minutes had hurt, the last three minutes like a spinal tap.
I brought my left leg forward, and sort of slithered to where my cane was and grabbed it. For the last twelve seconds
or so, my parents had been watching helplessly, probably waiting for me to breathe fire on them, but now mum moved forward
to help me. I growled unintelligibly at her, before tossing the cane at my dad. (A stupid example of our stupid passion for
tit for tat. I mean, really. I think I just wanted to annoy him. I couldn’t be in a worse position at the moment, really).
He called me a damned fool, and I knew I was. My idiocy and self hate were a weight in my gut and a bad taste in
my mouth. Now Mum was over me, and I smelt her perfume as she said something, and tried to help me up, but as I put my arms
in place olfactory memory kicked in, the perfume memories rushing up, and one joining with the pain in my leg, my mouth. The
blood. A more acute pain in my leg. Sharp voices. Oxygen. Cold. Beeping machines, one louder than the others. I imagined the
dull thump of a defibrillator-
Don’t think about it-
My ears rushed, and after gagging and spasming for approximately three seconds I absolutely sicked my guts out all
around me, only avoiding myself because I collapsed forward again.
After a few seconds mum asked me to help, and I pushed up with diminishing strength on my left leg as they
both righted me. Guided me to the car, placed the cane in my hand. I tilted my head back, and closed my eyes just before the
pain caused be to almost throw up again. I leaned over and almost fell. I hadn’t even tried to fight them off, to yell
venomously that I was FINE, dammit. Didn’t try to hide it, either. A bit late for that, Dorothy.
I didn’t need Dad to tell me I was a fool. I knew. I knew already. Without a word mum passed me a bottle of
water, and I drank from it, rinsed my mouth, drank again. Don’t want to starve those kidneys of water.
When I was sure I wasn’t going to vomit I hopped in the car. In the back. One look at my face, and mum hopped
in the front, next to dad driving. A manual. Definitely beyond me at the moment. Gears screaming as we sped off.
While we were moving I braced myself. Grit my teeth and picked at the gravel in my palms on straight stretches.
Welcome to you-fucked-upsville. Population: you.
I could almost see myself in my parent’s prolonged reaction
to the injury. Oh God, he’s hurt. Oh No, it hurts. Fuss over Gregg. Gregg will be fine. I am angry at Gregg. It’s
not so much to worry about, Gregg, only a bum stiff leg and pain. Jeez, you should see that guy who had to cut off of his
I think I’m having a bad night. Must not ring James, I’ll only complain about how bad the pain is
and how he should shoot me and feel like an idiot in the morning.
The wheatbag is cold, but I can still smell the lavender
those things always have in them. Tomorrow I’ll call dad at work. Long distance call expenses are down, anyway. No harm
in giving ‘em a boost.
Will they be home? I know dad has golf, and mum bridge club sometime this week…
I think about getting up from the couch, but I’m too comfortable.
Ahh. John Lee Hooker is singing in the background.
(War is over) Goodbye California.
Then I doze off for a bit, as far as I can tell, having indulged… in what, I don’t know.