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The Poet drinks beer

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm

It was barely four o’clock when she left the doctor’s room. She stood for a moment, wondering what to do, because it seemed she should do something.

There was the river of course, but the kids would be down there by now and she would have to sit pretending she didn’t see the cigarettes hidden behind their backs, she couldn’t hear the flirting and wasn’t bothered by their loud and awkward laughs.

The coffee shop would be okay, but Stella would have a whole day’s gossip she needed to download.

Which only left the pub. The pub was better than you might have thought at four o’clock. No one was in for after work drinks, the juke box hadn’t started, the pool table was empty. If she took the folder of tests and spread them out on the table around her, the rusted on blokes at the bar would ignore her.

She wouldn’t actually mark the tests of course, but she could look down at them every now and then and then stare thoughtfully into space.

‘Usual?’ Pete asked her, but she shook her head and ordered gin and tonic. ‘Double,’ she added as she watched him measure the shots.

There was someone sitting at the table she had planned to use. The one in the corner, but still with a view of the river. A man in a pin striped suit and a buttoned up shirt, but he wasn’t wearing a tie. His long hair was tied back in a pony tail and both of his ears were pierced.  A tower of glasses, each of them empty but marked with traces of beer froth, rested right at the edge of the table.

If I knocked the table, Adele thought, those glasses would fall. Such thoughts, once thought, are impossible to ignore.

‘Are you The Poet?’ she asked and she got the accents right. Interested, but not curious.

‘Yes,’ he said and when he looked up at her and into her eyes, his face softened and moved, but he did not smile.

doctor’s visit

In Uncategorized on May 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm

The doctor’s mobile is on the doctor’s table. When its light fades, when it powers down, the doctor reaches for it, presses a button and lets out her breath when the screen lights up again.

‘I’m sorry to be so distracted,’ she said. ‘But The Poet’s in town again.’

Adele thinks, but does not have the courage to say, ‘Is that supposed to be refreshing honesty?’

‘He gets lost,’ the doctor said. ‘He gets lost and then he rings.’ She looked at the phone again. ‘I have to answer him. If I don’t answer straight away he does drastic things. You’d be surprised how quickly he moves.’ She looked at Adele and smiled. ‘For a poet.’

They had covered the basics. In between one faded screen and the next, Adele had got most of it out and the doctor seemed to have taken it in nodding where you’d expect her to nod and asking the questions you’d think she should ask. Age. Weight. Occupation. Any previous pregnancies.

‘I know it’s an unconventional approach.’ Adele apologised for herself although it was not something she had intended to do. She had practiced defensive and matter-of-fact, expecting to need them at some time, but not apologetic. ‘It’s not how I saw things happening. It’s not what I would have planned.’

The screen had faded again, but the doctor did not light it.

‘Unconventional?’ The doctor left a silence, but Adele did not think it was one she should fill. ‘Uncommon perhaps, but it’s hard to be unconventional. Harder than ever before.’

The doctor tapped her fingers one by one on the table, her fingernails leaving a rhythm behind. ‘Tests,’ she said. ‘We’ll get some tests. Ultrasound and blood work and then we’ll think about referrals.’

The phone started to vibrate, the doctor grabbed it. ‘It’s not him,’ she said. She pressed a button, the phone stopped its humming vibrations. ‘I won’t be so distracted next time you come,’ the doctor said. ‘The Poet is leaving tomorrow.’

the morning of the day

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Varvara wanted only one thing from the day, but it was more than she had ever wanted from any other.

She forced herself, as she moved from her bed to the bathroom and into the shower, to take the deep and centering breaths everyone talked about these days. Stay in the moment, she told herself. Not long now. She stared at herself in the mirror, but not for too long. The time for such things had gone.

She heard Brenton leaving the bed, he would be in the ensuite soon. She hung the towel.

‘Good morning,’ she said as she left the room. It meant nothing that he didn’t reply.

She flicked on lights, made toast, boiled the kettle, fed the bloody dog.

She yelled when they hadn’t had breakfast and she sighed when they still weren’t dressed. She said, of the dishwasher which had to be emptied, ‘I don’t care who did it yesterday, I want you to do it today.’

Varvara dressed herself in expectation of a day gone right. The black jeans with deep, safe pockets, the red boots with just enough heel, the silver ring from Tiffany’s. The story of why she left the earings behind is one for another day.

She would carry an umbrella, not so much for the rain, more for something to do with her hands. She would need things to do with her hands.

Half past seven, eight o’clock. Time was passing, but it would be hours until she would know.

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