Small hands

orangesShe was eating the skin around her finger. The TV in the waiting room was reporting a New Year’s rape that took place in Sydney. New Year’s was seven hours ago in Australia.

As a kid she used to think that people in Australia were in the future and one had to travel through different dimensions to reach that future. The idea of being behind made growing up a lot harder.

The girl that got raped was a 24-year old student, who was on her way to the harbor to meet her friends. Though she never got there and was found bruised and unconscious behind a fast food restaurant. No sperm was found in her vagina or nearby. She didn’t even remember the man, who had approached her. There was merely an intense sensation of being smothered. Doctors had analyzed the marks on her neck and thighs and figured that whoever had attacked her must have had small hands – only if there had been a potential attack. The whole world was speculating.

The nurse called her name and she followed her to have her blood pressure checked. Then the nurse escorted her into the doctor’s office where she sat for the next ten minutes.

Going to the doctor’s had always been a pleasure. Ever since she was a kid she was curious to find out what was the matter with her.  One time many years ago she ran to her local doctor without an appointment and claimed she had an asthma attack. It took her three visits to understand that panic attack was a name for shortness of breath and rejection of reality. Something in her mind would distort her vision and create scary men with butcher knives or crazy mums with hairbrushes made of metal spikes. If strong enough she could control them, if not, they would control her.

This, she never told the doctor.

Her doctor enters the office with a smile. He was tall and fit and married; his hazel eyes resembling driftwood in a Corot painting.

“How are you feeling today?” he asked

She nodded OK.

He scanned her face thoughtfully as though recollecting his memories about something.

“Does the medication that I prescribed you help?”

“Yes, thank you, but that’s not why I am here.”

“Ah, yes, pap test results…”

He scrolled down his mouse, narrowing his eyes as he read the details about her medical history. For some reason she believed he was looking at everything but the Pap test. She began tapping her foot on the floor.

“OK…”

She stopped tapping.

“There are some slight abnormalities in your cells…”

“That means…?”

“It’s nothing to worry about. It could just be temporary. Come back for another pap in six months and we’ll check again.”

He began typing into her history section, as if recording the progress or non-progress of a lab rat. He suddenly paused to think.

“Anything unusual during your period?”

She shook her head.

“OK. We’ll send you a reminder to make an appointment in six months.”

She nodded as she rose from her chair.

“Oh, on another note…” he said while throwing his glance back at his monitor.

“How far are you with your other medication?”

Her hand dug inside her handbag where she found the container of capsules almost instantly. Shaking it in front of his face, she snapped the lid open too quickly and the capsules fall all over the place.

“Shit,” she said.

“That’s a lot capsules,” he said, staring at the mess.

They reminded her of little minions without the suspenders. She knelt down to pick up the bits of her dignity.

“Hey, hey, no, wait…” he said as he turned back to his monitor, searching for prescriptions. “Here’s a new one. Please. Take them.”

Her hands were shaking, as he passed the paper to her. Before he looked her in the eye, she grabbed it and turned to open the door.

Outside the medical center she was gasping deeply for air, as if she had been under water all this time without oxygen. She heard the waves in her mid ear and felt the water splashing against her back as she reached the shore.

After picking up her medication, she headed down High Street with slow steps. It dawned on her that it was six hours before midnight. People in Australia were probably waking up to a new dawn now, while she was still in the past crushed in between a dozen of minions. She swallowed one without water and then put her earphones in as she continued walking.

Several groups of dressed up people were strolling down towards the square, while some disappeared in bars on the way. Sunset was over an hour ago. The vision of the beach had made her think it was still daytime, which it was, in a way.

She swallowed two minions.

Friends and families were having dinner in fine restaurants. The movements of their heads and arms looked so mechanical. As she looked on her phone she noticed ten miscalls and several text messages. She skimmed through them and noticed one saying, “Where are you?” without checking any names. The last thing she knew she dropped her phone somewhere on quicksand.

A crowd began to build near the square and she turned left into a small residential area, where the rich people live. While the music was smoothening out the stubborn creases in her mind she took another two minions and her feet led her to the backyard of some private property. She found a swing to sit on. There was music in her entire body. The bass was pumping in her chest. The guitar was tingling the surface of her brain. The smooth voice was patting her between her eyeballs.

She slipped her right hand between her legs and the sky approached her. She wondered for how long she had been on the swing and whether she had been breathing all this time. During her inhale the sound of the music and her breath was in harmony like the stars were at their right places.

Her left hand crept up on her neck. The grip is firm.

The sky lights up. They must be preparing dinner in Australia.

 

by Paula Deckard (c) Dec 2014

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