Day 42

Written 29 April, 2020



Late yesterday, we took the  boat down to Brooklyn, for petrol for the generator, and meds for GG’s sore eye. We told Dy, and did he want us to take his garbage? There’s no garbage collection here, so we burn paper in the pot belly, compost all fruit and veggie scraps except onions and citrus, and hump the rest in big black bags to the boatyard garbage bins. Dy asked if we’d get him beer, mayonnaise, tomato sauce and plus 2 reading glasses. He gave us his credit card to tap, to my quiet joy, for it means we’re friends..

But I’d put off leaving too long, just to write one more paragraph in my rejected novel – I’m quite enjoying making myself seem charming, and I realise the reader was right, my self-hatred was glowering through, (it’s hospital-strength, my self-hatred, as I heard comedian Anne Edmonson say)which is a no-no for a heroine even if she’s me- so it was already 4pm when we left, waving K and Dy goodbye, she upstairs on the deck, and he burning off lantana outside his house. We had to drop lettuce and spinach seedlings for my therapist off at the Bar Point public wharf, and how pleasant it looked there, a community out for an afternoon stroll and greeting each other as if they were in Italy having a passagiata- Italy in the old days, I thought sadly, What good things Italy has taught us about being together.

But my delay meant our return began at 5.45, already dark, with only our weak nav lights and no headlights allowed.  The moon sailed along with us lighting our path until we turned into the mouth of our bay, when suddenly all turned black black black.I hung out the prow again like the evil eye on the boats of ancient Greece, and the bare-breasted figurines on  on the galleons of the 16th century, except I was rugged up in a hoodie, shining our powerful boat torch on the shore to help GG, but he was groaning quietly with each out-breath. We got to our pontoon and he slid us skilfully against our pontoon, but after that, he went to pieces with exhaustion, grabbing shopping bags when our protocol is to leave them on the boat overnight so the virus dies on them. I told him to just walk up the steps to the upper house and he plodded wearily along the jetty, his back so twisted in pain so that from behind, he was almost a V.


I followed, but he’d already begun unpacking his bag, while gulping a whisky, his adams’ apple distending greedily.

“Washed your hands?”

He’d forgotten. I shouted at him and so did K,- “What did he think was happening in the world?”and he slank into the bathroom, tail between his legs, and while he mumbled Happy Birthday twice, protestingly enough to suddenly amuse us, I poured his whisky into a clean glass,  washed the first one, and soaped down the packages. K had foraged and felt she’d achieved a triumph in feeding herself but felt too exhausted to cook for us. I sighed, swallowed my resentment, foraged also at the back of the fridge chicken soup from two days ago, warmed it up with yesterday’s rice, opened a can of coconut milk and plonked half in, grabbed a handful of thyme and chives from pots on the deck,  and it seemed like a home-delivered take away from mid-level restaurant,maybe  two stars.

One Response to Day 42

  1. Hospital strength self-hatred; I like that. I find myself aligning with Beth in these times, a time for reflection, be them scrappy and sporadic bursts in-between the chaos of school work, but I’ll take what I can get!
    I think I had a break through a few days ago on the matter of self-esteem. A bit of a buzz word these days, something I’ve never really stopped to actually consider what it means to me. Like you Sue, I’m a sufferer of much self-inflicted torment – so much so that some of my delightful companions have taken it upon themselves to ask me during certain episodes: “…Why are you being so mean to my friend Sophie?”. Imagine if we reversed the idea of treating others as we would like to be treated – instead inviting us to treat ourselves how we would treat others, (I cannot claim credit for this idea, but I really like it…and really struggle to practice it).

    I had a very strange dream last night – not unusual for me, I’ve had nightmares and odd dreams since I can remember dreaming… the very first nightmare I ever had was about a crocodile that lived under the cubby house in my backyard and ate my mum! We found a bundle of her clothes and new that the crocodile had gotten her; this was very distressing for a five-year-old… but there was a twist, my mum had ACTUALLY not been eaten by the croc, instead she lay out her clothes and faked her own death to escape our family! I think this ending is more distressing to consider at a twenty-four-year-old.

    My dream last night featured two of my greatest concerns at the moment: my major work script…and J. In true Sophie nightmare fashion, the dream was highly disturbing and graphic… I’ve never known what exactly the nature of my dreams reflect about me: a wild imagination, over-sensitivity, fear, a kid that can’t get over monsters, all of the above is my guess. I digress.

    I was asleep in my parent’s bed in one of the many houses we lived in. Why was I sleeping in my parent’s bed? Where were they? I’m not sure. Those logistical questions aren’t important in dreams. As a kid, I struggled to sleep alone and I struggled to sleep at all – when given the opportunity (usually when my dad would leave on business trips) I’d drag a mattress onto the floor of their room – they wouldn’t know, they were sound asleep; I’d wait patiently for hours until I could be certain that they’d drifted off, and then like a perfectly choreographed stunt, I’d sneak my way into their room, pull down the spare mattress, a pillow, Springy, maybe a blanket if I dared risk the noise and then finally, I’d drift off into my nightmares. Waking up from a nightmare knowing someone is there makes the nightmare bearable – waking up alone, frozen, unsure if you’re still trapped within that world is different. I think sleeping on my parent’s floor – much to my dad’s horror when he’d find me crawled up in a ball, Springy tucked underneath my arm – was a coping mechanism; it didn’t cure the nightmares, but it made them a little easier to bare. I’ve digressed again!

    My dream last night: I was asleep in my parent’s bed, I woke, startled, the cupboard door had been pushed open and a pile of clothes fell to the ground; the clothes started to move, I was frozen in the bed. What was this creature? I mustered the courage to pull the clothes away and there was a rat (I should mention my major work is about a rat). We starred at each other, that Rat and I, then it scuttled under the bed which I was frozen to. I discovered a family of rats under the bed, two adults and a baby rat. I screamed out in fear for J (my actor brother in New York, remember, reading Harry Potter every day on Instagram to an audience of my mum here in the living room) – I was terrified and not sure what to do about the family of rats, and J sprinted to my rescue. We didn’t know what to do! Did Mum and Dad know there were rats under their bed? And then something horrific happened; J stomped with all his might the mother rat into the carpet. He stomped and stomped and stomped the rat right on its head. I don’t want to go into graphic detail. J thought he was doing the right thing, protecting me, but I was horrified. After sometime he finished stomping and there was quiet, we were both in shock, more quiet and then, the baby rat crawled out from under the bed and looked what his mother had become.

    It’s funny as I’m writing this, I’m pulling together the similarities and connections between this dream and my crocodile one … a kid, a mum, a graphic and brutal incident – a sense of misery and grief. How interesting. I’m hungry, time for breakfast. Where was I going with all of this? Oh yes, Sue, do you have obscure dreams? Do you think hospital strength self-hatred is a key ingredient. Are you a big kid who could never get over monsters like me? B, what about you?

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