Friday, February 11, 2011


With sleeping pills in one hand Alice deliberated whether control of her mind could ever be possible. An overdose at eight in the morning? Where is the control in that. Some people take their lives because they no longer feel, because if they are living dead then there is no point. She was the opposite. Every feeling was extreme. When she went down, she no longer knew how to get back up again. Deciding against the pills she escaped into Joy Division (the same record she envisioned playing in the background at the moment of her death). Extreme happiness and sadness at the same time, can that exist? She felt it once at her grandma’s funeral. With extreme pain there could only be extreme laughter for without it there was only insanity and that was never an option. So at the funeral she chose to laugh, maybe at the depressing realisation of her loss and establishment of the gain (she knew that there was no more of her childhood left to hold onto). Entering into adulthood was not the responsibility she desired. She wanted the distorted innocence and the moments with her grandparents. There were never lights on in her parents’ household, memories stood as fragmented silhouettes. The floral wallpaper (which she would usually find tragically dull) still illuminated off the walls in the kitchen where her grandma would poach her eggs. The sound of Mozart echoed in her mind. She would always argue with her grandfather over his eclectic taste and wished for the chance to go back and appreciate it with him. The excitement of collecting tacks in the work shed waiting for his approval. It was always about approval when it concerned men. With her father especially, every action was done with an ulterior motive hoping for him to be proud. Is this why she found comfort in relationships with females? They only ever expected self approval, and anyone can fake that.
And she’s clinging to the nearest passer-by. She attempted to focus on the advice Phil had given her yesterday while she was scanning self help books in the local library. ‘You’re always resorting to the negative. Not everything has a bad side. Not everyone is out to get you. How about tomorrow you try to look at everything from a positive angle’. Walked upon the edge of no escape. How could anyone find hope when Curtis himself couldn’t hold on? Switching over to Daft Punk she told herself that she was fantastic, today will be fantastic, and tonight will be fantastic. Repeating it to herself she picked up her keys, purse and phone, turned off the lights and stereo and locked the door behind her. She would be on time to therapy, starting fresh, beginning her life from now.

As Alice approached the freeway turn off the daily dilemma began. “You are fantastic, you are fantastic”, she repeated to herself. Her positive mood told her she could beat the freeway today, that she was in total control, that if she took the back streets she was a failure to herself and her psychologist. Once her decision was made up it was too late to turn back. NO STOPPING ON FREEWAY. It had control; the road had control over her. Cars were looming in on her, what was that word she was meant to remember? Focus on the sounds around you, on your arm hairs. Mindfulness?  Feel the texture of the steering wheel. As her hands started to clam up she unwound the window and tried to change the music. Just like her first attack, the same spot, she knew it would creep up just about now. Back then her relationship was a mess, falling apart from every direction. In it she lost everything she prided herself on and became an abused young child again. They established that, together in therapy, leaving the relationship ended the attacks. Her head started to pound; the cars in front blurred as she tried to read their licence plates and make words from the initials. “LLL, Little Lady Lazarus”. Realising her lungs were being grabbed by some higher force threatening to take her life away she focused on her breathing. As the dizziness crept in she lowered her speed to forty, then twenty holding on for the next turn off. She looked into her rear view mirror at the blue Holden tailgating her and tried to signal to the driver that she was sorry. His horn blared.

“Fucking dickhead, what the hell are you doing?” Mark screamed at the car in front of him. What kind of fool sits on twenty in a hundred zone? Spoilt kids today with mummy and daddy’s money buying hotted up cars with no worries in the world. Some people should never be given a license.  If he was late to Mary his marriage could be over, it was his last ‘get out of jail’ card. I wasted my time when I would try, try, try. When they first started dating he remembered her telling him that lateness was a sign of disrespect, and also that he didn’t care enough about her to be on time. Of course back during the honeymoon period he would have done anything for her. Despite the unrealistic expectations during the first six months, he would have given her everything she asked. There was still debt to his name. She always looked so ravishing which gave her a certain power he had no control over. On their second date he turned up with gerberas (he remembered overhearing one of her conversations about how beautiful gerberas were) and she answered the door in a long floral dress, wearing her beauty so subtlety that anyone who opened their eyes and really looked at her could not help but be drawn into it. That time contained the best moments of his life; together they were Johnny and June. No one told him wedding vows would change it all. That her glamour would be traded in for washed out tracksuit pants and daytime television, and sex (on the rare occasion of it occurring) would be a forced orgasm and a monotone television program running in the background. Now he wondered where the good goes. It can’t just disappear into nothing. How did romance transcend into such monotonous ‘dirty realism’? He knew that he could make it to their camping weekend on time if he took the tollway and the traffic was good to him. Gazing out his window his focus turned to a raindrop finding its way on the windscreen. Great, bad weather must be a sign for a dreary weekend, he thought.

Alice wiped the water from her cheek and looked up at the dark clouds mastering over the sun. Entering the door she was confronted by Janine who as always had not one hair out of place and looked ten years younger than she seemed (wisdom like hers could only come from a woman over 60).  “Tea, coffee, water?” Alice never accepted the offer and wondered if Janine noticed. That was the problem with therapy, how could she really be herself when every move, every glance was being studied. If she looked her in the eye she couldn’t say what she really felt, if she didn’t look her in the eye she was keeping a dark secret or had some mental illness that only shrinks knew about. Maybe if the therapist recorded the patient in the waiting room they could study their subconscious reactions. For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge. Therapy always resulted in strange constructions (she would usually bite her nails constantly though on Janine’s couch she made a conscious effort to leave them alone). “How are you?” asked Janine. How should she respond to this? There was the attack this morning which is occurring again on a daily basis, when I walk under a bridge I am convinced the train is going to fall off and tumble onto me, I keep pushing Tori away even though she is the only thing that makes me smile, and I still haven’t completed any of the essays due weeks ago. “Yeah good”. Should she ask Janine how she is for it was so self involved to ramble on and on in a world where people are dying every second and who knows what troubles were going on in Janine’s life. “How are you?” she queried. Janine smiled at her.  “I’m great, have we made any progress from what we discussed last week?” Alice tried to focus on last week; she was meant to hand her essays in and normalise her sleeping habits. The rain was so loud outside. When did it become so heavy? She had looked at the essay questions but the words kept blurring, the same way they used to when she first spiralled down the rabbit hole. The rain continued to cloud over in her mind and drain all focus from her session. Janine was expecting an answer. “Shit it’s pouring outside, I’m glad I don’t have any plans for this weekend”.

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