I am resting, slouched, in a four-person-seat on a half-crowded train. The people surrounding me are made of paper. They are two-dimensional, crumpled, and dissolvable. As the train lurches, they swing malevolently from side to side; they glide, menacing, toward me at each corner. They leer and I cower internally, but not visibly. I watch myself and peer through my image, which is partially reflected in the train window over the bridge. Water runs through the blacks of my eyes and spills from the nape of my neck. I know someone who fell off this bridge and lived. I know someone who fell off this bridge and died. My broadcast doesn’t stutter as they leer.
At a particularly violent jolt some time before the station (I read that a train derailed near here last month), a spectre’s papery suitcase knocks my right hand and splits the pads of my outstretched fingers. Tendrils leap from the wounds. They wind excitedly towards the floor. They bind my legs to the four-person-seat. They peer upwards, but the train’s ceiling blocks the sun.
I had an appointment this morning, and had to spend some time waiting in a high ceilinged room. The room had cream-coloured walls, adorned with pictures of flowers. A water filter gurgled constantly in the room’s south-east corner. There were three other persons waiting in the room at various points. Each of our thoughts floated and wafted in the highest space of the ceiling. Each of our thoughts spread thin but refused to mingle. We had no camaraderie in the silence.
I had an image come to me as I waited. I thought about lying naked with the last person I slept with. We were spliced roses, twisted together as one. For a moment, I felt connected to the earth. Then, in a heartbeat, the two of us were propelled to the sun and dropped back to the sea like a bungee. A partially digested memory rolled inside me and I kept waiting.
I felt a twitch, and the high-ceilinged-room shifted on its axis. I flew to the south and hid amongst the unfiltered water. It was loud in my ears. I could watch my body, slouched, through the filter’s clear plastic. My hands rested numbly in my lap. The filter’s water bubbled and gave me shivers, but the shivers were not reflected by my body. I could see that my body was staying still. It waited for my name to be called.
After the appointment I walked four blocks of East Melbourne to visit Maria. Her front garden was a tornado of roses. Her back garden fell from the kitchen window. We drank tea and talked for an hour. I left and I got on this train.
Here are four things that will happen tonight: First, I will receive a call from an old friend. It’s a trick. She wants to stand on my shoulders or take my money or something. Second, I will experience elevated heart rate and untangle hair with inebriated fingers. Third, I can’t sleep. Fourth, nothing.