22 Chapters
Medium 9781782202738

Fourteen

Adams, Marie Karnac Books ePub

Returning home after seeing Dorothy, I was still unsettled, despite having seen five more clients that day, all of whom seemed to appreciate my presence, particularly Lucy, who was fierce in her newfound insight concerning perfection. I was on comfortable, familiar ground there, and could honestly say that we were working well together.

That evening Frank and I had a barbecue on the patio, where I was always careful to keep my voice down because of the neighbours, particularly when speaking about my work. I told him something about my difficult session with Dorothy, without mentioning her name or revealing any of the details: that I found her a difficult patient and was relieved that she might be leaving to live abroad. I didn't admit to my raging sense of loss at the prospect of her leaving for New York, or to my intense shame at my equally powerful feelings of dislike towards her. How could I begin to describe the complexity of my feelings for this new patient, the warring conflict of emotions she provoked? Why did I still refer to her as my “new patient”, though she had long passed that stage and I had taken on at least three people since first seeing her in March?

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782202738

Nine

Adams, Marie Karnac Books ePub

The self-help books only deepened my bad mood. I shuffled though my pile. I couldn't bear to sit down and read through any of them completely. I hated the language they used, continually encouraging the reader to share, or forgive, or to move on, and they were particularly fond of closure. The notion of “controlling your feelings” was particularly distasteful, with the implication that personal salvation is a disciplinary issue, like giving up drink or drugs. It was the simplicity of it all I so disliked.

I could rant to myself all I wanted, but whenever I sat down to write on the computer my ideas inevitably dissolved into irretrievable particles.

Are you someone who wants a quick fix, are you someone who imagines there is a short and easy answer to everything, and there is a snake oil salesman somewhere who really will have the solution.

Scribbled by hand in another feeble attempt to begin, Addiction and self-medication are a defence against pain. Are you addicted to self-help books, imagining that they can provide a solution to whatever ails you?

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782202738

Sixteen

Adams, Marie Karnac Books ePub

Up and over the bridge, Tom swung his truck like an anchor into safer territory heading straight for the hotel's underground parking lot, a dusty tomb if there ever was one. I bumped downwards along the circular concourse, edging my car away from the wall to avoid scratching my bumper. Why submit to such a low level existence when there were rows of empty spaces above ground? But this is the prairie way, the habit of a lifetime ensuring your vehicle, so often the casualty of weather, is kept safe from harm: the beat of the summer sun, or the corrosive effect of a winter climate harsher than any on earth. Down below the temperature is ambient, gently cool in summer, warm in winter.

Pulling into a spot beside Tom, I pinched the top of my nose. The walls were a concrete grey and the floor like parched earth, the smell of soot in the air. There were other tomb raiders down here, an old Lincoln Continental and a more recent Volvo, both cars an expression of pride and success. Tom was already peeling back the shiny black canvas at the rear of his truck. Pulling out an overnight case—my brother always travels light—he placed it on the ground, displacing a little puff of dirt. Without a word he walked to the side of the truck, stretched a little further into the cargo section, yanked at a cardboard box that was tucked behind the spare wheel bed, tied securely with a bungee rope and looped through a handle at the back of the cab. He flipped the cord loose and the hook clanged like a gunshot against the metal floor of the truck.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782202738

Eighteen

Adams, Marie Karnac Books ePub

My mother's room was hot, even with the blinds closed. It simmered with the heat of Tom's anger and I was dazed, like a blind person touching the surface of things—the walls, the door frame, the back of the chair—finding my way through the maze of forgotten territory.

On tiptoes, we took our seats either side of the bed. Rather than one another, we stared at my mother, willing her to rise up and face us. The seduction of hope over experience. Through the bellows of her open mouth she circulated tiny chunks of air. Sandpaper back and forth, in and out, barely grazing her lungs. Once her eyes popped open startling us both, yet nothing registered within that glassy, demonic stare. Her eyelids fluttered and closed, fluttered and closed and then dropped completely. We did not exist.

A refreshing breeze swept through the room as a nurse entered. Tom and I both raised our heads and laughed, grateful for the diversion. The nurse looked from Tom to me and then back again, smiled and carried on. She'd seen it all before. Gently she lifted my mother's head to fluff the pillow before tucking in a sheet corner. From her pocket she extracted a pair of blue rubber gloves. “How is she?” without taking her eyes off my mother.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782202738

Four

Adams, Marie Karnac Books ePub

April Fool's Day again. I took an extra large gulp of coffee and nearly choked, but it felt good, a sharp lift to the spirits. Frank would be up to something. He likes a practical joke. It fits his mathematical frame. A forward planner, my husband, his pranks worked out days in advance.

I sat at the kitchen table and scanned the papers for the spoof article, not always so easily spotted. One year I fell for the piece claiming the arms of Venus de Milo had been found. Two perfect limbs, dredged up by a Greek farmer ploughing his field. You can see why I am wary. I am also not fond of Sundays. The day is too loose and I like things wrapped up and determined. There is something about a Sunday that invites less formality than other days, as if lying in or doing nothing is something to be treasured, while I find the notion of so much reflective space anathema and far too disquieting. Luckily, I usually have deadlines to meet, though I never seem to accomplish quite as much as I intend to and, like many other working people looking over the tip of the weekend into the prospect of Monday, I suffer an element of pressure. A new week is about to begin, another clean slate to be filled with creativity and meaning, and the avoidance of failure. Failure is invariably accompanied by paralysing feelings of shame, or at least with me it is. No wonder I work so hard.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters