Saturday, 17 January 2009 - 4:19 pm

Dead rats and flaming birds

It feels like we’re in limbo now.  A grey-walled, dim-lit limbo with chocolate and caffeinated beverages we’re sucking down at a great rate.

The injured are being tended, and Nugget seems to be losing that awful pallor.  The food might be the reason for that.  The little one is so thin that she seems to be made of bone and air.

The doctor’s visit seems to have achieved nothing.  He didn’t do anything we hadn’t already been doing, and all he told us was what we already knew, or had been hoping was true.

He allayed fears, I suppose. I won’t worry about my arm so much any more; I can feel the lack of that crawling, nibbling rat in my abdomen.  The rat has lots of friends still there, but that one is gone.  It’ll heal in a few weeks.  It’ll be okay.

So maybe he was of some use after all.


Thorpe asked me why I didn’t get the doctor to look at my back, and I just stared at him.  I had no idea what he was talking about at first.  When I realised that I still had the scraps of a dressing taped on it, I laughed.

I think it’s the first time in a long time that I was honestly amused.  Really laughing, without any hysteria or the threat of tears.  Of course, Thorpe didn’t take it well; his face closed down like a trap even as I tried to explain.  It didn’t help that I saw that Ben was watching us and smiling; he knew why it was funny.  He asked me about it once, forever ago.

I had forgotten about the tattoo again.  So much has happened that I hadn’t even felt it being taut, or painful, though sometimes it itched.  Now it’s healed and doesn’t bother me at all.

Thorpe didn’t find it funny.  I think he thought I was laughing at him.  He stormed off and I felt a little bit guilty.  Sometimes he’s so touchy.

I asked Ben to take the dressing off for me.  It was so good to feel the air on my skin.  It’s funny that sometimes you don’t realise how much you’ve missed something until you get it back again.  He said that it looks good, that the design hasn’t been damaged despite all the abuse of the past few weeks.

It’s something.  It’s something that this whole mess hasn’t ruined.  I can’t see it without a mirror, of course, but I know it’s there.  Maybe I’ll go find a bathroom and take a look, see this fire bird rising for myself.

For some reason, I feel lighter.