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Feb 27

Three a.m., St. Michael's Ward

Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009 in Arty Farty, Poems and things

I remember the Juggernaut.  I remember the blinding lights and the windscreen and the rain droplets that suddenly morphed into a million tiny pieces of glass… and the fire.   I remember the furious heat most of all.   Burning hair.  My poor car!  I wonder what it looks like now.

I don’t remember how I became so lucid!  There was nothing in between, no tunnels or white lights and definitely no Grandmother welcoming me into her open arms as I expected.  Those people must be starved of answers for that is not what death is like.  Unless… am I dead?  Maybe I’m not.  I feel a sudden want to be a wet dog at the beach, to send a flurry of shakes throughout my body and furiously flick away whatever is causing this fuzzy strangeness but I can’t, and instead it clogs my mind so that I can’t think straight.

Slap slap slap… my bare feet on linoleum… I’m walking through a corridor that smells of uric acid and tumble-dried cotton, a corridor that could use an open window to breeze away the heavy stuffy fug that amplifies the muffled sounds of swishing ventilators.  It’s oppressive.  The fact that I can feel that is good, right?  I’m so confused.  A nurse passes me and shivers.  She won’t look at me and I don’t want to talk to her, she has work to do and I seem to have no urgent agenda right now, anyway.  A buzzing exit sign that I have no interest in whatsoever passes me by.

A baby screams.

“200.  CLEAR!”

Where is that child?  It’s urgent cries tear through me.  It  makes me flinch and I yearn to pick it up and have it feel the warmth of my neck, I need to stop it from herniating itself, such violent cries should not be left untended… what the hell is wrong with that infant?   I pass doorways, dark rooms that seem like capsules of immune silence.  Sleeping souls oblivious to the suffering outside their rooms snore gently and beep contentedly.  The screaming gets louder as I find the room I’m searching for.

“300.  CLEAR!”

It’s empty.  I can’t believe this room is empty save for this poor child.  His blanket has tied itself in knots around his kicking ankles, his pillow sodden, its whiteness paling so bleakly against the furious redness of the small child’s cheeks.  As I reach toward him, I feel the change.  I feel the needle entering my arm and it’s so wonderfully exhilarating.  Beautiful and uncontrollable ecstasy rules my functions and I collapse into a nearby chair and my stomach distends but I care not a jot for the unborn child.  I feel like I’m dying all over again, but this is a living death, a torture of unheardof proportions.

“500.  CLEAR!”

A jolt of clarity awakens me and I sit up, the child is still there in front of me and still crying and I am infuriated with my lack of willpower to stay with it and so I stand with sudden urgency.  I reach out and touch the child whose skin is burning and itching from a rash of foreign cause and I feel its deep loneliness and needing.  I know now that there’s no mommy, that mommy has gone away, mommy was never there in the first place.  The baby’s need is so urgent that I can feel it too, tears trickle down my cheeks as I grab the child with sudden urgency and squeeze it tight to my breast.  It’s ok now.  Every little thing’s gonna be alright.  Shush now.  Shushhh.

“700.  CLEAR!”

I feel the end.  My feet no longer touch the linoleum beneath as my weight shifts and a great racking breath leaves my soul, I’m plunged into newness and I care no longer for my car.

“Let it go… she’s gone.  Time of death, three fourteen a.m.”

The baby’s cries stop in a sudden vaccuum of inevitability and a peace falls upon its tortured soul, the heroin addiction no longer there.  It relaxes its clenched wrists and notices the lights above the door to its room and it gurgles with pleasure.  The baby sleeps, and wakes to a whole new dawn.


(Image from – best Photo Blog, Irish Blog Awards ’09)

Bring on the comments

  1. ribbon says:

    Your blog is beautiful…

    best wishes Ribbon :-)

  2. K8 says:

    Welcome Ribbon! Thanks for saying ‘beautiful’ and not ‘messed up’ :)

  3. unstranger says:

    Excellent writing, must check in more often. You should write the book:)

  4. Maxi Cane says:

    Another great post.

    Everytime I read your blog I feel like putting mine to end.
    Stop writing such great stuff.

  5. K8 says:

    Unstranger; Thanks!! It’s hard to think of an idea to compete with all the pulp fiction out there though. No such thing as an original idea, they say. I’d well believe it.

    Maxi Cane; No no! Sure if I thought that way I’d have ended this blog ages ago. Diversity makes the world go ’round. Besides, I need my dose of daily filth!

  6. Kirk M says:

    Just sitting here thinking (feeling?) about that one.

  7. Brilliant story as usual, K8. :)

  8. Holemaster says:

    Such great writing K8. Always a pleasure.

  9. K8 says:

    It’s a bit feckin’ weird though isn’t it? Inder the Unfluence of Vodka, things get a little bit strange on this blog.

  10. I write something weird and overly personal every time I drink Scotch. Scotch is not allowed in my house anymore! :)

  11. K8 says:

    It’s the other people that can’t handle the scotch, not you ;)

  12. Quickroute says:

    Great post! you must be great at making up tall tales to entertain the kids too!

  13. Nick says:

    A very mysterious story. There are several bits I don’t understand. Maybe that’s intentional. Intriguing anyway, and wonderfully written. It leaves me with a poignant image of loneliness and relief from loneliness.

  14. Granny says:

    What happened after? Was there a husband and kiddies left behind, a Mother wild with grief? Always a good story when the reader needs to know more! Well done you….

  15. unstranger says:

    K8, Granny put it succinctly, the reader needs more!

  16. K8 says:

    Nick; Thanks for your honesty – it’s a story to get the experiences of the baby ward in Temple street out of my head… even though it was 8 years ago, I’ll never forget living in that place. I really have the greatest of respect for the staff there, it’s an amazing but often devastating place.

    Mammy and Unstranger; No the girl was young with no dependants, and the baby grew up to win the Young Scientist’s exhibition, then a Nobel prize for figuring out a way to turn carbon dioxide into alcohol. Nobody grieved, except the girl’s driving instructor.

    GrowUp; Love the Bill Bailey! I’d like to try four legs next time round… a Komodo Dragon maybe.

  17. Jack McMad says:

    Excellent piece and beautifully written K8. I love the heroin reference at the end. They say that upon death the body secretes it’s own natural form of heroin giving some people that euphoric, somebody’s coming to collect me, white tunnel golden gate feeling.

  18. I do like your writing. Somehow it asks as many questions as it answers.

    See, you’re making me all weird too now…


  19. emordino says:

    Cracking stuff altogether.

  20. warrior says:

    Don’t stop but………..what the fu#k that is way heavy. I don’t know if you are writing fiction or fact or fict or faction but your writing is amazing, the story……has blown me upside

  21. K8 says:

    Jack McMad; I didn’t know that! Nature can have its blessings at times.

    English Mum; In the words of Axl Rose, ‘better weird than dead’. Can’t get much weirder than him!

    Thanks Emordino :)

    Warrior; Yeah it is a bit strange, it’s the release of fact through fiction I suppose. Trapped memories that needed form I suppose. Also I like to appeal to people’s fears of car crashes and hospitals because I’m a bitch that way.

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