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Columns and Reflections

Ink Like Blood

from Totally Fushed, Christmas 2000 / The Wine Dark Sea, 2001

I look over at the door opposite me – a symbol of free air beyond; unlike the trapped, sterilised place where I write. Danny, a massive blob of nine-year-old Kerryness in the bed beside me, asks if I like school. Normally I’d say no; right now, I’m thinking yes. I go for the compromise, ‘Ah, it’s not too bad.’ Any place is better. The medical straps from three machines attached to me are like chains in a prison. The physical pain from the needle in my arm is like a metaphor for a deeper tear in my emotions. Meanwhile, Tracy Chapman whispers in my ear that I can die now, my true love won’t come for me. Oh, no.  There are those with nothing, but for once can’t I be selfish? The ink flowing is like blood. Mine. My life on paper. Someone else’s blood flowing into me.

The bedroom curtains catch my eye. The patterns represent a happiness, security that no one could ever feel in this place. Danny throws his considerable weight onto his green-clothed bed. Ooh, they must have felt that tremor in Japan. When the nurse tells him it’s time for his injection, he wonders if it’s the injection with the needle. Must be true what they say about the Kingdom.

At least my life is consistent. I was born in a hospital; for seven years hospital has been part of my existence; and it’s likely to be part of my early death. You want pain to be yours alone, but it’s reached every soul. Danny goes out to the playground in his purple pyjamas to kick a football.

Whatever you’re into.


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