I’ll write more of this tomorrow, too tired tonight EDIT 13/08/08 I know this isn’t a particularly good or interesting entry, but I wanted to start writing a story that takes place in a hospital ward (see the entry from 12/08/08 ‘Parts and Parcels’) and thought I should have some practice in writing about a medical situation. That doesn’t really excuse this weak and pointless descriptive writing exercise, but such things are what I started this blog for…

I lean backwards, my head coming to rest on a shiny, plastic pillow. Breathing deeply, I take in the surroundings; walls painted that disquieting antiseptic blue, vicious looking scalpels, hungry blades with edges so thin as to cause no pain as they slice through skin and muscle, fat and matter. The bed beneath my bare thighs is cold, but I know soon the plastic will grow sticky and humid beneath the inside of my knees.
I never know what to do with my arms. To leave them hanging over the side would look morbid, they would swing like dead rushes beneath me, but I cannot cross them over my chest, nor do I have room to hold them close to my ribs. I cannot worry about such matters; the light has been switched on over my face, and the white, surgical glow blinds me momentarily. Grey and purple motes swim in my retina, and for the first time today I feel a heavy rush of nausea, rising in my stomach like an ecstatic glow, a sickening vibration.
A few muttered words, and the mask slips over my nose and mouth. A cold, metallic taste is breathed in deeply, and I can feel it spread out around my body, down each vein, into each tiny capillary. I cannot move my consciousness away from my lungs, my chest. It’s as if I have never really known how to breathe before, have never paid the slightest bit of attention to this most basic of functions for existence. I cannot help but be strangely aware of every muscle contracting and relaxing, forever in the solid, steady rhythm I have carried my entire life. In, out.
I am told to count down from ten, and already I can feel the anaesthetic falling into me. I am nothing but a tiny pendulum in an enormous clock tower, run on a complex series of minute cogs, all turning away from each other. The tension of springs has loosened each second since my birth, gradually eroding until one day, I know, there will be no tightness, no release. The elasticity can only stretch so far before it falls, limp and lifeless as a dead polymer pulled from a tube. The pendulum was swinging furiously with clockwork adrenaline, and now it slows, each zenith is agonising in its descent, pulling my eyelids over my face like sodden blankets, like mud.
The swinging ceases, and I sleep.

About Benjamin Norris

Published writer of short stories, long stories, poems. Well received art critic and cultural commentator for Berlin magazines. Collaborator with operatic societies. Co-writer of fictional historic psycholinguistic journals. Lecturer of architecture and art history at a Budapest University. View all posts by Benjamin Norris

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