She had just come from the clinic from seeing the care nurse and seemed a little flustered.
Everything okay? he asked.
There was a medical student there. I said to the nurse I didn’t mind. He was neat, presentable, well spoken and was totally okay except for the fact he kept adjusting his crotch.
Perhaps he was just glad to see you.
That isn’t even remotely funny. Not these days.
Sorry, he said. I’ll be back in a minute.
Where are you going?
To the bathroom. To wash my mouth out with soap.
I go to borrow a book but the librarian takes me aside.
You take care, she says. I will, I promise. So when I get home
I remove all sharp objects, have a packet of anti-depressants
at my side and put on the Monty Python song’ Always Look
on the Bright Side of Things.’ I have beside me a poem
‘Hope is the Helium’ though modesty forbids ……. and have
the Lifeline number at the ready. I flick through the grim
chapter headings and brace myself for an ordeal.
At least there are no photographs.
- have you read any books lately that have disturbed you?
- is it permissible to make jokes — black humor — about subjects like the above?
- is there even a point — aside from morbid curiosity — in even reading such books?