Saturday, 1 January 2011
2011 wandered in last night, sat on the couch and stared blankly forward. There was no heraldic entrance, no clink of champagne glasses, just the slight slump as it leaned back against the cushions and joined me in watching the terrible movie. I heard the fireworks outside, and wandered out to look at them, because normally I love fireworks, but I felt mostly that I should be enjoying them rather than that deep seated belly twirling excitement that usually accompanies them. And all the while 2011 slumped on the couch, snoring a little bit. And I took a deep breath, looked at it and wondered if that was it.
A little while later I crawled into bed, turned off the light, pulled up the sheet and lay there in the darkness. 2011 was still on the couch, uninterested in much, just there. Sniffling in the dark.
I woke reluctantly this morning; it was grey again and bed was cool and soft. And the pervasive ennui that 2011 had brought on his wonderings sat around me in a cloud as grey as the mist outside. I got up reluctantly. I showered reluctantly, letting the water seep into my skin. Tasting the first day of the new decade and wondering that it was exactly like the year before. Feeling my belly rumble from too much rich food in the last week and the protestations from my intestines that enough was enough. No excitement though, no dash to get up and meet the new year as I slumped on the couch next to 2011 in my jeans with my hair over my shoulders and no make up. Conversing in painful small talk as I pulled on my shoes.
I headed to work in the pervasive mist and parked the car and just sat. Waited for a few minutes before turning off the radio, pulling out the key and locking it with that smug click. Wandering up to my ward and doing my thing. Answering pages. Healing the sick. Eating the occasional lolly from the nurses station. Working hard because it passes the time, not because I had to, and looking at apartments in Paris in between the times when I couldn't even manufacture things to do.
It ticked onwards, one of those shifts that neither drags nor races. No special standouts. No miraculous hospital dramaesque episodes. Lots of fluid orders. Someone with indigesiton. Someone feeling a bit nauseated. The usual. I ate my over boiled canteen dinner (healthy but tasteless) and sat facing the stars as I clicked through Parisian lofts and waited for the flash that would tell me that this was where I'd go.
I chatted to a few friends, some in Cairns, some in Sydney, some in Melbourne. The magic of facebook pushing the hours to a close as the calls wound down in preparation for the night staff. I was vaguely unsettled, not quite grumpy, because I kept laughing at myself everytime I became so, but uncomfortable. My skin irritated from the tag on my sweater and my soul irritated by some soul sweater as well. Not letting me get comfortable, but not making me grumpy either.
And in the last 20 minutes I sighed, and wondered if this was a prophesy. A tribute to how 2011 would be. Mild and bland and insipid. Slouched on the couch and snoring, just a little bit. I leaned back in my swivel chair and swiveled from side to side. Occasionally spinning 360 degrees just for the fun of it. Dragging my toes along the carpet in a circle, a five year old with a stethoscope and a bic pen shoved in her jeans pocket.
And then, unbidden I swear I laughed out loud. It rumbled deep in my belly and tumbled out of my mouth before I could catch it. I wasn't alone, and a few people looked over to me bemused, swinging on my chair and laughing, a burst of silliness from my lips as the sky outside exploded. I can't tell you why, but for some reason outside there were fireworks. Beautiful fireworks that boomed and sparkled. Fizzing fireworks that spiralled upwards in an ephemeral minaret. Glacial fireworks. Bright red berries of fireworks that exploded into the sky. As the smoke hung over the stadium the sparks glowed and I climbed a low wall to watch them, the bubbling laughter in my belly delighted.
I stood there for 20 minutes, until the last spark was out and the smoke had started to drift. Watched 2010 sail off as 2011 jumped up on the concrete wall beside me and nudged me, winking out the corner of its eye. Curled its fingers into mine until we stood there, interlocked, watching the trails of smoke peter off into the distance. It started to mist again then. Just a smattering of the tiniest drops hitting my cheeks and bared skin. Warm and humid and damp. And I looked at my watch and realised it was time to come home.
So I did.