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Monday, November 29, 2010

Getting Nowhere

I dreamed my daughter was in Children's Hospital. I left her there, had to go home for some reason. Started riding my bike through the trailer park to get to the bus stop and the seat was too low, so I pulled over to try to fix it. A short balding man with an olive complextion approached me. I got uncomfortable when he got too close, but I thought maybe he was going to be neighborly and help me adjust my bike seat. He leaned in even closer and threatened me, saying I should move, then he went into a trailer. He came out and got into a big red van, drove it up a little ways then backed it around as if he was going to park it right where I was standing, just so I'd have to move. I walked my bike up a short way and went back to fumbling with the hardware underneath my bike seat. There was a set of hardware on each side of the back of the seat, and I couldn't see how it went on. I loosened the first set too far and it fell off, but into my hand. There were four small pieces and I didn't know which way they went on, except for the cap that could only go on the end of the bolt. I tried to loosen the other side more carefully but it fell off too, and I didn't catch it that time, it fell to the ground and I couldn't find where all the pieces went. I raised the seat up then tried to put things back together however it made sense, but I couldn't get it right. I asked a lady sitting on a bench near the curb if she'd give me her thoughts on it, She came over and looked but then turned her back to me without saying a word. I knew by then I had missed more than one bus and wouldn't be back at the hospital in time. I felt more frustrated about having to walk my bike home then hike to the bus than anything else, I wasn't even really worried about my daughter being in the hospital. I was glad in a way, that someone else was taking care of her instead of me.


When I finally made it back to the hospital I stopped at the coffee shop. I was going to get donut holes and a soda for my daughter, but I didn't know if I had enough money, I was trying to figure it out. They poured me a coffee and started getting the rest ready, I had to stop them and ask how much it would cost. Then I checked my wallet and I only had loose change. But he'd already poured the coffee and was pushing it towards me, which made me feel like I had to buy it even though I didn't want it. I looked for something that cost less than the donut holes and found some day-old bread, said I wanted that instead and they were really pissed. Also, I couldn't afford the other drink if I bought the coffee. I figured they'd give my daughter what she wanted to drink since she was an in-patient anyways. I could get coffee too, in the family lounge, so it didn't make sense that I was going to pay for it. The cashier asked me for two dollars. I counted my change. I didn't have that much, it was mostly nickels and dimes. So I took out my debit card and they looked at me like, oh really, when I motioned to swipe it. I smiled and said, yep, and what's even better is I'm not even sure if this will go through, thinking maybe they should've asked me if I wanted coffee in the first place, but also how sad it was that I might not even have two dollars.


Another day I was getting a ride to the hospital. We got a little lost and stopped at some store we hadn't been to before and realized there was a restaurant in that plaza that we'd heard of on TV, but it was the only one in the city and it was way the hell up north so we'd never thought of going to it. It was a place that had an optional all-you-can-eat buffet that was known for having really good fish. We peeked in. It was hideously bright, everything from napkins to people done in an unwelcoming scheme of navy and white. I saw someone there who knew me, a really fat family of five. They motioned towards us to have a seat and talk for a while, told us how good everything was. The mom was my age but looked fifty, she had a bad perm and was talking with her mouth full, globs of fish and cole slaw dripping from the corners. Her son made room for me to sit next to him. He was tiny, concave, eyes to the table in a permanent slouch, almost blond with his hair in an overgrown crew cut, wearing a plain white t-shirt. He wasn't eating much but kept filling his cup with fruit punch or whatever it was they had on tap that was syrupy red. His had two sisters, one with long straight brunette hair in pigtails and ribbons and a fancy green dress, the other a messy curly blonde-haired toddler with hung open too wide, food all over her face, wearing a pastel pajama set that couldn't pass for street clothes. The girls were both round like their mom.The dad was on the tall-side, dark-haired and moustached, he had a slightly muscular build like he could've been in law enforcement. The kind of guy who could eat six servings of everything, belch hard once then have the rest of  it all go to muscle. I hadn't seen him before and wondered if he was just an uncle or friend who'd come along for dinner as he seemed wasted on that family.


They tried as best they could to give us directions on how to get back on track with where we needed to go. My friend was driving but I could tell he wasn't listening to what they said. He just wanted to eat there even though we were late and lost with my daughter waiting alone in the hospital. He begged me to stay. I tried to tell him no but he before I could answer, he got up fast with wide eyes and licking his lips grabbed a big blue and white paper food tray and started to fill it with deep fried crap. I sat there mad because I knew he wasn't paying, yet he didn't give me the chance to say we couldn't eat there because I didn't have any money, and because I'd have to sit there smelling the greasy fish and soggy potatoes. By then it was dark outside. I got up and left but didn't know where I was going or how I was going to get there.

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