This blog was inspired by Lana Del Rey’s song ‘Ride’. To fully appreciate the essence I guess of this blog, you can listen to it here
This blog is for everyone who has ever made those long, lonely journeys to hospital. Until you have been forced to spend hours driving to purely undergo something horrendous, or be told devastating news, you will not understand. Whether you have made this journeys for a loved one, or for yourself, just know that you aren’t alone, however small a comfort that may be.
I’ve been out on that open road
You can be my fulltime daddy
White and gold
Singing blues has been getting old
You can be my fulltime baby
Hot or cold
Ease; Simplicity. Effortless. No difficulty.
Ease; It is a walk to the mailbox, the exam of multiple choice. A slut, her legs wrapped tightly around the bulge beneath your waist. The challenge of finishing a tub of your favorite creamed dessert.
Dis-ease; Lack of ease. Illness. Sickness. Malady.
Dis-ease; A walk to the mailbox with blood pooling around your ankles, an multiple choice of treatments, each more corrupt than the first. Me, wrapped around your waist, as I beg you not to make me go to the hospital. The challenge of finishing a spoonful of my favorite creamed dessert without the jigsaw pieces of digested food splattering through my fingers clasped at my mouth onto the floor.
It’s funny isn’t it? How three letters can make all the difference.
How three letters can spell the gap between Me and You.
People travel to escape, to holiday, to honeymoon, to work and to fuck. Regardless of what selection your fingers hover over greedily on life’s platter, you are rewarded all the same. It’s very simple really. If you make the effort, you reap the rewards.
Each week Mum or Dad, or even the both if the news is expected to be particularly devastating, yell at me to get into the little blue hatchback. The clouds slowly stretch and yawn, ready to take their place to hide the sunshine and her Melanoma’s. It is my favorite time of the day, for it hasn’t yet been destroyed. The news could still be good today. I think that is the only reason I agree to go along with their sick trap.
A cleverer girl would have learnt by now.
An open road lends an opportunity of pretence and falsity. I prefer to call it imagination.
Daddy is really a full time Daddy. He doesn’t take days off work to drive me to hospital, to read me the newspaper when my arms are too full with IV’s to turn the pages. No, he is a Real Daddy, just like every other Daddy. He doesn’t cry in waiting rooms, and he doesn’t enquire about Mortality Rates. As the other cars drive past and glance through our exterior, I wonder what they see.
I wonder if they see that my Daddy is driving me to my modelling job, as he keeps a watchful eye.
I wonder if they see that my Daddy is driving me to my first big job interview.
I wonder if they see that my Daddy is driving me to the airport as I embark on an overseas adventure.
And then the traffic thickens, my throat tightens, and as the hospital facade edges it’s way closer Fulltime Daddy is gone, and Real Daddy is sitting in his place.
I don’t think Fulltime Daddy would be this scared. Fulltime Daddy wouldn’t know that fear like this existed.
Don’t break me down
I’ve been travelling too long
I’ve been trying too hard
With one pretty song
People say that looks can only get you so far. But they mustn’t have looks, or at the very least no need for them. Looks can get you through the hospital elevator and into the dank hallways, rabbit warrens of stethoscopes and bandanas. Looks can get you walking through a waiting room filled with pregnant women, 60 bloated slices of tragic irony. Looks can get you to walk up to the receptionist who recognises you from three separate other departments. Looks can get you to whisper that you need to see the haematologist.
And most of all? Looks can stop you from falling apart when an entire waiting room points out the obvious.
She is not pregnant. She must be a patient.
That morning, Daddy couldn’t understand why it was taking me so long to choose an outfit. Seven costume changes simply were not enough. In the end I settled on blue pant leggings, a fitted pattern mini skirt, black turtleneck sweater and fitted black Military jacket from Tokito. You probably don’t think this matters, but it does. I finished the ensemble with brown boots which catapulted me from just a little under 6 foot to Amazonian Beauty. I hadn’t time to curl my hair. And as I walked through the hospital carpark, and tried to tame my Oxycodone frazzled wisps, I choked back a sob.
They are going to be able to tell that I am sick now.
This is a club I never wanted to belong to. I had been their Poster Child for too long. Wheelchairs, IV’s, hair that landed at my feet and stuck to the carpet. I would be their ambassador no longer. When they expected sunken eyes, I strutted Vogue.
I stop traffic. I turn heads. I am a 6 foot beauty. This declaration isn’t vanity. It isn’t self absorbed if it is essential to life. Because, don’t you see? When you are beautiful, you are unattainable. Most of all, you are untouchable.
And so that is why on Thursday, just as every other day I spend at the hospital, I am a mirage of turned heads.
No disease can touch a mirage.
And then the Haematologist calls my name.
She sits me down.
She blurts out more fatal diseases, more question marks over my mortality. The never ending fucking tragedy continues.
When she leaves the room, Dad asks what one of the possible suggested conditions means.
I turn to him.
If I have it. It means I die.
He doesn’t say a word.
And I don’t feel pretty anymore.
I hear the birds on the summer breeze, I drive fast
I am alone in the night
Been trying hard not to get into trouble, but I,
I’ve got a war in my mind
So I just ride,
Just ride, I just ride, I just ride
I must go somewhere, anywhere but here. The very walls threaten to suffocate me. And I am startled by my own reaction. There is little that hasn’t been discussed before. This is the routine. Every few weeks or months another piece of me snaps and falls to the floor. And I drag myself to another ‘ist’ and they search and diagnose, and life goes on. But this I hadn’t seen coming. They found this before I did.
I think I am angry.
They had no right. They had no right to know before I did.
And so I ride.
I am 20 and blonde and leggy. The night is warm, friends scream with laughter in the passenger seats. The speakers throb with the moon, and the beach sidles beside the wheels, spinning plates on languid finger tips. A friend winds down the window, and screams to the ocean. We laugh, all of us. The hot night leaves us hungry for rebellion. I pull into a carpark. Dares are tossed back and forth across the roof of the car. I am the first to rip off my top, my shorts, my bra. My lace panties are all that remain. The moonlight is kind to me; I am pert and lean. And I run screaming towards the oceans edge as my friends follow behind me. Have you ever laughed so vivaciously that your chest filled and swelled, leaving you full and satisfied? That is how we laugh. And afterwards, when we are too cold and our bravado gone, we throw on old hoodies, sit on an old blanket and wrap arms as we wait for morning, sand in our bottoms.
I hear my name. The hematologist is staring at me. She wants to know if I am free for platelet aggregometry in a week’s time.
I figure it’s easier because you will already be at the hospital that day.
I nod dumbly.
I wonder if she can hear the war inside my head.
I wonder if she knows that I didn’t hear the air raid siren in time.
I wonder if she knows that the bullet in my heart was fired from her gun.
Daddy looks at me.
And I realize he has been shot too.
Dying young and I’m playing hard
That’s the way my father made his life, an art
Drink all day and talk til’ dark
That’s the way road doves do it, light or dark
Die young, die fast. Except there is nothing fast about it, nor the life I lead. It is slow, deliberate. Every action must be planned, deliberated and left to hang in front of the jury. Everyone makes the decisions, and I face the consequences.
Do I have the strength to shower today?
Do I go University for two hours, or do I see a friend?
Do I choose a future, and thus choose loneliness?
And sometimes I stop caring about the consequences, about the disapproval. I wear my shortest skirt, my most padded bra, underwear that is barely there. My hips sway to bass and my tongue fucks strangers. I am bold and sexualised, overly so. Sexuality doesn’t have to be an act; It can be a state in itself. I never fail to be entertained as men fall over themselves, all in my very honor. They provide me with the worship that I demand, and I drown in it.
It never makes me happy.
I play with my prey, toy with them, work them into fervent. And then I walk away.
It is my decision when I leave.
Each time I peel off the hemmed pieces of fabric and slide beneath the cool sheets, frighteningly alone.
And I sob myself to sleep.
I know that is my beauty that they lust for, not my mind nor heart. They could care less that my dura mater is beautiful. It’s my body they throb for.
The irony of it almost makes me laugh.
Because if they were to see the truth. If their eyes were to meet upon the shards of bone, the scars webbing across my midriff, they would ride away in such a heated frenzy I doubt they would remember their shoes. They think they want my ride, but they don’t.
Don’t leave me now
Don’t say goodbye
Don’t turn around
Leave me high and dry
I am walking through the corridoors. I argue with pathologists.
The Haematologist herself booked the aggregometry, with both labs at both hospitals. I’m not trying to book in, you just need to hold onto this paperwork.
No, I don’t need to take a fucking number.
Dad and I sit down. We buy coffee, hoikkien noodles from the Hospital Cafeteria.
He knows that I am already gone.
I had checked out before the appointment had even finished.
I was terrified at just how desperately I am shovelling food down my throat, and fully expect to choke. I of all people do not eat like this. I am always cautious of prying eyes, plates which threaten to judge. But this is not me. I am not here. My hollow wrists continue to work to fill all that is empty. You can never fully feed a shell. The ocean can seep it’s way in as much as it likes, but it always finds its way back to the tide. I now understand the term shell shock.
Shell Shock is when you wake up and realize that someone has planted you on the wrong, sick stretch of beach.
As I ride past I catch sight of a blonde twig of a girl, thrusting noodles into the back of her throat, in front of her sad and silent father. I feel sad of her.
She wouldn’t be so lonely if she didn’t leave herself.
I’m tired of feeling like I’m fucking crazy
I’m tired of driving until I see stars in my eyes
I look up to hear myself saying,
Baby, too much I strive, I just ride
I’m tired. Why else would I not cry? Doctors, nurses, complete strangers tell me that I am brave. I’m not brave, it’s an insult to all those that are.
I’m just so fucking tired.
Crying, fighting, waiting, driving. It exhausts me, bores me, frustrates me. Yesterday author Mark Sanderson put ink to all which I feared too. ‘Tragedy is exhausting. But tragedy is boring too’.
I am tired of spending hours in a car driving to sad hospitals, of seeing pregnant women and sick girls in the same Waiting Rooms, and knowing that I fit into one and not the other. I am tired of thinking about the fact that I will never likely fit into the former. I am tired of men lusting after my mirage and not my scars. I am tired of phlebotomists sodomising my spidery blue veins and I am tired of reading magazines from 1994. I am tired of parking tickets, and I am tired of chairs which are never comfortable, no matter how you twist and turn. I am tired of my hair falling at my feet, and I am tired of the torture that is stamped on the oval between my bikini halves.
Most of all I am tired of driving to hospitals.
I hear the birds on a summer night, I drive fast
I am alone in the night,
Been trying hard not to get into trouble, but I,
I’ve got a war in my mind,
I just ride
Just ride, I just ride, I just ride.
And so on Thursday, and the week after that and all the weeks until I fail to be I will close my eyes. I will place each lizard eared headphone into their appropriate canals and I will press my face against the cool glass of the window.
And I shall watch the world pass by me.
Life is a crazy ride.
It just so happens that for some us it is equally tragic as it is beautiful.
And when my day comes and they don’t make me go anymore
I will wait for you
In the hot summer’s night.
And as we lay in the sand, grit between our toes, hold me tight
And remind me of what a wonderful ride it was.