It’s a Friday afternoon and Sarah has her weekly appointment at 4pm. It’s deliberately this late in the day, in prime drinking time, that she goes. She sips tea and spends an hour droning about what she’s done that week, what she plans to do that weekend, and anything pressing that’s on her mind. It’s usually nothing.
Today, on this Friday afternoon, Sarah decides to try once and for all to remove the festering faeces from her sole. The faeces she stepped in over a year ago and whose smell has followed her ever since.
Is he is the one you love, then?
No, he’s my boyfriend, he’s the one I sleep with.
Do you have intercourse often?
No. Once a week, maybe I’ll give him a blowjob if I can’t be bothered with the whole thing.
So who is the one you love then?
Well, it’s not the one I sleep with, and it’s not the one who makes my coffee, or serves me fruit at the market on Sunday mornings.
Then who, Sarah?
Mark. He died.
Yes, he died. He died a year ago.
How did Mark pass away?
Mark passed away because he couldn’t control his thoughts.
In what way?
His mind raced. He would tell me this, lying in bed. He would say something is racing in my head. A thought. It’s racing. I would ask him where it was going. It’s going somewhere quickly. To an edge. A jagged edge. I would ask him what he could see from the edge. You. And you’re not alone.
Why have you not brought up this death before?
Because I still see him.
Everywhere. At Auction Rooms, Prudence, the chemist, on our knoll in Flagstaff gardens, on the 55, on posters, on stage, outside my house, my window.
This sometimes happens when we lose someone close. We hang onto them.
Like monkeys in a jar?
That’s one way of thinking about it, yes, like monkeys in a jar. When we lose someone close to us, especially to suicide, then we want to hold onto them. We may create places for them to live in our mind, but we may also see them in places, in memorable places.
But it wasn’t suicide.
No. That’s why he won’t let me come close to him. That’s why his voice cracks on stage when he sees me wave. That’s why he’s careful not to leave his scent on the stool of the bar, or any traces on the knoll in the gardens. He won’t let me come close to him.
And that’s because he isn’t really there?
He is. It’s just that, well, I killed him. And he won’t forgive me.