Thursday, May 20, 2010

20. Strange

Strange dreamstate today. The ferry to the city was quiet. I met a visiting New York author at Sailor’s Thai. It was all so gentle and sleepy.

Since that ear infection a few weeks back, Charlie has been waking every night around two to call, ‘I’m very, very sad in my bed.’ He means he wants to come into my bed.

We were back at the doctor’s yesterday, and she said: It’s the shape of their skulls. ‘Kids at this age, they get them all the time,’ she said. Ear infections, she means; his is back. ‘We’ll give you that antibiotic again,' she said, 'it’s the best thing for ears,’ and I said, ‘Well, do you have something that tastes better?’

We picked up the new medicine, and the pharmacist gave Charlie a gift: a small, rubber, two-headed dragon. He held it in both hands, and gazed at it.

‘I’m glad that’s gone to a good home!’ said the pharmacist. ‘The last two children I tried to give it to didn’t want it! It freaked them out.’

Back home, I took the medicine out of the box and said, ‘Look! It’s pink!’ and we both laughed hilariously for a while. It’s pink!

It was so funny that he decided to try it. His eyes lit up and he asked for more.

This morning he wanted to do it by himself; in his enthusiasm, he pushed the end of the dropper before it got into his mouth and the pink flew everywhere, streaking across his blanket, his pyjamas, my pyjamas, the couch, his hair, my hair. We both laughed hard. But I said I might do it from now on.

On the phone, my mother asked what it was called, the new antibiotic, and I said Ceclor Suspension, and there was a pause, and she said, ‘Well, it sounds like it knows what it’s doing.’

He slept in my bed last night, and some time in the night I woke to the sound of him asking, very friendly, ‘Can you turn on the light? I want to look at my ankle.’ Later, to the sound of him asking, also friendly, ‘Can you pass me my two-headed dragon?’ I passed it to him from the bedside table. Three or four times, he needed water, and another three or four times, he needed my help to find his blanket, lost and tangled somewhere in the sheets. ‘I’m just hugging my beautiful, soft, two-headed dragon,’ he let me know later, halfway to a dream. ‘Okay,’ I said.

When he did sleep, he drifted over to my side of the bed; finding me there, he would push me hard with both feet towards the edge, and finding that I resisted this, he would wake and say, very friendly, ‘You’re in my way, can you please go on the floor?’


Today, the dragon’s belly split down the middle, and tiny white styrofoam balls began to spill from it. Charlie asked me to fix it. I said, ‘Maybe these are dragon eggs! Little tiny dragon babies will come out of these eggs!’

He looked at me hard and then looked away again, an expression of mild, complicated disappointment on his face. ‘No.’ He shook his head. ‘These are not dragon eggs.’


The visiting New York author told me about the sessions he has coming up at the Sydney Writers' Festival. He was engaging and articulate. I felt oddly euphoric in my dreamstate, and also strangely sad - festivals seemed so far away suddenly - impossible.


Just now, I held the two-headed dragon over the kitchen bin and squeezed it, and they all spilled out, hundreds and hundreds of tiny dragon eggs. A few clung onto the inside of the dragon, and these I rinsed down the sink. The dragon is drying on the dish rack: she is more or less herself.