It was the start of the new year, instead of staying up late celebrating the midnight fireworks, I was laid back on the couch watching a tutorial on acrylic painting. The time dragged on; slowly as if a time master wanted to enjoy the moment. If I had a grandfather clock the ticking would have sent me insane.
By two-thirty, I switched off the television, waddling towards the bedroom the house, silence like a monastery. Outside, the sounds of firecrackers blasting through the neighbourhood and the nearby housing commission homes, along with the occasional thumping of a car stereo followed by hollering and horns blaring.
I checked my phone, I hadn’t heard from my wife in a little while. I checked on the kids, both blissfully dreaming while I worried. Settling down in bed the time closing in on three I check my phone once more and pass out with it nearby, unaware of the events soon to happen.
The day was a hot one, the end of the year was approaching. The day, Sunday the thirtieth of December. With the Sydney summer heat bearing down on us, with no pool to escape we decided to venture to a local river. The walk downhill wasn’t too bad, although my feet complained about the choice of footwear my wife choose for me to wear, thongs. I’m not a fan of thongs, the rubber has always had a tendency to attack the inner part of my toes with a vengeance, just like a dog trying to get food out of a toy.
The water felt great, lying down on the shallow rocky section that allows the water to rush through creating a nice natural spa feel. The issue, leeches line the rocks a nice donation of blood can be spilled if you don’t watch for them. but as I am the only one that can swim the deep end of the river was a no go for our family. We grabbed our towels and headed back to the top of the valley, where my car waited, patiently. An indoor style bbq was the best way to end the day, as the heat still battered down upon us. Watching television as the night closed in we still watched the Christmas movies that we hadn’t seen before the day. We both sat knowing that I had to work the next day, new years eve. My wife mentioned something, a bite, I looked at it. Looks like a mosquito bite to me. We paid no more attention to it that night.
Finishing work on the thirty-first I was tired, but a big night had been planned filled with dinner out and the nine o’clock fireworks for the kids at a suburb over half an hour away. We chose a restaurant near our home, one we had not frequented before, well not that venue in their chain of restaurants. Enjoying our meal my wife brings up the bite again, deciding to show me now what it looked like. Not once during the day while I worked did she tell me about any changes happening, when I saw the blistering wound I asked where did she think she got bitten/stung. It was then that she told me that it happened when she dried herself off at the car the day before. I thought back to where the towels were left, a mixed sandy and rocky surface in dense bushland. I looked up what a white tail bite looked like and was certain that it was this spider that had bitten her.
As the dinner finished we stopped by a local chemist who recommended going to the ER to get the right kind of treatment for it. The time was nearing nine and we were nowhere near our intended venue, my wife decided we stay at the local park for their event, meanwhile, the wound was constantly blistering and then emptying and filling back up again.
The fireworks made the kids happy especially my son who was intent on pointing and letting us know all about them. After the fireworks ended, the kids and myself were dropped off at home as she went to the hospital. Her wait was long, mine seemed longer.
The sound of fireworks and a car screeching their tyres around the corner at ten past five woke me, I say my wife’s name as I feel next to me in the bed. The freedom of not having her lying next to me must have been heaven sent to my long body which had contorted itself to every side as if not to waste any valuable space. my call had not been answered so I looked out the window after checking my phone. No messages and no car. I sent a message, some areas in that hospital it has dead zones, sections where mobile reception just doesn’t want to venture. Maybe it is scared, maybe there is an invisible wall blocking the way.
I sent out a message, what the hell was going on. She would have entered the waiting room at nine-thirty or near that time, sure there would be the occasional idiot that would have broken a bone or been hurt in a new years eve stunt. These were the cases from what she told me later, teens and guys hurt, a young one intent on self-harm and a young woman struggling with anxiety but thought she was having a heart attack. She responded that she should be let out soon and sure enough, she was. Her arrival at almost a quarter to six showed she had a pleasant night talking to a few of the others and enjoying the social interactions. But now it was time for her to sleep.
Her wound eventually healed after a few weeks of bandaging and medication. It was a good thing her mother was coming down new years day to visit and look after the kids for the next two weeks. For what was still to come wiped me out. That story to come. For now, it has been good to sit down and write without the emotions draining me or leading me astray.
Till next time, Keep smiling
The Stubborn Australian