Day 9 and the cough has become a terrorist. Rasping, lung aching cough, violently rocking the rib cage, reconstructing thought and memory, randomly re-ordering the day’s events. Robber of time, stealer of sleep. Ask me a question I’ll give you a Saint Vitus Dance answer, a voiceless croak or maybe a sign. I don’t know, please don’t talk to me now. A toilet roll trail of debris, the tissues and hankies now long gone, catches the phlegm of one lucky cough, but not of that dry one, not the Dostoevsky special, that searches and scratches and delves deep within then leaves for a minute, hands out a headache, and returns for another gut wrenching go. Stationary diversions blur together as writing, reading and foreign films join into one continuous heated dream as cruel cough moves in for the night, making sleep a permanent nightmare, vitality spilling from every pore and orifice, as dreams become more lurid, aberrant, repetitive. Each cough causes a Candy Crush spill, with long rows of colourful gems flashing in my sleeping mind’s eye, idiotic patterns, reminders of imminent madness, but now Riccardo Scamarcio arrives with his Botticelli stare and I am momentarily transfixed; it’s 1968 and the students are revolting, but then I see that other man’s ugly penis lying inert on a bed, a scene from a repulsive French movie where all the men are bastards. I skip to my book, and the tripe cauldron rises, the overflowing pot steaming with stomach lining and calves’ feet, and I’m trapped in medieval Florence, when suddenly Chris Uhlmann’s interloping fat head appears on the TV screen, intruder in a boring election debate, put him in the tripe vat, will someone say something real now? The cough returns, and the Candy Crush gems explode purple, shattering my dream, and it replays over and over again.
I write posts to keep the terrorist at bay, stories of domesticity, of cakes and travel. They are as fanciful as my dreams.