Long Day At Work

Long day at work.

Passenger plane shot down.

Dozens of Australians dead. Mothers, brothers, doctors. A real estate agent. Neighbours. Passers-by. Coffee drinkers. A soy latte please, one sugar. Joggers. Left-handers. Lovers. Kids. Toddlers who hate broccoli and love dinosaurs and the colour blue.

The son of one of the victims agrees to speak on the radio. He chuckles. Laughs almost. Uses words like “surreal” and “ridiculous” and “shock.”

The death toll: 27




Oh wait. Breaking news. Now it’s 28. Oh god.

I’m news reading today, live on air. I don’t want to be the one telling people. I don’t want to be the one. Don’t listen. Don’t listen. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I can’t say sorry on air.

God, suck it up. Get through the next hour. Then the next. Then the next. What’s the latest information? What’s important? What’s int-er-est-ing?




The newsroom is vibrating, pounding from the core and jittery on the top. Low-level pulses. Ceaseless murmurs. It feels unsteady, restless.

One more hour.

Then pub.

It is warm and cosy. Heaving with people. They drink cocktails and flirt and throw their heads back when they laugh. They are covered with a thick layer of electricity and a dusting of garish.

Find friends.

Find seat.

Find drink.

Strong drink.

One sip.

Blood nose.

It gushes and gushes and gushes and it won’t stop. What the hell.

It stops.

Later I lay in bed and look at the ceiling. The walls are throbbing, pulsating in and out. The air above me is chopped up and the pieces are playing tetris at high speed.

I think about my nose bleed earlier. I cringe and tell myself it is trivial and insignificant. An annoyance. A spot of bother. A touch embarrassing.

Then I think perhaps it was just the manifestation of all the stuff that had mounted up inside that day…

brimming over.

Or something like that.

The stuff that is too hard to look at directly, much less express in words.

The stuff that you don’t even have the right to feel, much less express, sitting safe and sound and oh so removed, in your little newsroom or your cosy little pub. With good people and life and richness.

Untouched and undeserving. And helpless.


display picture credit: metro.co.uk


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