Older women in sensible shoes. Shoes with straps. Shoes with beds of support for potato-skinned heels and yellowed toenails. But my feet are covered. I don’t want my skin touching carpet, vinyl, metal fittings, so my arm rests on my new cow satchel.
There is grey hair – mostly short, cropped and backcombed – hideously coloured hair, metal framed spectacles, old vaginas, dropped or prolapsed vaginas.
People throw rubbish into bins like a basketball game. ‘Oh, me flabby ass!’ a woman laments, then I hear a baby and its wretched cry as it’s flung onto a blanket on a cold scale. The new mothers and breast care clinic isn’t far away from the broken cunt clinic.
Women flip through magazines while I look down at my feet with concern for I have toes that need painting. There are green paper stems with four pink teardrop shapes set around the green stems at even intervals across the wall.
Holistic, faith, love, peace
One word for each petal. They’re supposed to make us feel supported. I don’t feel supported. They make me feel afraid because I never want to need those words. The doctors must look at some dreadful vaginas. Ripped, messy, oozing; skin peeling off and hanging like rotten tendrils.
Understanding, faith, love, positive attitude
Another flower and more sensible skirts, sensible shoes, sensible trousers. A few women are at the Broken Cunt Clinic rolled like mutton – all tied up like a roast and tidy like a lamb roast.
The television is American ‘talk back’. The audience applauds when someone
farts; does the most insignificant action. Applaud to applause, they applaud to feel communal, like they’re connected. I need some Raymond Carver and non-sensibility. But then there’s a toddler trying to push her own giant pram and I hope that by the time she’s of age, vulval cancer will be some sort of old joke – ‘Remember when we used to have to have our vulvas peeled off? They don’t have to do that anymore.’
Women emerge from the medical suites. They walk with an odd gait – bandied legs, splayed feet in sensible shoes, hip bones still spread from being disengaged from the examination. Legs high in the air like gymnasts, then lowering them and grounding their feet on the linoleum – confused like new-born calves.
Men in checked shirts, as square as their nature with their wives and mothers in floral skirts, plain blouses, striped blouses, patterned blouses – all sorts.
I look down to my chest where my Spanish owl lives, and I concertina the pieces in my hand, as if I’m nursing an armadillo.
We all knit air with stinking, misplaced fear and I pull my knees up to my chest so nothing can touch me.
Faith, hope, health, love.