Sunday, November 4

Facing the day

With her coffee cup now empty Sally pondered what to do next. On the one hand the possibilities seemed almost endless but at the same time she wasn't sure if she really could be bothered to do anything. The quandaries of life when you had no one but yourself to think of.

Letting out a deep breath she didn't even know she was holding she took her cup to the sink and rinsed it out and placed in on the empty dish drainer. Looking at the small pile of dishes patiently waiting to be washed Sally decided that they could wait a little longer. Even though there were only a few there she just couldn't face them right then.

The pounding in her head had reduced somewhat but was still present enough to remind Sally it was there. Nothing two panadol and a gallon of water wouldn't fix though. Reaching for the box off the shelf she promptly popped two out of the packet and headed to the fridge for some cold water. Picking up a glass up on the way, she lingered with the fridge door open so she could once again enjoy the cool relief that came with it.

Gulping down big mouthfuls of water at a time Sally immediately felt a little better. It was like the cool liquid reduced her temperature from the inside out. All Sally could think about was submersing herself in water. Only who had a cool bath before eight in the morning? The public swimming pool wasn't really an option either. It was always heavily chlorinated and not conducive to the relaxing submersion that she longed for.

Looking at the weather app on her phone it appeared as if the heat was just going to keep on rising as the day went on. The expected maximin was 35 degrees. Not that Sally really minded. She much preferred to be hot than cold. At least cooling down was much easier than warming up. Once the cold got into her bones Sally found it hard to shake. One of the reasons she took the job in the dusty little mining town was because it was guaranteed to never drop below 18 degrees. Just the way Sally liked it. The other reason was because it was in the middle of no where, where no one knew her which made it easier to try and escape her past. The life she left behind before moving to Tieri was one that she had no desire to remember in anyway. The pain of it all was just too much to bare. Even the slightest detail of it could send Sally into a downward spiral that she feared would one day be the end of her. And while living was not exactly easy some days, it was something that she still wanted to do for a while.

Realising that sitting around the house was not going to do her any good Sally decided it was time to head out for the day. She had heard the locals talk of beautiful walking tracks and natural waterways not too far from town. She had been meaning to investigate them but as yet had not gotten around to it. Generally by the weekend the last thing Sally felt like doing was leaving the house but today she could already feel the walls closing in on her and she just knew it was best to not to sit and dwell today. Today needed to be a day of action else she would fall into the trap feeling sorry for herself and turning to her good friend Mr Alcohol. Thanks to last night's effort she was already on the verge of feeling quite sorry for herself. Besides she tried not to have her first drink until after the pub opened. There were still a few hours before that would happen.

With as much enthusiasm as she could muster Sally filled a couple of water bottles, grabbed a few snacks, her shoes and socks and headed out the door. With any luck a bit of fresh air and hopefully a swim in some rock pool somewhere would be just what she needed.

Saturday, November 3

Having a coffee

Walking into the kitchen Sally headed straight to the coffee machine. There wasn't much that coffee couldn't fix and Sally was certain it would once again be her magic fix. Popping the pod into the slot she pulled the handle down till she heard the crunch of the pod's seal being pierced. Taking a deep breath she tried to wait patiently for the little blue light to flash at her and indicate that it was now time to press the button. Some days, actually most days, waiting for that little flashing light was like waiting for eternally.

There was no doubt about it, Sally was a coffee girl. Sally found it hard to believe some days, just how badly she wanted, if not needed, a cup of the hot steamy liquid that she was certain could bring world peace if everyone just sat down and had one with some cake. She would often happily quip that she thought there was nothing that a good coffee and some cake couldn't fix.

As good as she knew them to be though deep down she knew that there were some problems that the old cake and coffee just couldn't fix. Problems that cut her to the core and would never leave her be. Problems that she was certain would haunt her for the rest of her life. Problems that while coffee didn't fix it did make them bearable. Some days Sally was positive she only made it through the day thanks to the coffee.

She was unable to pinpoint when this caffeine addiction was actually formed. She suspected that it slowly evolved. A natural progression in life that is really just part and parcel of growing up. Wasn't it the drink of adults?

Noticing the light finally flashing Sally pressed the required button. The delicious smell of the fresh coffee beans wafting through the poky little kitchen as a light steam from the machine quickly dissipated into the air. Her nostrils greedily inhaling the the aroma, tantalising her taste buds and kicking her impatience for her fix into over drive.

Opening the fridge door she enjoyed the cold blast that came with it. Now more than ever she was thankful she stood in that awful checkout line last night so she could have milk in her coffee. Yesterday, pouring curdled milk into her fresh brew was not a start she wanted to repeat again any time soon. On the upside, because Sally believed there always was an upside, at least the milk fiasco hadn't happened on a morning where she felt like she did today.

Placing the milk into the froth creating jug and switching it on the buzz of the machines began to drone in her already tender ears. She just kept telling herself it would be worth it in the end. The glorious first sip would gently seep into her soul and spread it's wonder through her. By the end of the cup she would feel ready and set for the day.

Or at least that was the plan. The way it was supposed to go. On many days it was that way, but whether or not today was one of those days remained to be seen. Sally felt she was yet to determine the fate of the day that still lay before. Saturday was one of the few days where Sally felt the was her own. There was no entitlement for her to think any needs save for her own. It was one of the things she loved most about her little shanty style country life.

From Monday to Friday she worked twelve to fifteen hour days that saw her constantly interacting with a range of people. From truck drivers, to geologists, managers, door operators and everything in between. None of them were people that she really had a chance to connect with. If by chance she actually had such a desire. Which for the most part she didn't. Not that it mattered, given the transient nature of most in the industry the turnover of staff was exceptional high. With just over six months of service under her belt Sally was virtually considered a long term employee. Most tended to say for three months. Few could stand it much longer than that, given the toughness of the conditions that were continually faced.

Unlike most of the workers at the mine who flew in and out on a regular basis, Sally actually lived in township that co existed with the mine. She found it easier that way. She had no one to fly home to every week or two. Or at all. There was no where else she needed to be and there wasn't anyone that needed her to be anywhere for them either. Besides she didn't need to regularly go to an airport. They were her most hated place on earth. Or one of. There was no way she could cope with all that regular flying, regardless of the size of the plane or anything else. It was just easier to live near the mine.

The upside to not having a fly in and out position was Sally only had to work Monday to Friday. The shift crews could work for ten to eight days straight. Sally wasn't interested in that kind of life. After five days she needed a break. In fact some weeks she needed that break after only a day or two. There was no way she could last longer than five days with out a break, and if there was then she didn't want to know about it.

Picking up her coffee cup she hoped to find at least one last mouthful left. She nearly felt like she could face the day. Not wanting the fate of the day to be determined by coffee dregs Sally took a deep breath and peered down into her coffee cup.

Oh sweet joy. It looked like there was at least one good mouthful. There was hope for the day after all.

Thursday, November 1

Saturday Morning

Rolling over Sally could feel her head throb. A dull slow throb that warned her about the perils of getting up. Even moving too much threatened to make the dull slow throb turn into more of a thumping pound. Her body was crying out for water. Both inside and out. The stickiness of the day before lingering on her unwashed skin. As hot as it was outside when she went to bed last night, she decided against having a shower before her body crashed between the comfort of her thousand count sheets. The Egyptian cotton a special Christmas present that she treated herself to every year. It was one of the few real luxuries that the enjoyed.

Her father had always said that going to bed with wet hair was a sure fire way to catch a cold. It was just something that had always stuck with her. With thick golden locks that nearly reached her waist it was hard not to get her hair wet when she showered. Sometimes it was easier if she just didn't shower unless she was prepared to have wet hair. Not only that but to her it was nearly torturous to forgo the pleasure that came with submersing one's face amongst the tiny bullets of water that were released by the shower head. Besides the air conditioner was on so it wasn't like she had to cool down.

Slowly opening one eye, Sally was expecting the brightness of the morning sun to bring a sting with it. It must have been earlier than what she realised because there was barely a glow coming through the windows. The curtains were darkish, but they did not stop all the light. Squinting she turned her head towards the clock. It felt like her brain had shrivelled up and was now rolling around her skull. How she wished she could magic some water to the bedroom. The furs on her tongue felt like they were standing on end. Filling her dry mouth and parched throat.

Barely able to make much sense of the little red numbers Sally decided that it was 5.22 or there abouts. Certainly still to early to consider getting up on a Saturday. Braving movement Sally stretched her arms and legs out. Rolling over she was suddenly reminded of the emptiness of her big bed. It made her want to curl back up into a little ball. To take up as little room as possible. All that space did nothing but sting and make her want to cry.

There was a time when she once longed to have space in there to herself. A time when the bed felt cramped and crowded. There was no room for rolling over or stretching out. Oh how she longed to go back to that time. Back to when she was never alone.

The painful reminder of the past was too much to bear. There was no way she could go back to sleep now. The risk of seeing what she so desperately longed for in a dream as she slumbered to great to chance. For some reason she felt that it was easier to shut out the painful truth if she was awake. She was able to control the thoughts that tried to flash through her waking time. When she was sleeping her mind was too free to explore it's deep dark crevices. Crevices that seemed to hold things that were both real and not. It had a habit of showing her things in dreams that she at times perhaps wished it didn't.

Being awake allowed her to remain in a safe place. One where she could block out the life she once had. A life that she wished more than anything had not be snatched away from herpecially if she was busy doing other things. Which she always was. She had to be. It was the only way that she was able to functionally exist. Though Sally questioned at times just how functional her existence really was anymore.

Unable to delay the inevitable Sally sat up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Moving way to fast as she did so. Her throbbing head throbbing faster and harder than before. Hoping it might ease with a shower she got up and headed towards the door. Momentarily pausing to consider whether or not to take the sheets off the bed. Saturday was sheet changing day. Or at least it was supposed to be. For now though the sheets could stay where they were. Changing sheets was the last thing she felt like doing right now. Anyway there was still a chance that she could shortly be returning to lay down. Even if she could have been bothered to take them off then, there was little to no chance she felt like putting the clean ones on. It could all just wait till later.

As she reached the door Sally picked up the air conditioner remote from the wall. It was held in a bracket next to the fan and light switches by the doorway. It reminded Sally of a hotel. Which in many ways she liked. Pointing it at the wall unit on the other side of the room she pressed the off button. It was a high powered unit so it cooled the room down quickly, there was no need to leave it running, just in case she felt like a sleep later. The price of electricity made that far from feasible. Even with all the rebates that she got given for working in such a hot, remote and dusty little town.

Returning the remote to it's cradle her other hand reluctantly went to turn the door handle. She knew that the air on the other side of the door was not going to be nearly as pleasant as it was in the bedroom. Even if it was still early in the morning.

Taking a step back as she pulled the door towards her she was met with a wall of mugginess. Worse than what she expected. Heading to the bathroom she felt the coolness in her body quickly disappear. It was the thing she disliked most about the artificial temperature, adjusting back to reality. Which was why she generally only used it on the weekends. That and the price of using it all the time. Even though she was well paid and had few expenses, Sally couldn't see the point wasting more money than need be. Excessive electricity in her mind was sometimes a waste. Even though a good portion of the small house was powered by solar, the air conditioner was yet to be converted to run off the natural resource.

Slipping her knickers off she sat on the loo. Her body instantly relieved to no longer moving. It still felt like there were parts of her, mainly in her head, that were still waiting to catch up. Once her bladder was empty Sally once again gathered the motivation needed to stand up and move to the shower.

Leaning against the wall she could feel the cool tiles of the shower recess against her skin. Even though it was still early the promised heat of the day could already be felt. This combined with her body trying to adjust to the non air conditioned air was almost too much to bare. It just seemed to make her head hurt even more.

Turning the taps on she just instinctively went for the hot water. Everything always seemed better with hot water. Her body suddenly aching from the week that was. Though most it was probably directly related to the excessive beer consumption the night before.

Stepping out of the shower Sally felt nearly human again. She loved how water could do that to her. It almost felt as if the pores in her skin opened up and she was able to absorb the moisture directly through her skin. Rehydrating the dry cells, filling them for the day to come.

Deciding that the towel was somewhat pointless Sally turned the small wall fan on and stood infront of it. The semi cool air blowing straight onto her wet body. Both drying and cooling her at once. Sally had to admit it was one of the things she loved most about the heat. Towel drying her body was something that she could recall disliking for as long as she could remember.

Giving her slender body a shake she decided that she was dry enough to leave the bathroom without dripping too much on the floors. She momentarily forgot about the tenderness in her head. The shaking quickly reminding her of the rattling effect her brain was currently experiencing.

She was sure when she went to bed she wasn't that pissed. Sure she had had a few, but it was Friday night...and there was a time when she had consumed much more and felt a lot less worse.

Swirling the mouthwash round in her mouth she could feel it destroying the awful furriness that was present when she woke. She loved how the sting of the liquid seemed to just burn away the yuckiness and eventually leave her teeth and gums tingly fresh. Right then and there as she stood staring at her puffy eyes with her sore head the her tingly gums and clean teeth were near on the best feeling in the world. Sally wasn't really sure why but for some reason it gave her a glimmer of hope for the day ahead of her.

Gently bending over and careful not to move to fast Sally wrapped her wet hair in the towel. Securing it in a turban like way that somehow seemed to ease the pressure inside her head. It almost felt like the towel was holding her head together. As much as she might have been able to let her body drip dry there was no way her long locks would every drip dry. 

Beside that Sally had gone to the effort of putting a treatment through. After a long week in and out the mine it was just riddled with dust. Some days Sally was almost envious the male workers and there short dos. Though it wasn't just the males who kept their hair short at the mine. Even the few other female workers seemed to have short hassle free hair.

As much trouble as it was at times Sally just couldn't bear the thought getting it chopped off. She felt it was the last thing that linked her to the past. As much as she didn't want to remember life back then she couldn't just let it go either. Her hair was the one thing that had been with Sally through it all. Even though it was only hair and couldn't actually do anything for her Sally found great comfort in the fact she hadn't had it cut since that dreadful day.