26 Jan
The Anesthetists' Reception 19

Chapter 19: Where a Hospital Room Seems Like Hansa Studios Late 70's

Still there, in the small room with a glass door and neon tube lighting and accidental spillings. 

She told him to sit by the wall which he did in a steel framed stylish chair, perhaps Swedish design, which he thought at the time was a little incongruous because it seemed more suited for some gala, a thrashing, a space made perceptible for only the heart, a python of loneliness, a shattered illusion done as vernal sea and  anti-Gothic - you get the drift -  but he didn’t say anything and didn’t focus on it for any length of time at all because he was concentrating on the blonde anesthetist and what she meant by speaking so quietly but with a wavering ululation as if recognising the awakening Gods.

Jeez. Such importunity. He considered his unfortunate engulfings with a dazed embarrassment galvanised, no doubt, by panic.

She was assailed.

All things were amphibiously plunged in her world, what with the past and its enamel, and all those dead egos, innumerable and involuntarily remembered,  and she wanted to take you there, which was reassuring in a strange way, although he couldn’t have explained why. 

She talked about what was going to happen and it all came through in this incredibly low tone which made its own place for everything, as if what was to come was a sequence of remembered sufferings, each one diminishing like an inverted stations of the cross, or worse, but more a crescendo , Calvary.

There was a dynamism in this and what she said seemed right and didn’t have to mean anything more than the minimal and so everything was a bit like a trailing stroke of language catching itself in an inverted symmetry, with on the one hand the astral and the other science, both, as it were, bathing in the Loire and possessed like a laundress. In other words, a gentle swim out of sense towards the suffering hallucination to the shore, or better, the innumerable shores.

He followed the motion of her lips and remembered a trellis of red Hawthorne, probably as a result of the lipstick shade and the stasis and strange remoteness of the whole performance.

He sighed, and wanted more - perhaps a form of pure tenderness, some clairvoyant affirmation of what, so it seemed, boiled down to his sad state and nothing else.

 The rapacious and remote, up against the sea, against time, against blindness and choice which implied - and he'd thought long and hard on this one - evil.

This thought would come and flash on and then off, just once, and that would be it, elegant and the absolute opposite of bitterness. 

Well, what else was there for her to do but stare hard at his face to check that he was following and that he was reassured and everything was ok and that the show she was about to put on was exactly right for him and that it was straightforward and not, despite appearances, about policing the body which although she never came out and said so, was a bad thing it seemed although in hospital he rather thought that this was a strange attitude and might be wrong, but he didn’t have the nerve to question it because he had decided to put himself completely in her hands, everything going well beyond him at this level, being medical and technical but not just that but because he was happy for this to be a new pathway down the middle of his existence summarised as: love should be how we are understood. 

One of the thoughts behind this was the idea that existence came out from somewhere else other than existence and medicine might be one of those places and given that by now it was too late to find something else he went with it to see. 

But he reflected that his sentences were now more furniture than radiance, his words upholstery and garbage cans without the sincere imbeciles of shimmering effluvia. 

He recalled the quintessence: 'There can't be comunication because there are no vehicles of communication. Ditto expression.' Such paradox. Such solitude. Such madness.

She complemented him on remaining calm and contracted, as if maybe she detected depths. 

A perverse illusion, he reckoned, and one people make all the time. 

Everything loses itself in the very moment we dream of its significance, its or ours both. 

The gloomy thought couldn't hold still of course. They never can. He felt his own scorn like an abridged libel.

 Atempts to expand always end like this, and significance gets banished by the slightest contacts with any opposing personality, either a lover or stranger who might both, in different ways, end you in contempt or pain.

Again, with a long face, he subsided.

And so this reached  a point that seemed both inevitable yet might not have occurred, neither to him nor anyone else, being in reality something that just spontaneously became a contrary thing, like gymnastics, for instance.

 No one saw it as anything at all because it was more sap than appendage, an inward source rather than outward addition..

He didn’t tell the anesthetist anything . 

'How long were you at medical school?'

'I'm very sensitive to that word. I wish people wouldn't use it.'

'There's no use being so bothered by that.'

'Nevertheless. You're wrong.'

'What's the matter?'

'I don't ask much out of life. But to think that I've always been treated as a delinquent. I don't want to be replaced.'

'We've all got jobs to do. We've all got our places.'

'Too many people love their cages.'

'What makes me sick is sarcasm, cynicism, manic ennui, suspicion of authority, suspicion of all constraints, and an ironic diagnosis of unpleasantness. They all lack what I think is required.'

'That being?'

'An ambition to redeem.'


But what was happening all the time was that he wanted to say something and he raised it as if he was joking each time, but the anesthetist kept up her habit of glancing down at him like he was in elementary class or something, or as if a section had been cut off inside and what he was saying was unhinged.

'You're arid. Talent's just an instrument..'

'You know, you might try talking out of that part that can love rather than the part that just wants to be loved.'

'As if there's something left to give.'

'Oh there is. Just be emotional. Move me.'

'I'm not generous. Not like that.'

'Well now, that's a fault.'

' Cowardice?'


'If there's nothing left in the bathtub then there's no baby to throw.'

'You sound like you're fed up with the revel.'

'I wish it would end.'

Overlaying one thing onto another, everything, the everyday onto the strange and then the other way, suddenly, that’s what he seemed to need.

‘Why do you want to have a last word?’ asked the anesthetist and how like fiberglass was her voice he thought whilst he eyed up the tray of needles and bottles that she had, her tray on wheels with shelves , a mix of organic and industrial apres nature. 

There was a low growling hum in the room now, very faint but entrenched, as if something like a soundtrack to his last hours was being developed there, as if this was Eno and Bowie's  Hauptstraße,  Hansa by the Wall,  Köthener Straße, Kreuzberg, Meistersaal,  Köthener Straße, Bundesautobahn 100Wedding district , Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Tempelhof-Schöneberg,  Bundesautobahn , Funkturm junction, Cicerostraße  and he was its main interflowing  text.

She raised her eyebrow.

'So why?'

Chapter 18

Chapter 1


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