I stand there meekly obedient even though I long for it all to be over. At one point I look towards the open doorway and notice my regular GP walk past. I have decided not to see this GP anymore.
For some reason whenever I go to see this particular doctor I feel guilty as if I have been bad – I have drunk too much wine, my diet is improper, I work too hard, am too irreligious – and I imagine she will scold me for it. In real life she never does this, but in my imagination she is constantly scolding me. In my dream I have taken action by deciding against seeing her anymore. My regular GP’s offsider, the one I am with now, is younger, younger even than me, but she does not leave me feeling guilty. She seems more down to earth, even as she examines me in this painstaking way. I feel less intimidated, more equal.
‘My patients are leaving me,’ I hear my regular GP say to her assistant as she walks past the open door. She looks in as she says this and looks directly at me. Our eyes lock and almost instantly I lose my balance and must spin around in order to save myself from falling.
‘I did not jerk away like that to avoid you,’ I say, as I regain my footing.
I feel a need to apologise but this is as much as I can say.
Then I am in the car park at the doctor’s surgery. I have offered to give my new doctor a lift home. She is eager to see her children. The car park is a mess of broken concrete and unmade roads. There is a traffic jam in the middle and I have trouble finding my car in the first instance and then of getting it out of the car park. Somehow I manage to do this and we are no longer in a car but on a train.
Flashback in my dream to a visit from an exchange student, a lovely girl from some place like France or Germany. She is puzzled by my family’s eccentricities, the way we lead such a chaotic life, irregular meals and odd ours. We sit in the back yard and a delivery man comes to drop off a machine my husband had ordered earlier but as he leaves he puts down a row of miniature figurines, characters from television and fairy tales – Snow White and the seven dwarfs, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck. I would like to keep these characters but I know they are not free. ‘
‘They are a seduction,’ I tell the girl. ‘The deliveryman put them there to get us to buy more.’
The exchange student decides she will take the train on her next journey and that she will sit on the train on the outside ledge where other passengers sit. I warn her that it is dangerous there. I see her on the train now clutching her suitcase in front.
‘It’s fine,’ she says, cheerfully. ‘There’s plenty of room.’ She is squeezed in like a sardine alongside several other passengers all nursing their luggage.
‘It won’t be so easy once the train gets going,’ I say. ‘It will wobble and jerk you all over the place.’
As the train takes off I see her in my mind’s eye. She has become me and I am desperately trying to keep my bottom perched safely on the narrow ledge. It is only a matter of time before I will be pitched off from the speeding train.