By Kate Murdoch
After a week in the doldrums, Lydia bolted awake. The dream sat lucid in her mind. She had been in New York, buoyed by a feeling of complete assurance. So confident, she had put on her wedding dress and stepped out for the day. It fit quite well, except the zip wasn’t done up properly. A little back fat was the only indication time had passed since she sashayed up the aisle. People gazed at her in admiration for her act of abandon. A woman in middle years, wearing the glamazon dress with attitude. A yellow cab careened past, and she blew the driver a kiss. She window-shopped and met with some colleagues in a rooftop restaurant. Around her, angled concrete and glass, and white pots of lilies framed the view of the Hudson.
Lydia levered herself out of bed and reached for her cane. A bottle of prescription medication fell to the floor. She wondered when the cleaner might come, and could retrieve it for her. Being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis didn’t honestly help the new symptoms appearing from day to day, but at least she had a name for her condition now. The feeling of assurance remained for some minutes, until she stood in the kitchen, fumbling with the lever to turn on the kettle. Her hand shook.
Yet, for the first time in months, her ex-husband had not been her first thought when she woke. It was a sign, she thought. A sign of recovery. The worst thing had been the visuals invading her mind. Simon and his twenty-year-old waitress, in a variety of positions and poses.
She’d regretted going to the café and peering through the window. They’d stood at the counter, absorbed in conversation. The girl was ponytailed perkiness, her hair white blond. Fresh. Imbecile, Lydia thought. She doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into. After her window glimpse, the lurid film roll of the two of them started playing in her head. She’d asked the doctor for Xanax, wanting the edges of the film to blur a little. Instead, it had a diabolical reaction with her pain meds, and she’d found herself in an alleyway, sitting, deep in conversation with some stray cats. She’d looked down in alarm at the tabby purring in her lap. His fur was riddled with fleas, and one ear was half-torn.
Her tea made, Lydia sat at the kitchen table, and thumbed open the paper to a random page. The headline screamed—‘Advertising exec trips up—Simon Haskell to face drug charges.’ Her eyes widened as she read on.
Advertising dynamo Simon Haskell was arrested on Friday night, high on acid. He and his girlfriend, Caprice Gregoriou, 20, were intercepted as they attempted to break into Crazy Days Fun Park in Rosebud. They told police they wanted a ride on the ghost train. At the time of arrest, the pair wore giant love heart sunglasses and lycra skeleton suits. Constable Greg Francis claimed that Mr Haskell, 47, CEO of RockMe Enterprises in St Kilda, was loud and obnoxious. He became agitated when police would not lick the lollipop he offered, shouting obscenities and making offensive hand gestures. He was taken into custody with Ms Gregoriou. Court proceedings will commence against the pair in April.
Lydia sipped her tea. The pain in her arms and hands abated, and a slow smile spread on her lips. She felt calm, and supremely confident, as she rose and grasped her cane. In the bedroom, she retrieved a nylon dress bag from the back of the wardrobe and unzipped it. She undressed, and stepped into her wedding gown. It was going to be a fabulous day.