Sport 43: 2015
Last night a woman offered to give me an injection against crossness and frustration. She was wearing those thick 50s wingtip glasses and her hair was rolled back in complicated neatness. I guessed she knew what she was doing. Up close I could see the cat flick at the corner of each eye caught in a fringe of lines, and the clumping of mascara. The ritual began . . . cut-out map pieces of continents and countries were arranged on a formica table in their proper formations. Just think, she said, shunting Brazil into place, of the disruption we could be causing . . . tsunamis up and down Africa. She placed a small, white birthday candle between Europe and Asia, and lit it. Being indoors, the orange flame stood straight up, just wait, she said, for an easterly, holding up a wetted finger. The flame veered west suddenly as if a small child were puffing at it for a wish and Spain leapt sideways with it as it has done many times before. I was worried, imagining tiny people grabbing up glasses of wine and clutching at tables as their afternoon jolted like a kicked hammock, shouting NOT AGAIN! Next, the woman pulled out a small wooden hammer, like a meat tenderiser, and began preparing my left hand by lightly pounding it. On the underside, the knots at the base of my thumb gave way with pops and clicks; on the top, the hammer sprang away from small bones at awkward angles. Finally she drew the injection and flicked it like they do in the movies. She applied it to that vein running along the narrow bone of my middle finger and into my wrist, next to the trapezoid. I lifted up like a kite away from my body and migrated, with the wind, to Spain. My body arrived somewhat belatedly, sweating, and looking resentfully at my pitcher of Sangria; we hugged, pleased to see each other again. Bright circles of paper lanterns rustled between leaves; the night was opening up.