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MJA Dr Eric Dark Creative Writing Prize – Enough?

Winner, Practising and retired doctors category

Casey stared, expressionless, at the floor. The floor returned the favour. It was salmon pink linoleum, with flecks of grey. Her eyes lifted to where it met the cheery mint green walls. She wondered what sadist had decided to deck the place out in the upbeat garb of a 1960s ice-cream parlour. Her body suddenly lurched, without warning, and she vomited. Generously. Last night’s mushroom risotto cut a swathe across the salmon. That’ll show them what I think of their interior design efforts. She afforded herself a thin-lipped smile. “Woman crusades for muted tones in labour ward décor” . . . she could see the headlines now. She’d be a national bloody hero.

Unfortunately, there was no audience for her sarcasm here, for the spontaneous quips and sly witticisms that were such a hit with her social circle. She was completely alone. And she was uncomfortable. Not just from pain, although there was that, inexorably stronger and more frequent, grinding her forward to what seemed like the end. More upsetting was that she’d stuffed up, as usual, and generations of handed-down Irish-Australian pride had prevented her apologising. And so she was alone, here where she most needed not to be. He wasn’t coming. Not ever. The fear of the years stretched out ahead of her was real and uncomfortable. Pethidine…

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