This one day, I’m up a tree cursing fighting ripping destroying (and I’d like a career in conservation) when this short fat branch shaped like the needle of a syringe springs up and spikes me right in the eye. My head snaps back and my hand shoots up to my face. I’m blinking blinking – Fuck, my eye, it’s still there?! BLINKING. Arghhhh! I’m blind!
For the next two days my eye weeps constantly, constantly dribbles down my cheek, and you know how your nose always runs when your eyes water? I’m constantly snivelling too. It hurts. I can feel IT against the inside of my eyelid EVERY TIME I close my eye.
Whatever it is in there, I can’t see it or get it out. I remember sitting alone in the dining hall feeling sorry for myself when this German girl sits down opposite me. She’s pretty and we get to talking and the whole entire time there are tears streaming down the left side of my face.
Anyhow, a couple of days later, I’ve had enough. We’re in an orchard. It’s early in the morning and the sky is a perfect infinite blue, as if often is here. I find Mike, tell him what happened. Then I go to the outhouse and start shooting saline solution into my eye again …and what do you know, it’s gone! I can see again! Huzzah!
I get back to work, happy relieved appreciating everything once more, for a couple of hours anyway.
We’re sending you to the doctor.
I think I’m ok now, Mike.
So, there I am stood in a tastefully decorated waiting room with my dirty clothes hanging off my depleted body. The surgery is in a retail park in Shepparton. A family sits nearby, curiously eyeing me up and down. I’m called in.
The doctor is Chinese. I tell him what happened and he tells me to lie down so he can take a look. His eyes are bug-sized through his optometrist glasses and he moves his face towards mine then away in short staccato movements. Towards away towards away I’m trying not to laugh.
Hmmm, hmmmm, uh huh…
Seems ok to me.
He drops some antibiotic onto my eyeball and it burns it burns so much it starts crying again.
I leave his office and go to the pretty receptionist, ask if she can call me a cab, tell her my employer should cover it. She says it’ll be $50. She asks if I have a return to work note from the doctor.
I slap my forehead.
I go back to the doctor’s office his door is closed.
I open the door and he’s sat there with the mother of the family and he’s squeezing one of her naked air bags. They both turn to me in the doorway, all of us with our eyes shocked wide open.
I close the door and walk away.
They don’t ask for a note back at the farm.