Marooned By Libbie Nelson

Dad pointed at the huge square air duct on the roof of the hospital as a couple of pigeons landed on it.

‘There is shit all over that,’ he said. ‘That’s the air we’re all breathing.’

He shook his head. I’d never noticed the pigeon shit before even though I’d been in for my initial consultation and pre-op appointments.

Inside, Inpatients reception sent us upstairs. Upstairs they sent us back downstairs because I needed to have a blood test. After that we went back upstairs. I was given a hospital gown, told to take out any hair elastics that had metal on them, asked if I had on any nail polish or make-up, and told to get changed and then wait in the waiting room to the left.

‘Public system can’t get their act together,’ Dad said after two hours in waiting rooms and corridors. I wondered whether I should send him home but as soon as I thought that a heavy sack of nerves settled in my stomach. I felt like a kid again. I was starving, too.

‘I don’t think I’ve been his hungry before,’ I said to Dad. I wasn’t allowed to eat anything that morning.

‘I’m hungry too. Do you mind if I go get some lunch from the shop?’

‘It’s fine. I just don’t know when they’re calling me in though, so you might miss me,’ I said.

He said okay and gave me a big hug.

‘You’ll be right mate. Don’t be nervous.’

I said okay and watched him as he piled up my clothes and walked out.

I looked up at the TV and watched a garden improvement show with no sound.

in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Her stories have appeared in Antipodes, Going Down Swinging, Voiceworks and Wet Ink, as well as online for The Literarian and Verity La.

See Libbie's profile.


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