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Un Magazine 9.1

Dream Ward

Katherine Botten

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2/27

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the entire floor is a bath. the elevator opens up and you just step down into the bath. its about the size of five bedrooms. the roof and walls are painted blue black with the lighting installed to look like the milky way. it stretches across all of the ceiling. i am floating on my back with my arms and legs stretched out. i pretend i am the island of Australia looking up at the stars. after three hours i am bored of bopping around in the Giant Floor Bath and float over to the elevator. I get out of the water and put on a cotton robe. embroidered on the robe is a picture of a bee eating a bee. Its freaky. the elevator is glass and smells corporate, it wiggles on the way up, makes you want to grab onto the interior railing. it takes a while to get to the floor i’m staying on, in the sky. outside the Dream Ward its 29 degrees, the wind is warm and gentle, later there’s a storm coming in. from up so high you can’t see the front. I imagine a huge grey rectangle, a kilometre over the city, closing in. i do a breathing exercise and I imagine the strength of my exhale pushing the storm front away. Now it sits over the Dandenong Ranges. I’m very thin, in my black one piece under my robe, dripping on the marble tiles. all the patients are staring at me because i’m radiant. i am absolutely loving being in the Dream Ward. everything i need is here. Although this is a luxurious hotel they don’t let you outside, so it’s filled with palm trees and other native ferns. Some areas of the Dream Ward look like an expensive business waiting room, other areas look like dormitories. Some time ago I asked them to paint the walls light pink and they did. Every now and then I forget the walls are painted light pink, I get confused and think i’m in my bedroom or at my grandma’s in Port Willunga. I fall into all sorts of daydreams because in between bathing and the Dream Ward Cafe i get so bored. I’m at the Star of Greece restaurant, my table is outside on the patio, right above the cliff, overlooking the ocean. i’m drunk. i feel calm and beautiful. I ask for more blankets and go to sleep. At night when I wake up i scan the room and if i find someone watching me I tell them to leave immediately. They give you so much stuff to slow you down here it takes me twenty minutes to lift my head. They don’t want anyone suffering. I wonder who has stayed in this bed before and how fucked up they were; i try and channel their energies and tap out. In the steam room I burn my wrists off using the steam jet and get banned. I can no longer write so I dictate to my secretary: ‘I’m not letting anyone visit me anymore, it’s too distracting. I’m just typing away in TextEdit to get this trauma tourism commission done so I can truly focus on my health. drown in a steam room. swim in my black one piece. i have a shiny red pedicure. i have a beautiful tan. i drink 10L of water a day. In the hospital cafe everything is free. Vegan zucchini spaghetti, Bonsoy chai lattes, organic blueberry sauce on rice pudding.’ My arms grow back but I keep the hotel appointed secretary, she is by my side every hour of the day, anything I want her to do she will. I tell her I want my dad to give me one million dollars and she negotiates the transaction on my behalf. I love her. I can’t remember what day it is, or when the last time I bathed was, so I go to take a hot shower on the skydeck and she comes with. Just before we get out of the elevator Isuddenly panic, I want her to stop holding my arm and I don’t know if she thinks she’s getting a cut of the money. We walk out to the edge of the infinity pool and crossover on the clear bridge. This is my moment I think, I push her off the edge of the skydeck. My hair is long. I wear tight fitting white silk dresses. All the hotel guests stare at me because I am perfect. In the Dream Ward my grandma comes and visits me all the time. She sits next to me in the cafe while I work on various Art things, like proposals and grants. She accompanies me to appointments. We talk about memories growing up, when I was in Law School, when I was at Art School, when I was at Art School again. No one else in the family talks to me after I published my tell-all book. My grandma loved it and continues to support my practice. When visiting hours are over she signs out and blows me a kiss. After she leaves I feel lonely. I remember my old secretary. You have to carefully monitor every decision and choice you make in life. everything is unstable. No one truly truly loves me and at some point everyone will leave me. i want to read about all the people who know family isn’t everything, that wish that that were true but know that its not. families create rich tapestries to help frame abuse. i am hurting. my family is nothing more than a bank to me. I’m lying on my king sized bed in my private room. It’s big, and has an ensuite and balcony. The interiors are mostly white, the carpet is plush, and the furniture is a contrasting rich dark wood. I can hear cars passing by outside and beeping, late night city traffic. its 3AM. I take a Seroquel XR and go back to the Giant Floor Bath.

Katherine Botten