a suburban practice
The collection of cups leaning into each other in a heap on the sink rattle as a Sandringham bound train rumbles over us. The train;s wheels thumping rhythmically as they pass through a switch in the tracks.
His office, a warren of dingy beige rooms, is under the elevated tracks at Gardenvale station.
Above the sink in the back corner of the front office, I notice a small hole in the wall surrounded by a rectangular patch of undulled paint. The framed photograph that once hung there now leans against the wall directly beneath its corresponding patch of painted plaster.
He speaks with his back to me as he stirs a third spoonful of blend 43 into a steaming cup.
The bastards at the post office - rezoned me - changed me address - I had to tell me clients me address is in bloody east broyton - they wont deliver me mail if it says gaaardenvale - Problem is - me clients wont come to east bloody broyton!
The word "Milk!" is scrawled across today's date on the calendar taped to the fridge door. The white-toothed smile straddling the bikini-clad calendar girl's face is strangely understated. The name of a local Panel Beater appears in a far too formal serifed font between her bare feet and the rows of dates defining August.
He doesn't sniff the milk carton's contents before adding a long dash to my cup.
There's a bus stop in front of his office. A group of students wait to catch the North Road bus to Monash. The frosted front window blends their shapes and shadows. The blur of the glass averages out any unique personal traits into a neutral, backpacked, blue-jeaned mass.
I hear the coffee cup slide across the laminex desk towards me. His computer's disk drive had been grinding away constantly, shuffling its contents between sectors in a vain attempt to find more space. The computer's exhaust fan drones as it blows hot air across my cup, rippling the surface of the over milked coffee.
From the street the hiss of air brakes, a bus arrives, the blur of bodies cluster at the door and slowly file on board. Through the open front door I can see a fresh batch of scholastic hopefuls streaming down the ramp from the station, they become part of the blur and disappear into the idling bus, an Eastrans 630, it pulls away from the curb as a city bound train rumbles over our heads.
The unsniffed milk has gone lumpy in my cup, the chalky chunks blown to the southern rim by the computer generated breeze.
The bikini girl's smile seems widened, the reason for her curious expression now made more clear.
The calendar on the fridge is five years old.