Yesterday was cold. Melbourne cold. The kind that makes your cheeks flare red, that on a good day makes you feel more alive, as if the crisp air is clearer and lighter so that somehow you can see further in it. Yesterday was not a good day. It wasn’t a bad day either, but it wasn’t good. On a good day I have certain absences: loneliness, discontent, anxiety, that old companion melancholy, none of them are there to push their way past my breastbone, to stain all my comings and goings with uncertainty.
Yesterday the cold air ate its way through my bright purple jumper. My scarf and gloves did little to hold off the feeling of being coated in a fine ice. Sparrow was royally warm in his four layers and hat, tucked under a blanket, a rain and wind cover turning his pram into a capsule of warmth. I pushed him past the lake and tried to be pleased at the sight of ducks. I found the building where Research Services lives quickly and easily. There was a lift, and a toilet, and warm air. See? It’s all running smoothly. There was no one else there to enroll. This was not the cattle call of undergrad land. An easy form to sign while Sparrow beamed and dribbled. Anxiety plucking at my chest. Another easy walk to Student Services. Again no other students. No money to change hands. Photo taken, card printed. Done. Enrolled. Is there a student graduate association? Blank looks. There used to be, don’t know if there still is, umm… Oesophagus clenching, worry wriggling in my stomach. I am far better at all of this than joy or hope. I had come from a uni with a whole building for grad students, with an extremely active student association, with, with, with. With all the facilities a girl could want, but not the supervisors I need. I sat in a hard black chair and looked out at the empty lawn. Breastfed Sparrow and read the student diary. Tried not to feel as bleak as the day.