The screech of the electronic doors closing sounds and the train pulls out of the station. Like everybody else in this carriage my brain is locked in a void and my nose is streaming. I sat back and absorbed the smells and unhappiness. Charles Dickens would have recognised this odour of the streets. I felt quite at home myself. As it happens, I have been reading 'The Lost Books Of The Odyssey' a remarkable take on the Greek saga. I also memorized every station between Flinders Street and Frankston.
Eva wasn’t impressed by my recall. “When did you become such an arsehole?”
I gave a little laugh. Eva is 26 years old. She was eight years into an Arts degree at Melbourne University and got knocked up. She is a regular customer. Who could make sense of that? I joked that I had Stockholm syndrome; I had come to love my clients regardless of non-payment. I gave Eva details on why she’s an angry person who has to accept this and be patient and let her feeling of anger pass. To illustrate my counsel I tell her the story of Odysseus. How Odysseus understood how weak human will-power actually was when he asked his crew to bind him to the mast while navigating beside the sirens.
Willpower was something you can never have enough of?
Eva sat scowling and jabbing her arm repeatedly with a fountain pen till she drew blood. I grabbed the pen from her. I draw the line at self-harm.