As the train doors close at Melbourne Central, a family push their way on.
A single, solitary drip falls from the father. It isn’t raining; they aren’t carrying anything.
Parliament station. Where did the drip come from? I stare at the drip trying to work out what it is. Panic grows in my chest.
Richmond station. Waves of nausea. My hands clench. The drip glistens.
East Richmond station. What is wrong with me?! Why can’t I look away? Why is the drip stressing me so much?!
Burnley station. The edge of the drip is drying. I need to get off this train. Can I get off the train at Burnley and still make it to my appointment on time? The next few trains don’t stop at Burnley. But if I stay here with the drip, I’m going to lurch into full-on panic attack.
Hawthorn station. I’m still on the train. The drip is still there. I close my eyes. The drip is still there. I slow my breath. The drip is still there.
Glenferrie station. This is my stop. But the drip is between me and the door. I need to get off the train but I am frozen. Do I have time to move to the next carriage to use a different door? No. I have to cross the drip. I breathe in. I stare at the floor to avoid standing on the drip.
I’m off the train. I can breathe out. My whole body shakes.
I meet my friends and have a coffee. They don’t know about the battle with the drip. But it’s almost two weeks on and the drip still scares me.