IT IS USUAL for The Disappointed to come in pairs, but Bonnie always comes alone. In the small, overheated waiting room, she sits not with a partner but with her carefully chosen tools of disappearance, one of which is a novel. In the early days, with a certain amount of levity, she selected a book called Ripeness Is All, thinking that by the time she had finished it she would no longer need to attend these meetings of The Disappointed. But that was half a bookshelf ago, and today Bonnie is likely to finish The Hours before it is her turn to proceed into the room with the stirrups.
If she does finish her book, though, it won’t matter. Because she also has her iPod, loaded with eight albums of ambient European melancholia. She likes to press the earphones deep into her ears and turn up the volume until music fills her skull, precisely, leaving no room for thought. It is her habit, behind closed eyelids, to allow her eyeballs to roll skywards with soaring saxophones or dart about with funky, minor-key arpeggios, and on a few occasions the summoning nurses have had to shout. It’s high-grade disappearance, this. But it has come at a cost: she can no longer listen to the original CDs in any other context, each track now an aural short cut to the humiliation and sadness of this tiny, crowded room.
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