Waiting For The Therapist

 

There is a babble. It sounds

like ears stuffed with cotton wool.

The receptionists are pleasant but

maybe they don’t want us

to become lost property.

 

Wonder if they feel superior – winning

conkers on this crisp, Autumn

day as we are leaves scattered on

the ground, already trodden

into mulch.

 

 

 

39 Degrees

39 degrees

 

Today I could cook my breakfast

on the pavement, spitting there,

between the doc ends and

discarded cheap-lager cans. Save

 

on the energy bills, al fresco

cuisine – dine with the homeless. The

eggs would gaze up at me like that

woman’s breasts sweating in her

 

Lycra, skimpy top. The sun has

hit pasty limbs hanging from

cheap shorts, chests bared to

the air – Men thinking that is

 

what we women want to see, as

we point, and ponder unbaked

baguettes. 39 degrees and we

are pink cuts on a butcher’s slab.

 

 

Glimpses Part II

I tousle my fingers between the faded photographs and rest my eyes upon a couple in the Neonatal ICU. Their faces beam, as the mother cradles a tiny baby, beside an incubator. It was the first time I had been able to hold my son, after his traumatic birth.

I recall very clearly. It was a long night. I had been in labour for many hours, my husband at my side. I had coped with the gas and air until my pelvis was an air raid in Syria, then resorted to an epidural. Needles inserted into my spine were more palatable than the penetrating waves of my shrapnel womb.

Many hours had passed, and still my baby kept his debutant entry an uncertainty. I was sick of the midwife poking me in areas best left in darkness, but this time there was a sense of urgency. His oxygen levels had dipped dangerously low and almost immediately there were announcements over the tannoy, alerting the medics to the need for an emergency caesarean.

Everything happened so dramatically, and I felt like a character in an episode of Casualty. Doctors in green gowns peered beneath the blanket that was preventing me from watching them slice into my pelvis. I am not perturbed by blood and felt disconnected from the moment of my son’s birth. My husband had barely had time to put on the ‘scrubs’ before the doctor yanked my son free from the womb that was suffocating him, smattered with blood and white, waxy vernix.

I waited for briny lungs to protest, and the room to fill with stridence but the silence was a requiem. The trepidation was tangible. I do not know what happened in those missing moments. Perhaps my baby wasn’t breathing at all. Perhaps the doctor had to resuscitate his weary lungs, thinking there would be another angel that night.

I only saw my son for a second, swaddled in blankets, big eyes taking in his new world. I knew there was a fighter within, that he would get through any obstacle life would hurl at him. He was whisked into an incubator and left to cook, while I was left to nurse a bruised womb.

It (a poem)

My son is struggling at the moment with school anxiety. This is for him...


*It*

Another photo – kid in school uniform - 
new ribbons in plaits doused in nit repellant
Smart hair £8 at the foreign barber’s in town

*Insert shop label* (elitist?)
*Insert school* (abbatoir?)
*Insert toothpaste brand* (fake toothy smile?)

I am not allowed to refer to *it* (school) - that hellhole
I am screamed down, sworn at; *it* demonised

*it* is not a quirky grin on your face when you get home
*it* is not a spring to your heels as you see the bus
*it* is not a babble of news about your day of learning

Maybe you will stream through the door
This morning, like the sun yawned til you woke
Maybe chirp, ‘love you, you loon’…

Put on your uniform, slick your hair
Guzzle pop-tarts for breakfast, cup of cha
Smile, ‘bye mum,’ as you hop on the bus

Maybe not…









Glimpses, Part 1

‘Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.’ – Oscar Wilde

It is a clear, bright day, the sky blue with the slightest smattering of cirrus. There is a nip in the air. A blackbird flirts its song between the sparse-limbed trees, which loom like skeletons. I ponder the coming of Spring; the freshness of the breeze tousling my hair as I meander through woodland paths, smattered with bluebells and ‘a host of golden daffodils’.

I cradle my steaming coffee as I dawdle away time, revelling in the past. There is an old pile of photographs on the table, a cornucopia of memories; fleeting glimpses of moments in my life when I felt something more than I feel now. I let my fingers brush

across a face beaming out of the photograph I now hold. It was the last one I ever took of my husband, John. Tears well in my eyes. I am drowning in a memory so powerful that I feel I will choke on my heart.

I remember clearly. He was sitting on his bed in the hospital in Newcastle, awaiting a heart transplant. A handsome man with sparkling topaz eyes and an endearing smile. He was the bravest person I had ever known, and the pain he had physically endured was lesser than the pain of losing his son. But that day, I think he knew. Tears slipped down his cheeks, as his body shook from fear. I slipped my hand beneath his cold, wizened fingers, and gathered up my strength. Being given a new heart was both a promise and a question.

‘It’s a new start, darling,’ I said.

‘I know, but I am so scared,’ he stuttered.

One week later, people loitered, mingling, and eating stale vol au vents. We were reflecting on what a great guy my grandfather was. He had died, aged 92, a lonely man by choice. He hadn’t wanted a fancy funeral, but you cannot say goodbye with a full stop at the end of an empty sentence. I had always been the dependable one. A bit eccentric, but reliable. Everything had been organised down to a tee, with the voice of his beloved Vera Lynne waving him off into the cremation fires. I heard the shrill tone of my mobile phone.

‘Hello?’

‘Mrs Drury? It’s the ward sister from the Freeman hospital. I’m afraid you need to come quickly. John had a haemorrhage and is really very poorly.’

I was in Hull, a four-hour train journey from my husband’s hospital in Newcastle. I had to hastily make my apologies, leave the funeral, and rush to the station. I was praying it wasn’t too late. We needed a miracle. John had cheated death so many times.

The train journey seemed infinite. Each clackety-clack of the wheels on the endless track marked off the seconds of his existence. The nearer I got to Newcastle, the further away it seemed.

When I walked into the ICU, a cacophony of bleeping machines was keeping my husband alive. He looked like a sleeping cadaver, white, motionless, and punctured with needles and tubes. His flesh was a canvas of blue, green, and purple. I knew he was a ghost, no longer here. A lone nurse gazed at me, with sorrow. I felt his empathy.

‘Are you ready, Mrs Drury?’ he whispered, gently.

‘Yes,’ I choked. I sat beside John, cherishing this last moment together. Love was infused in memories playing in my mind. The nurse flicked the switch, and my husband’s heart stopped. The silence was the loudest sound I had ever heard.