On this morning 11 years ago I woke around six am. Nerves had commanded the night and I had had a fitful sleep.
McDad and I were up and dressed in super time and the taxi arrived as booked. He had booked an executive car and we were whisked along on plush leather seats to our fate.
When we arrived our hero of the past few months was in shock ‘are you still carrying that thing around!’ she exclaimed.
‘For my sins’ I replied
The original core of the building was from 1890. Crowed in a side street; the view was limited. Not much could be expected for central London. The corridors were lined with history, floor tiles smoothed with age, walls tiled with brown.
The room was sterile with wipeable surfaces and plastic coated chairs. But it was comfortable enough and we settled in for the long haul with a little music and a cup of tea.
Strangers popped in and out all morning, listening, adjusting, asking and poking. Our Hero’s time was up and so she said a quick goodbye and zoomed off home to bed.
The work was hard and the peaks were so very high. The little needle moving so far over to the right that the lack of profanity and the calm were considered as marvels.
The assisted kick off was at 8am but buy noon hunger had set in so McDad wondered off to McDonalds. He returned with fries and a tale of how he had got into a scuffle with someone in line.
Little did I know that this was how every important event with him would be tainted in some way by his aggression.
Quite frankly, on this morning I didn’t care. I was frying bigger fish.
I was asked to become a subject.
Oh yes anything to take my mind off it. I was welcoming and curious.
‘Yes, I have eaten’
‘No the pain seems the same’
‘Be my guest, have a look/prod/feel/poke/listen’
We looked inside and our excitement translated to tears.
Hours passed and we all stayed put. Exactly where we were when we entered.
No one and nothing moved.
Future stubbornness was called into question.
They came and conferred at the mouth of the room.
‘We could break shoulders and pull’ they suggested.
Those words washed past me, floating on a haze of pethidine.
McDad snatched them up and buried them outside the room.
The hands marched forward, tick, tock.
Exhausted and frail my bodyfellow and I withered.
Finally the big chief came along and declared war.
‘You have no choice now’ he said
‘We’re going in’
‘Get up and walk’
And so I did, the short journey long and arduous.
Every step a challenge,
A fight with exhaustion,
A mountain of pain.
Finally there I sat on the edge, McDads’ hands covered mine and he asked me to ‘breathe in, look straight into my eyes’
The room a flurry and blue activity as the hole sunk and the numbness rose like a wave from my core outward.
I lay down and the tugging and pulling began.
McDad held my head in the crook of his arm. ‘Don’t look around; just look at me’ he whispered.
But I saw fear there and smiled
Then the shakes set in and teeth rattled and rattled.
Then it was over and he looked from one to the other.
Hesitating not knowing who to be with.
‘Its okay’ a blue said, hand on his shoulder. ‘They’ll be fine’
‘Go’ I said ‘please’
‘Count fingers and toes’
And so at 10.40pm the blues sewed while we laughed with relief.