Autumns wispy misty fingers calmly spiraled into those country lanes, leaves turned that last gasp green, fraying and splitting at the edges,dropping, drooping, the colours seeping, seeds and fruits hanging from those branches. There are berries, ripe, black and juicy, in the hedgerows, ripe rose hips and helicopters,winged seeds that will whirl and float through the air, dancing majestically through the sunbeams which filter through the leaves, through that mist. Like dancers in a smoky nightclub, the seeds gyrate, boogie down to the ground.
Up early, my wife drives us through the darkness to the station, I’ll catch the busy train. Kiss good bye, wish good luck. Into the hall, buy the ticket, down the subway, up the steps. The trains pulling in as I exit the subway, climbing up the steps. Platform full of people, doors, open, passengers get on and off.
I climb on into that sleepy carriage. Sit, close my eyes. People sit, listening to music, eyes closed.
The train pulls out, and in 20 minutes we arrive in Angers. Off the train. I stupidly struggle up the stairs outside, looking through the window at the escalator inside the station. That’s when the 80% handicap really hits home, at the top of those stairs. The sun is slowly peeking through, but its twilight, if that’s the right term for this morning gloom. I walk towards my job, the sprinklers are watering the grass which surrounds the pathways and the tramway lines. It’s a warm morning. I walk towards the classrooms, up three flights of stairs, as the lift isn’t working, and when I get there I realise I’ve left the timetables and class lists in the staff room. Back down the stairs, into the staff room. I grab the paperwork, head to the bathroom, clean up and then climb the mountain of stairs back to the class. I plug in my computer, take the register and explain the course outlines and tasks to the students. They need to do an oral presentation, a written test, a listening test, a conversation class and a final control.We decide when these things will take place, each student is allotted a day to do their oral. They must look at 3 adverts in English. Then we do some grammar, the past perfect. I show a power point, try to explain and then encourage the students to try to use it. I take down emails and send them internet links to practice plus the notes for today. They won’t look at them! They wander out after 2 hours, and the next group comes in, and as its the beginning of term, I run through those same things. I decide to look at the past perfect continuous with the second group, perhaps that’s easier. They try to use it, and I send emails with links again. They go.
I pack up, turn off the equipment and head out the door. Jelly legs, potter down those bare stairs, my wife’s waiting for me outside the university. I climb in we kiss, and head off to the clinic. We chat about our respective days. Days of glory, days of shame. We arrive at the clinic, but its the wrong door, so we follow a yellow line, like Dorothy and the scarecrow (I’m the scarecrow with no brain, my wife is Dorothy!). Dragging the wheely case after us. We get to the right door and I realise I’ve left some paperwork in my case in the car. My long suffering wife slowly plods back to get them, and I fill in the forms and book into the clinic.
We go to the room fairly quickly, I change into the sexy paper underwear and gown, the nurse comes to take my temperature and blood pressure, and after, I finish changing. We joke and my wife says she’ll never get the image of the paper pants out of her burning eyes! I drink a bitter clear liquid, to calm me.
My wife has to go back to work, and we hug and kiss. Ten minutes later I’m moved to another cart, wheeled off to theatre. A drip line is put into one arm, and the bitter tasting drug I drank before works its magic. A big light, a mask, my arm is cold suddenly, and then its off to sleepy land. I come round, they give me drugs for pain and nausea, and wheel me to my room. I call my wife, and they call a taxi, I eat breakfast (at 6PM!) and then I go home with the taxi.
My wife’s had to wait for the phone call 4 times in the last few months.She’s tired, worried, but happy to see me. Tomorrow is our little boy’s birthday. Think about that!