A Week In Which We Find Ourselves Incredibly Alive

Tuesday Is A  Calm Day
Peelings piled in a pot, hob-simmered; dots of herb leaf turning, jade flecks in amber convections. 
This onion, roasted to a sweet paste.
Bone stock brewed overnight, tucked into the Rayburn’s dinky oven.
This makes soup, a shimmering dark gold soup, edged in lemon zest, earthed with turmeric.
But we are so hungry we add rice, pale rice, carrot, broccoli, red leaf, a fresh shine of onion, orange lentils, tomatoes; all the colours slippery rich with good oils.
We put hot food in deep plates and we eat our feast outdoors.
At the end house the clearance men are working. We hear their chatter. The house is being emptied: we speak of it briefly, sadly.
Our lawn is mowed. The sun shines and the breeze does not steal that warmth.
In the polytunnel, flora is waking; we speak of this, the spring miracle, the full happiness of it.
There will be left overs for supper, we say, and this is how life should be.

Wednesday Is A Travel Day 
Our car becomes one of a mass in a road that is clotted, is sticky with traffic. There are hundreds of roads. We watch a red sun in our wing mirrors, arrive at night. In the B&B the carpets are light cream: what if we are trailing country mud? I wipe my feet more than should be necessary. The people are friendly, it counteracts the carpet. No more worries over soft furnishings: and we are hungry.
Today we will not cook but feast on steak served sizzling. Iron skillets on heat warped wooden serving plates: Mr says, ‘I could make that, something like that.’ We laugh. We drive around too many roundabouts till we find our lodgings again and somehow there’s a bottle of wine and we dare to drink red sat under white covers in our comfortable bed and watch a film on the little tv.
‘Dinner and a show,’ I say and this is funny too.
Midnight passes, sleep creeps. I dream that the alarm is sounding, wake up, confused, struggle back to sleep: repeat.

Thursday Is The Date For Surgery
The sky is flat grey, it almost looks as though it is missing.
Perhaps it is too early for sky. It sleeps.
The roads are busying.
We drive. It’s not far.
Mr is booked into his hospital room. The floor is wipe clean tiles, I note, the decor based on sage green. HIs blood pressure a little too high, nothing to be surprised about. He has a gown to model, a surgical stocking to roll on. I leave him to be glamorous and go back for breakfast.
Breakfast is generous. There is good conversation: it centres on education, martial arts, the grand outdoors, non-toxic foods. There is an extra pot of coffee.
Back to the car, I scan a map. Castle, not too far, perhaps: but I can’t think about castles. I want to be waiting at the hospital.
Room 32 has three chairs and me: bed and patient are away. Are in the theatre of surgery.
There’s no need to be nervous.
The procedure is progressive and straight forward: to take stem cells from a hip joint to regrow cartilage in his damaged knee; plus some standard arthroscopy.
Squirrels swing through spindly tree cover: I draw a picture of the trees on my phone, I didn’t know there was that on my phone and there’s no need to think about complications or the emptiness of the room.
He comes back to me, of course: not quite awake.
Anything that takes you from consciousness, I am thinking, it has that other world risk. Where did you go? And where you went, will it let you back? There is an element of magical journey to it. I keep guard because this grogginess represents a pull back to the other world. I am here to intervene. To check the right consciousness has returned.
His first words: ‘You’re here.’
He stares at the theatre nurses and their blue hair nets as they leave to find a ward nurse.
‘Who were they?’ he asks. He tries to hug me, nearly pulls out the IV line.
‘You’re here too,’ I say.
This is definitely the right one.
I take up a fitful watch on pushed together chairs, a tired relieved mind pondering on pleasant scenarios of an entirely beneficial universe.
Consciousness… the appreciation of consciousness… contentedness through appreciation of consciousness… something like that is how it would work…
The clock moves on. We are five hours away from our home.
Breakfast wears off around four in the afternoon. Then I think about biscuits.
The physiotherapist gives a brief lesson to a weary Mr. We are trusted with crutches. By five o’clock we are flagged to leave.
The drive home is not pleasant as such, only I do have Mr, and I do feel like a hero.

Friday Is Tired And Achy
I ache. Mr aches.
We wake up to watch the eclipse. Our eyes are safe from harm, thanks to the thickness of mist. We watch the mist darken, come back to light, it lifts to reveal a fine day.
Along the skirt of the hedge as I am walking with Dog, I find a rabbit skull. I put it in my pocket, the pocket of my red coat, zipped in, fragile bones in the red-dark.
It is reborn, in imagination, a wild ghost companion.
Spring bursts more marvels. I eat one primrose flower, leave the rest for chunky bees.
It feels as though I have defrosted from the winter earth, a seed able to sprout.
Mr is bored and encouraged: he longs for fit and well, fit and well is possible… in six months or so… six weeks on crutches… he practices his crutch control.
Dog gets happily under our feet.

Saturday Is Race Day.
Overtired, reluctant. Just want this over with. Would not even get in the car if it weren’t for that annoying team spirit.
This week is too much!
I get in the car. Quit is not today’s word. There’s 15 kilometres of muddy obstacles I need to get through. For some reason that I don’t entirely recall.
It looked like fun?
So, only partially crippled with nervously imagined disasters, I do join my team. And once the ordeal starts, you go with it. You remember how to be capable. How to find strength. How to accept and give help. How much fun mud is. The joy of doing what you didn’t expect. The happiness of a supportive crowd. How to love a pinch of sun in amongst the wind chill.
At the top of the rope: how scared I was! (This is me at the top of anything!)
A skip full of ice when you’re chattering your teeth out?
A lake of cold water?
Another dunk?
Here’s a slippery height, with a chance of rope burn!
(Mind says NO, body does it, inelegantly for certain, but IT IS DONE.)
The final climb was more challenged by inoperably cold hands than by height. Adorable strangers would not let me fail. From the top, I reached down to someone: maybe this was my favourite bit: to see how people turned to help before they celebrated their own triumph.
This evening, bruises are fantastic proofs. A hot shower gets peak appreciation.
Mr is a bit jealous and I admit to a small gloat.


Geo. said…
Lisa, or more appropriately --according to your profile introduction--Ma'am, because you are definitely teaching here: You have raised me from my own week of bumfuzzlement in appreciation of yours. I learn your "Rock Solid Run" exertions began well ahead of Saturday. So glad Mr.'s surgery went well and understand perfectly his effort to say simply through anesthetic haze, "You're here." Thanks for the lesson.
Lisa, I was really touched by this. Your writing always has a way of going straight to my bones. Glad to hear that the Mr.'s surgery was a success and here is to a calmer week ahead...
Dixie@dcrelief said…
Lisa, you have a way of helping me feel, see, taste, and touch your life's experiences. I fumbled at the mud and wine of the B&B.

By all, YOU are here - is the perfect statement. I do want our partner, friend, "Mr" returned.

I send warm wishes for his recovery and your own regain of strength and spirit. (smile)
Lisa Southard said…
Week pleasantly hectic so far, hoping for a few hours of quiet tomorrow! Thank you all for such lovely comments and kindly wishes. Mr recovering well, in much less pain now than prior to op. My body is proving surprisingly resilient, it's my cognitive function that's collapsed...

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