I had decided, this morning, that I would stop writing about my illness. I was getting bored with it, and it must have been awful for you.
!I am still stuck in the house and all that stuff, so I knew I wouldn’t be writing about the woods, or the flowers, or the birds. I have to face it . . . this autumn is going to pass me by.
The rugby World Cup is happening at the moment, and I have some amusing tales about rugby from my schooldays. I would write a post about rugby.
How off-piste and topical.
I would just walk to the end of the street before settling down to batter the keyboard. It was sunny, and the air smelled of earth. I opened the gate; I had exchanged my slippers for trainers. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was in training.
I took one careful step. That was all.
It was as though I had a phantom leftleg. It felt nothing as my weight shifted on to it. When my foot touched the ground there was nothing there. I had no bones or muscles or nerves or matter of any kind.
It was as if I had tried to stand on water.
As I fell, I kept my head up. I’ve learned to do that. One day . . . one fall . . . the technique will fail, or the fall will be too sudden, and that will be it. What an anti-climax to a life!
I lay on my back, head up and arms flailing, like a beetle from a Kafka tale. Only my right leg was putting up anything like a fight; the left had metamorphosed into a phantom jelly.
And then the indignity of not being able to get up, and the pathetic picture of a grown man kneeling on the ground and falling over, again and again, as though very drunk or as if battered by waves on a shoreline.
Which, in a way, I was.
On a shoreline, that is . . .
And then two neighbours gripped me from behind and lifted me to the gate. It feels humiliating, this kindness, although, of course, it’s not.
I thank them and reassure them, as they watch me stagger to the door. Why am I unable to look at them? There is something very primitive about shame, even when every step hurts. Through the bruises I smile and say I’m fine. I just need a cup of tea.
So my rugby World Cup post is usurped by my body, and I am left here wondering why I am writing what I write, and pondering a very scary future.