Clinician

I was thrown a little yesterday. It is always the same when I have to work at the weekend. The usual world-order is cast awry. I felt out of sorts. They were nice enough, but I was an oddity, and the language separated us, as it usually does. I did my sewing regardless. After a while it balanced me, grounded me. But my foot swelled. Then there was the football game. He watched it during supper, his iPad resting on the table in front of him. So I did the crossword alone. There were just three we couldn’t do. (England’s win meant he could take over halfway through.) One was a music one, ending in o. The other two were a doctor who works directly with patients and something that separates. We couldn’t get them. Surely all doctors work with patients, he said. Not if they’re doing research, I said. No, I suppose not, he said. I was in bed when they came. He’d just left me and I called out to him. It’s clinician, I said. And spacer.

The Prom was busy this morning. People leaving the clubs. Mostly middle-aged couples though there were a few young ones. A strong smell of fried chicken hung near the Pier Pressure night club out of which the music throbbed. A group of kids walked past me. A blonde girl in an orange boob tube was shouting to her friends. Do you remember when we went on a club-crawl and then we had a fight….

Someone had pitched a tent on South Beach with a wind sheet next to it. Voices were coming from the tent. Oh, my God, said a female voice, that’s amazing.

The perfume emanating from the honeysuckle, elderflower, lavender and petunias carried me along. I hold myself so tight with the discomfort of my sprained foot. But I need to be out, moving and experiencing the dawning day.

Turning down the road towards the station I can hear someone running behind me. I look round several times. Its a man in a hoodie. Is he out jogging? I let him run ahead of me and then watch as his foot misses the pavement and turns over.

Are you OK? I ask, stopping.

I think I’ve twisted my ankle, he says.

Have you far to go? I ask.

No, he says. I was just fetching some wood for our fire, he says as he hobbles towards some bags of kindling that had been laid against a wall. I’ll be alright, he says.

When he said fire I’d imagined a wood burner in a kitchen or living room. Then it dawned on me, he meant a fire on the beach. I’d seen a group around some embers, one with a grey trilby.

I’ve printed out Psalm 23. We listened to it on the Midwife. It is beautiful and so comforting. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

The rooks scrap and screech outside. We hear them scratching on our roof.

The morning breaks and the day is going to be lovely. Sewing and HT’s quilt beckons. As always I’ve no idea what I am doing. But it is a gift. It is what I can give. My time. Make it lovely. Make it divine. Amen to that.