The Smell of Rain

It’s such a gorgeous smell, that first rain after a period of warm, sunny days. The wet drops ooze into the pavements and roads, melding with dry dust. It smells of summer with all that promise of idleness and sitting, eyes closed, face up to the sun.

If feels better if I yield. There is nothing to be done but wait. He may not even have the operation. The consultant (Such a nice bloke, I really like him, he told me over the phone) said that his artery is unusually narrow which might make ‘cleaning’ it impossible. He was honest with him, without the op the likelihood of a stroke is high. He expresses his fears, mainly for me. I don’t want you to be lumbered, he said. What can I say? I love you, I said, we’ll do whatever has to be done. And yet, he is also sanguine. After the raging at the delay, the lack of order, the chaos, he calms down and acquiesces moving with the hospital-day, eating the food they bring, still getting the puddings (though they are supposed to deny him those – Apple crumble and custard last night, he said) and reading four papers. I have to get the Telegraph too, he said. And there is the compensation of a Costa Coffee, where he ambles down to after breakfast to read the paper, have coffee and a pain au raisin. It is the new drugs, they increase the appetite. The doctor did warn him. Eat fruit, the bumph inside the pill box advises. He calls me from one of the various waiting rooms with ‘comfy chairs’ bemoaning the fact that everyone who passes him seems to have had a stroke. And there’s another one, he says.  The conversations he gets into with other patients in these rooms or in Costa are all about their ailments, naturally. He broke off our conversation to say goodbye to the man from here. He’s going home with his gall bladder still intact. The woman on the couch/bed next to him is also diabetic. She wasn’t given the crumble, apparently. No, she had rice pudding, he said, you know, in a pot. When he called last night a nurse interrupted him to say that they’ve got a bed for him in a ward. He sounded pleased. A proper bed. I hope he slept better. A CT scan today, then a chat with the consultant, and then who knows? Will we still go to London, make the film, see K.? She wrote so kindly about my story, using the word honour. I needed that. Someone reaching out through the vacuum.

Walking down the hill from work I watched two little girls playing on scooters. The smallest of the two and clearly the boldest was whizzing down the hill with her bottom on the footrest, her hands reaching up precariously to the handlebars, while steering her descent with her feet. She was fast. The other girl seemed reluctant to follow her. Then gathering the courage she did so, screaming out ‘Bloody Hell!’ as she sped down.