Thursday, January 11, 2018

Another kind of manhood

If you end up having to sleep in the daycare ward, they wake you at six. They turn on all the lights and make you get up: because the night staff have to have all the beds made up by the time the day staff come on duty at 7.30.

So I got dressed and packed and moved across to the day room, where I was sitting in a geriatric chair trying to eat a breakfast, hospital tea, hospital toast, and rice crispies, wearily trying to stop myself listening to the conversation of the men all sitting together the other side of the room.

They were all complaining. They all gave the impression that they really all knew better than everyone else else what a bad state the world was in and if only they had been given a chance they would fix it.

All except one man who was sitting silent, and who suddenly turned blue about the lips, keeled over and fainted.

He soon recovered and said he was sorry.

He was moved over to a bed and the others carried on their conversation as if nothing had happened. But you could tell they were frightened. They just couldn't talk about it. One of them was speaking about a time he'd tried that full strength cider, and it tasted disgusting, and when he got out he was going to try to go to the pub.

None of them went over to see how he was, including me. He represented something we were all afraid of.

I felt bad about this, and was glad when later on in the morning we ended up being wheeled to the same locations - X Ray, and ECG - and were briefly in the same place just long enough to exchange a few words.

He still wasn't saying much. He was being stoical. He felt a bit embarrassed at causing trouble.

I felt I knew him very well. He was the kind of man I was brought up to be.

I was happy to be able to smile at him and wish him well. His whole face lit up. He had a beautiful smile.

And then we were taken off to different destinations. I wonder how he is.

I hope he's well.
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