Above Us Only Sky

Imagine there's no heaven...

Tom has lots of time on his hands when he falls ill, he looks back at his short life, contemplating and try to fathom out what went wrong in his world when everything comes crashing down.

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7. Chapter Seven

We all wish for things to happen quicker than they should, whether it’s getting to be an adult or Christmas coming along, sorry too early to mention the C word but hey. We get excited or anxious when it seems to be taking an indomitable amount of time for these events or milestones to be reached. I remember as a little boy staying up one Christmas Eve, sorry the C word again I do apologise, wanting the day to dawn so I could get my presents. My dad actually got dressed as Santa to put my sack at the bottom of my bed. Luckily I had fallen asleep by then or I might have wet the bed with excitement.

Anyway laid in a bed in hospital means that all you want to do is get out and go home. It’s the one thought that drives you forward. If you’re home, you’ll feel better and can get on with your life, or at least that’s the theory. In practice, you never realise how weak and ill you are until you actually try to do the physical stuff. Laying in a bed lulls you into a false sense of security, making you feel better than you really are.

So I lied, well convinced them I was better than I was. I suspect not completely but they were I guess happy to get the bed back. So a week after the operation I was home, safe in my familiar surroundings with the nurse coming in daily to change my dressing. When you’re been under complete scrutiny for a week, just being able to pick your nose is a wonderful thing, not that I pick my nose, if I did I might have picked something different. So it’s a real joy to actually be on my own, well at first anyway. Then you start to have doubts about things, sudden stabbing pains make me believe that something’s wrong inside me, tightness in the chest is translated as a heart attack. I mean, it’s ridiculous right, but when you’re alone those fears run roughshod over everything. I struggled a lot but at least my flower child is there at the end of the phone, texting me, taking away the thoughts.

I had three days at home before I started to get ill again. It was a slow process, a few sniffles at first, like a summer cold, then I developed a cough that was just a niggle at the start but then in a short time gave the impression that I’d morphed into a seal. My temperature rose and tiredness set in. My flower child was on holiday and I didn’t want to worry her, making an excuse that I was tired and retiring to bed. During the night, my breathing got worse. Ever breath I took was hard work, I slipped in and out of consciousness not really knowing where I was. In the lucid moments I panicked thinking, melodramatically as usual, that every lungful of air I took in would be my last. My temperature rose and my bed became a wet mass of sheets.

In the middle of the night, my sister frightened about my condition, phoned for an ambulance. I had vague memories of being carted downstairs and into the back, the whiteness of the light inside, the mask over my face, aiding me to breath, the cold air rushing into my lungs. Then I blacked out. I woke up in a ward, oxygen mask on, those awful beeping machines connected to my body and a drip in my hand again. You have no idea how frightening this was, the feeling that you’re on the edge.

I vaguely remember texted my flower child and then nothing. I’d slipped asleep, an infection raging war against my body and my defences were weak. I remember little of the next two days, little snippets, weird dreams filled my mind. The shadows were there all the time, this time getting bolder and revealing themselves, my insecurities surfacing in a blizzard of scenes. I saw myself stood there being laughed at by a crowd. Occasionally my flower would intervene and I could hear her tell me she loved me. I saw my dad standing there, holding out his hand to guide me away from this cacophony of pain, my mother by his side beckoning me towards them, trying to get me away from the pain this crowd of people was giving me. I took one look back and saw my flower child reaching out, telling me she loved me and pleading with me to go to her. I was torn, the peace and tranquillity that I’d get with my parents and the mob who were engulfing me.

I went towards my flower feeling her arms around me, tears running down my cheeks. I held her fragile body in my arms, at peace again, the crowd disappeared. I looked round to see my mum and dad disappearing through a door not looking back. I was tempted to run after them but the inviting arms of my flower held me tight.

When I woke up from the sleep, I saw a figure beside me crying quietly, at first I thought it was my flower but it was my sister. She embraced me. The first thing I wanted was my phone. She hesitated, a guilty look on her face. She told me that I’d been out for nearly three days and she’d used my phone to contact my flower. I wasn’t mad, although I vowed to myself to change the passcode. She told me my flower had told her to tell me she loved me. My sister had spent hours holding my and telling me this.

At times apparently it had been touch and go, for a few hours I’d hovered above the chasm that separates life and death, teetering between the living and dead. Over the next few days I started to recover, little by little strength returning. Another fight won, little did I know that the sky was about the collapse on my world.

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