Back from the brink

She began to worry about her future. What would it hold for someone like her, she wondered? Her mind had been broken, and it wasn’t ever going to be fixed. At least not ever like it had been. But what had it been?

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Julia

Julia had never seen her city like this before. It was as though she were taking a guided tour through streets and roads she didn’t know. Or maybe had once known. There were so many things she had once known. Like maths. She remembered enjoying maths at school. Her school days hadn’t come back yet, but Doctora Ortiz said they would. Dra. Ortiz had fantastic faith in her. A well-built middle-aged woman, Julia could imagine her at home with her children, watching television. She sometimes imagined herself squeezed in beside them on the sofa like a Persian cat sitting between a family of good-natured bulldogs. Julia had been put in Ortiz’s care on her arrival at the rehabilitation centre. It was down to Ortiz that she had come so far. Her skeletal frame and stitched-up scalp had seemed too frail to survive, but one of Ortiz’s unflinching methods was a diet of regular exercise and rich foods. After a week she could sit up, after two, she could get out of bed. By the time two months had passed, Julia could walk, with a frame, as far as she liked. And she did like it. It was as though she had never walked before.Everyday she could be found exploring various corners of the spacious building. Her body still refused to put on weight, but Dr. Sanchis, the physio, told her that her muscles were recovering, which was good. Anyway, her family said, you’ve always been slim. The biggest change was in her face, her eyes, formerly a flashing green, were now the shade of an autumn forest, with none of the life. On her chaperoned walks in the park she saw trees which fascinated her. Surely she knew what trees were? Her accident had caused such severe damage that she often felt like an infant, seeing everything anew each day. The thought caused her as much joy as sadness, as well as another feeling. If she could have given it a name, she would have called it bittersweet.

As she continued to regain lost memories, and forge new friendships in the centre, she began to worry about her future. What would it hold for someone like her, she wondered? Her mind had been broken, and it wasn’t ever going to be fixed. At least not ever like it had been. But what had it been? She was 24 years old, it wasn’t unusual for her to return to her parent’s house. But it would be like living a second childhood. One with aging parents, who would suffocate her recovery. She had had many conversations with Dra Ortiz and with the clinician, Dr. Ferran, about this, although she could barely express the worries in words, which had only served to frustrate her even more.

In any case, like so much of her recovery, it had been Ortiz’s idea to walk off her emotions. “Everyone thinks better while they are moving” she told Julia once, and surprisingly Ferran agreed. “I’ve seen how you enjoy walking. Many people say it helps to clear your head. In this case, I can’t think of a more suitable solution.”

So she walked as far as the corner. And around the corner. She had never been on this street. It was already busier. Her worries now were mainly that she might not remember how to return to the centre. But she had the address written down, and there were plenty of people to ask. Some of them looked foreign. An Asian man selling fruit offered her some oranges. She declined and kept moving. She saw a young man pushing a baby carriage. He was not much older than her and looked tired. On the street she saw some lorries and bicycles, which for a moment brought back sickening memories of the accident. But she recovered herself and kept moving. Here was another park. She ducked into it away from the traffic, and immediately was assailed by the smells of dog faeces and urine. A gypsy traipsed past carrying some lengths of metal salvaged from a rubbish container across the street. It was appalling. She started to run. And this was the moment of exhilaration. The moment her head cleared, and she had a fully-formed idea for the first time since the accident. She would become a runner.

Running on Fumes

If ​a final fume were found

In the recess of my tank

I could keep on running round

And I’d let my mind stay blank

If a final fume were found

At the bottom of my lungs

I would exhale it all around 

As I let my song be sung

If that final fume were found

At the end of a long day

I could run another hour

To see the ones who had to stay

When those final fumes are found

In my life of joy and toil

I can keep running on fumes 

And forget about the oil

The end of Spring

With swirling, falling

Purple petticoats 

The city trees signal

The end of their season.

The playful petals

Of springtime blooming

Have fallen prey 

to Father Time, 

That old greyhair,

And his consort Mother Nature,

Together conspire

To turn the springtime maidens

Into summer mothers,

Providing shade 

for younger lovers

Spreading their leaves while

Remembering the day

Their sticky fallen blossoms 

Took their innocence away

On a rainy night

In the dark hours of night with the sodium glow
permeating the sky and making me feel low
I stand in the downpour and get soaked to the skin
I raise my face to the sky and let my senses reel in
they’ve been gone for a while, as I wandered in rags
accosting strangers and tourists, begging for fags
screaming at ghosts, clawing at the air
sleeping with women who weren’t really there
I met cowboys and Indians, liars and crooks
I met men who appeared from the pages of books
they taught me to see the real world that we’re in
I wanted to warn people, but they wouldn’t listen
they call me a madman, a hobo, a drunk,
it seemed like my senses were all in a funk
but the rain washes away my physical sheen
my body is ready, my mind is pristine
I’m watching them both from a really great height
And I know the rain can’t wash away the truth in the night
originally posted June 28, 2012

Photo101 weekend recap

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This shot reminds me of both the solitude and the street themes, one of the only quiet streets in Valencia last Saturday night.

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Calle Sueca, Russafa

Whereas this shot of Calle Sueca in Ruzafa shows the extravagance of Fallas. I tried to focus on the beautiful display while going home through the crowds. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a properly angled shot.
I’m sure this week’s assignments will be quite Fallas centred too.
Until next time
Party on Wayne

Photo Challenge Day 3 – Water

I’m a dried-out Paddy

In a land of warmth and sun

So when we get a drop of rain,

My reaction is ‘What fun!’

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the city I live in right now has many beautiful things to recommend it, but if there is one thing which it is sorely lacking, especially for an Irishman, is water. Right now it’s the “rainy season”, and this wet street outside my work was the best I could do. The following photos are from last August. One in Ireland, one in Spain, both near water.
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Kinsale Harbour, Co. Cork, Ireland.
A beautiful picnic spot on a mild August evening.
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This was taken on the night of the ” Super Moon” walking on Malvarrosa Beach in Valencia. I used a portrait shot to attempt to capture the moon’s rays dancing across the water towards me.

The build-up to Fallas

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The citywide party
For workers no joke
Its hard to think clearly for noise and for smoke.

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Some streets are deserted while
Others are crammed
With revels and banter
The screams of the damned.

The darkness is hidden
Obscured from our sight
This city of sunshine
Terrified of the night

The Christian martyrs who
Burned in the fire
Are now paid lip service
In the form of satire

Yet on spite of these problems
An outsider sees,
The festival sentiment
Is the wood, not the trees.