I can see the pavement at my feet in a clear oval of sight, pale, yellow, paving stones, some cracked and dirty, some shifted and sticking out of alignment. My oval of sight is about ten inches across right in front of my nose. Like all tunnels it expands outwards and by the time it has extended to the pavement it is about five to ten feet across.
That’s enough to see paving stones, edges of pavements, white lines on the road but to see who is coming I need to relinquish my grip of sight on the pavement and like a mountaineer snatch a visual handhold of what is going on ahead. I straighten my head and I can see all the way to the horizon. All the way to the horizon but down my restricted tunnel of vision; thousands of feet of streets and leaves on trees and … a cyclist explodes past me on the right emerging from my clouded peripherals. Traffic booms on my left. I scan trying to grab that visual handhold but my vision slips. I stagger and stop, pretending to look over the bridge at the river below. For some reason I am so tired today I feel like sitting down right here on the wide, pale pavement of the flyover bridge. I could lie down. The paving stones look warm..not too dirty. I know I would sleep.
Its been like this on and off whilst I try and adjust to my changing vision. It is a lot of work walking along a pavement when you can either see your feet or ‘ahead’ but neither of the two together. If I were a cyborg I would have constant data flooding across my monitor. ….humanoid 50 metres ahead…collision possible… possible canine attached..warning warning loose toddler alert loose toddler.. BICYCLE…abort! Abort!...
I find myself rubbing at my neck where the tendons have tightened, constantly rolling my shoulders to loosen them. Sometimes I get home and crawl into bed fully clothed too tired to even undo my shoes – just leave them sticking out of the duvet, fall into deep unmoving sleep for 40 minutes and then get up adjust make up and get on with the evening.
Easter weekend: part two:
On Friday night my Dad’s partner rings from Zambia. She sounds fraught, her New York vowels rise. ‘I tol’ him! He won’t listen…I’m putting you on. You gotta tell him T, he is driving me crazy.’
My father voice comes over the phone line, clear but with a double echo. ‘I’m fine!’ he snorts. I did a malaria test. Its not malaria.’
He is shaking so much he can’t hold the phone.
‘Call a doctor.’ I shout.
‘I am a doctor’. He hisses.
The next morning he is on an IV line battling septicemia bought on by a gum abcess. He is still insisting all is well.
‘Ok, yes I was sick..but I am FINE now.’
‘I tol' him. I'm tellin' you, I told him..’ His partner’s voice echoes on the line. She is relieved but still furious.
It was a big scare for everyone.
In the background I can hear him ringing the little bell she has given him from the bedroom. The ringing is insistent.
By the next time I call she has confiscated it.
Easter weekend: part three:
‘Why can’t I see the village? According to this map we should be in a village.’
There is no village. We are standing in a wide, stubbled field without a barn, let alone a village in view. I am walking with my aunt on Easter Monday. We are both wincing slightly as we stride. I, trying to impress a supercilious Australian gym instructor, over did my weights in class and pulled something in my thigh. My aunt went horse riding out of the blue after many, MANY years and her butt is..well… you get the picture. Undeterred by our twitching muscles, we have been walking for a couple of hours and are happily lost but running out of ibrufen and in need of a pint.
The sun shines hazily, flickering through the budding trees, glittering along the river by the ancient mill. The open fields are almost empty of other people, grassy and lined with trees with paths disappearing off into the distance. There is so much beauty here that my eyes cannot grab it all fast enough. Taking out my camera slows us down, gives me time to look up from my feet and watch it all.
And the pint? We find Horningsea and the pub has just opened and has golden ale on tap and ready salted crisps.
(All Cambridge/ Hornigsea photos (c) Tanvir Bush 2009)