So, another cripple post. Im fast approaching that magic number of 137 so my partners going to need something to read. At least something she might have some interest in reading.
So today’s is the next step, bringing her home. After a month of hospital she was finally allowed to return to us. She was excited and we were happy about it, it had been an intense month of working, driving, looking after two kids and having nanny around. Nanny being there was an immense help, but it also added it’s own complications because she’s insistent on spoiling the kids at every opportunity. Not that that’s bad- it’s a grandparents right- but it makes parenting so much harder.
So my partner comes home and hobbles in to be met by ecstatic children. Things weren’t easy, we had a combination of my partner feeling useless about being essentially useless, combined with her stubbornness and insistence on doing things and overdoing it, plus her natural ability to fall out with her mum at every opportunity. It’s strange, they clearly love each other but just wind each other up far too much. Honestly I’m sure it’s an equal thing, but I see my partner getting grumpy more often so I can see how it escalates to tears.
Things changed massively, especially once nanny returned home. At times I was left with essentially three children as my partner just couldn’t do a great deal. This increased her feelings of frustration about being ‘useless’ which shortened her temper and made her snappier. Especially when she overdid it (see stubbornness) and was exhausted. I was struggling at this point as work was taking a lot of my energy and attention and becoming more stressful, whilst the most Important thing – my family- was getting all that I could spare with regards energy, attention, time.
Things then got harder as money became tight, because I was working the state benefit support was minimal and we were left to work it out. As it stood once rent and bills were paid from my wages I was left with £30 to spend. This is before petrol, food, additional bills. And also before leisure spending. It reached a point where my partner was using online selling sites to sell something in order to free up a few quid to buy some vegetables for dinner. At this point out savings disappeared, followed by our overdrafts.
It was a tight time, but we managed, somehow things picked up and we coped. My partner was able to return to work which of course brought extra money in- though childcare costs of course ate into money too. The sacrifice there was my partners energy, she was exhausted by a days work which made her more frustrated and wore her out, so she wasn’t able to do much. This in turn frustrated her and there was a vicious cycle.
Through all of this I felt helpless. I wasn’t able to increase the money coming in, the money that was wasn’t enough and I didn’t have the energy to do enough to look after my family to the level they need and deserve. Helplessness is a strange feeling, Iv never really felt helpless, there’s always a solution, always something that can be done. But not this time. And it was a damaging thing. As Iv mentioned in another post I’m always right. There’s a certain confidence/cockiness/arrogance that comes from that, but this knocked my confidence. Made me feel like I didn’t have the answers, I couldn’t provide solutions, wasn’t able to look after those around me. The effects of that I’ll cover in a future post.
Bitterness. Bitterness is a strange one. Several times Iv been asked if I feel bitter. Bitter about the disability. Bitter about the effect it had on me. Bitter it’s changed how my life works. But I don’t know, I don’t feel bitter. Of course there are moments of anger, disbelief, even denial about the situation, but no bitterness. It happens, it would be better if it didn’t, or of it at least happened to someone else (selfish? Yes, but tough). Maybe there is some bitterness deep down but I don’t think it’s surfaced, or even really had an impact, there’s been far too much to worry about without it.
So, here we go.
“You’ve let the place go a bit.” I observe. Iv been brought to a safe place, somewhere he can help me fix my arm.
“Well, without you out saving the world, our funding was cut.”
“I never saved the world,”
“This is going to hurt.”
SNAP. My arm snaps back into position and I let out a roar of agony as the pain brings back memories of so many injuries.
The hand that grips his throat would tear it out without a hassle.
I’m not ready.
I try to rise.
“I don’t know him, I don’t care about him.”
“No, no of course you don’t. Not yet.”
Iv got no chance, I haven’t got time for this, i haven’t got the strength.
“Oi dickhead,” another voice, a female voice appears.
He spins, dropping the paramedic, only to face up to another.
“Well aren’t you a pretty bitch.”
“Fuck you,” she spits back, unleashing a fire extinguisher at his face.
A huge arm reaches forward and swats her aside, he turns back to me, “two more deaths on your conscience, boy. Come with me.”
He reaches for the first paramedic, drags him to the other and lifts her too.
“I’ll smash them both right now,”
“Don’t even try to resist me.”
He lifts them both, “it’s time to make a choice.”
Power flows through me.
It tears and rends previously healed wounds.
Coiling up my arms it scorches.
And slams into his chest, tearing apart his lungs and hurling him across the street.
I see this as my eyes burn.
Blood flows freely from me and I die.
“Jack? You awake.”
“Jack, open your eyes for me,” a rough female voice requests, “it’s ok, the lights are down.”
I do as I’m instructed, it burns but less than it has done.
I know your face.
“Hello, Jack, it’s been a while.”
“You left… You were gone.”
“Yeah well, I’m back, he felt you needed me.”
I didn’t reply, I slowly look around to see the state of the room.
“He wasn’t wrong, Jack, you need me. You need us.”
“I don’t need anyone…”
The words are as hollow as they sound, we both know it.
We both know I’ll be dead soon.
“Get some rest, Jack. Tomorrow you’re going to need it.”
“Liz… Thanks for coming back.”
“I did it for Jeff. He can’t let go.”
“No, he can’t can he…”
Liz leaves the room and the lights dim down,
I try to keep my eyes open, but it can’t be more than a few minutes before they droop closed.
So, here’s the latest. Any feedbacks welcome
The ambulance blurs in and out of focus, my mind swimming.
What did I do?
I made the wrong choice.
What will happen.
I’m to blame.
I can’t take it back.
“You ok, son?” A voice cuts in, “you’re mumbling there, you with me?”
“If you can focus, I need to more information on you injuries.”
“I… I don’t know much….” I stammer back, trying to think back.
“Ok, well just take it easy, try and stay awake and when you’re ready…”
“He… He said if I walked away he wouldn’t kill me, he’d stop what he was doing, he was going to unleash…”
“Ok, calm down, you’re getting worked up, just breath.”
I do, a long one in, held, released.
I need to get out of here, need to find a way to stop this.
“Hold on there Jack, stay down”
“I need to get out, I have to stop him.”
“Stop him? Who is he? Who did this?”
“You wouldn’t believe me….”
“Look lad, I found you in a pile of rubble smashed inches short of being dead, I wouldn’t have thought you to be alive, let alone capable of talking, why don’t you try me.”
An explosive tearing of metal filled the ambulance as the world flipped and all my pain returned all over again, I struggled to remain conscious, the world was darkening, my last sight a hand tearing open the doors, which had just become the ceiling.
My headache was back.
I snap awake, to see the splinters of the door raining down on me.
Blinding light shines past a dark silhouette.
My eyes slam shut, this isn’t a headache.
A rough hand drags me to my feet.
“You’re getting easier to find, Jack.” A gravelly voice burns through the fog.
“Iv not been hiding,” I spit back, knowing the headaches coming.
“You’re losing it, son.” He drops me to the ground, and tears open a pouch on his belt as my eyes open and slowly adjust to the glare.
“Losing it? I lost it a long time ago, you know that.”
A jolt of pain as a syringe is slammed into my neck, working quickly to lessen the thump of my headache.
“When are you going to let me have them?”
“If I gave them to you you’d be out in a week, it’s not a fix to cure your lack of control. And anyway, the supplies running out.”
I painfully sit up, “what happens then?”
A dry chuckle, “the way you’re getting through the doses? I wouldn’t make long term plans.”
I don’t bother to reply, Iv had this conversation with him too many times to give a shit. I shakily stand with the intention of getting away before it starts.
“Look, Jack….” He starts, “I don’t want this conversation again…”
“Good, shut up then.”
“Jack, are you done?”
“Done?” I turn, unable to ignore the bait, “I was done a long time ago.”
“That’s not what I mean,” a touch of sorrow enters his voice, “sooner or later I know I’m going to find you in a doorway like this bleeding out, or already dead.”
“That’s the plan.”
“Why? What’s it going to achieve?”
“It doesn’t have to achieve anything, I’ll just be gone.”
“Then what’s it all been for? All these years of pain and suffering? Living with this guilt you refuse to let go?” He pauses, he knows he has me now, “I was there, Jack, I was the one that pulled you from the rubble…”
“You should have left me” I spit back, “I deserved to die.”
“Except you didn’t, did you? You lived, because we went through hell with you, we kept you alive despite everything, your injuries should have killed you. Christ, just a handful would have killed anyone else. I know you don’t see it, but you lived for a reason that day, you can still fix things… Fix yourself.”
“I can’t fix anything, I don’t have anything. I can’t save anyone…”
“You saved me, you saved my partner that day, you’ve saved a lot of people since then.”
“I haven’t saved anyone.”
He steps forward, looking me in the eye, “has it really gone that far?”
“You don’t remember do you, you remember nothing.”
“Remember what? I remember waking, the rubble, pain…”
“Ah shit, you’re in worse than I realised, you need to stop.”
“Iv already stopped,” I reply, turning and walking away, “I stopped a long time ago.”
“That’s not what I mean, Jack.”
I don’t respond as I start my long descent down the stairs that hurt so much yesterday.
That pain was nothing compared to the pain I know is coming.
I can’t let it in anymore.
“Get out of my way doctor, you don’t have to get hurt.”
“You don’t have to hurt me”
“I’m here for him.”
“He’s under my protection, if you move him, he’ll die.”
“If he was going to die, he’d be dead already.”
I hear words.
My eyes spring open to see the paramedic stood over me, looking pathetically small against another man.
He was hardly a standard ‘man,’ he was huge.
He was the one that did this to me.
“Get out of my way doctor, you don’t have to get hurt.”
“You don’t have to hurt me.”
I can feel it seeping into me, knitting bones and tightening wounds. My skins itching as it always does when I let this happen.
“I’m here for him.”
“He’s under my protection, if you move him, he’ll die.”
Pressures building, i haven’t got the strength to heal, but I have enough in me now.
“If he was going to die, he’d be dead already.”
“He’s right,” I cut in, lifting my arm towards the couple.
With a gesture the paramedic is pushed aside and I’m face to face with him.
He’s put me in this position.
“Hello, Mr Superhero, how’s your head?”
“You here to kill me now?”
A chuckle, “now, now, what would be the point of trying,” he reaches down and wipes blood from a recently healed cut, “I can see now that that’s not so easy. No, I came to apologise. And to offer you a deal.”
“A deal?” I can feel pressure building, more healing, I just need time, “I couldn’t trust a deal from you.”
“No, maybe not, but I don’t intend on giving you much choice…”
He reaches down to lift the paramedic from the ground,
“Come with me, join me, or I’ll kill him.”
I’m roughly shaken awake, my arm feels broken.
“You can’t even manage a flight of stairs can you?”
“I, I didn’t fall…” I say, the haze slightly lifted, “something’s happening.”
“Come with me, we’ll get you fixed up.”
“Come..? Come with you?”
“Yes come on up you get”
“Memories.. Memories.. I remember, that day.”
“The day we met.’
So, there was another short extension of the previous pathetic, which I wrote up and then kept going, I was quite pleased with it, then it disappeared. So now il try again.
I’m looking over the city, it’s a true cesspit.
Who’d have thought I created this.
My actions led to the desecration of hope.
Of the future.
My actions destroyed all.
I’m up high, I’m tired. Not just physically- though the climb was pain wracked. I’d staggered from the cubicle, thankfully missing the ‘shitface’ on the way out, and not pausing to watch the rat swimming in my leftovers. I painfully made my way up the stairs to the edge on which I now stand.
No, I’m not just physically tired, I’m spiritually drained, my weariness is inside, I’m spent, I have nothing to give.
I’m worn out.
Years of stress and guilt have torn away my inner strength. Even if I wanted redemption I’m in no position to get it.
As I stand on this edge a memory flashes into my mind…
I’m in pain.
A lot of pain.
I can’t feel my legs
My arms are numb
I can’t open my eyes
My mouth is full of the tinny taste of blood
“Ok son, try not to move, my names jeff, I’m a paramedic.”
A paramedic? I must be bad
“Can you tell me what happened?”
Dilemma, I can’t tell them, I’m led here smashed up in my costume, my identity a secret, resultant of a secret war. What can I say?
“My names jack, I made the wrong choice.”
The truth, I can’t move, why hide anything
“I can’t feel my legs.”
“Don’t worry for the moment, let’s just get you checked and comfortable, then we can move you to hospital, can you tell me anything else?”
“He said if I walked away he wouldn’t kill me….” I pause before coughing up blood, “I guess he was telling the truth.”
“Whoever he is, he’s taken you pretty close, you’ve taken a beating.”
“The cages, are the cages there?”
“I can see some cages yeah, just over there.”
“Oh thank god, he didn’t open them”
“I don’t know what the worry is son, but the cages are empty, I’m sorry, whatever you wanted is long gone.”
No pain can replace the utter despair in that moment, whether it’s the sheer frustration and upset, or the drugs the medics are pumping into me I pass out.
I wake up.
Where am I?
It all comes flooding back.
Grit from the roof has added a few more scrapes to me but I rise stiffly.
A memory, not much but a start.
Guilt flows into the haze, I failed, I caused this.
By memory I explore my body and the wounds I felt before, apparently the docs did a decent job of patching me up, though I don’t know how much of my current state is down to that time.
I hear noises.
The curfew must be approaching, the choppers are out, I need to get off the roof and hidden somewhere.
There’s no way I’m making it all the way down those stairs so I huddle inside the door at the top and let it in….
So, this one I scrawled down not that long ago. I was in town and needed a poo, so sat in a grubby cubicle when inspiration hit.
The situation that had led to this point was still hazy.
It wasn’t a situation, that would imply some misfortune or excitement. It was no more than a series of events, brought on by my actions and lack of.
But nevertheless, here I now sit, shitting away last nights pitiful meal, on a piss soaked seat in a grubby public toilet.
That much is clear, crystal clear.
The rat, seemingly waiting on me to finish before diving in and hunting for Undigested treats.
The faecal smear on the door that seems to have morphed into a mocking caricature of a face, as though even it’s pitiful life (because surely it can’t be having all the fun) surpasses that of my own.
The hole in the cubicle wall that may or may not have an eye behind.
I’m shitting, I’m pathetic, they might as well watch.
I didn’t suddenly wake up here, I should be clear, I came of my own volition. Or at least that of my guts. But still. It’s all a haze. I know what I need to get clarity, but I can’t let it in again.
Let me start from the beginning
“I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”
What a line, confidence (who knows, it could be arrogance), power, knowledge that the force is with him.
“With great power comes great responsibility”
Wow, should have remembered that one, bitten by a spider, develops super powers, uses them properly.
I’m ten, and all my dreams are of superpowers, the force, spider bites, radiation, money to fund gadgets, I don’t care how I get them, but I want superpowers and I want to be a hero.
If I could see my ten year old self, what would I say?
Go for it? Remember the purpose?
Or would I just give him a whack, homework, school real stuff?
More to the point, would he listen? Would I be written off as a ‘baddie’ and so wrong, or would a ten year old who so desperately wants to be a hero be crushed by the truth?
Because, the truth is, I did develop superpowers. Or at least I developed powers. Super, it turns out, comes from your actions, not the powers themselves.
Super is not what I was,
Not what I ended up.
I know what you’re thinking, I’m delusional, I’m high, I’m just talking crap. Well I can’t deny it, maybe it is just a figment, a trip, made up. But it happened, it was real to me.
Again, I know your thoughts. If it’s true, then what powers? How? When? What happened? Are there others?
I can’t answer.
As I said, things are hazy, I don’t know, this isn’t some ‘superhero origin story.’ Nor is it about redemption.
This is just my story.
And my demise…
So, today my partner was in tears, disability and the restrictions or brings are getting her down- this is obvious but recently it’s been more so.
She doesn’t have the energy levels to do all she wants to and is too stubborn to take it easy or relax until it’s too late.
This creates a few problems for me,
Firstly, it reiterates my recent post regarding always being right and not knowing what to do, I don’t know how to help her. Or when i do, I don’t know how to switch her ears on to make her listen.
Second, her despair leads to my despair leads to us both struggling, and you can’t be struggling with two kids running around, they sense it, and play up to it
Finally, guilt kicks in again. She has repeatedly referred to me as her rock, the stable calm crutch to her crippled body, and now I feel as rocklike as jelly. I don’t have answers, or even supporting words, you see, all that time I was her ‘rock’ I was just cheating, by constantly reassuring her all would be ok, because all was calm it was. But now, when that doesn’t work I don’t have the answers for her, or the words.
It’s tough to reassure her and keep her spirits up when mine seem so crushed and non existent, but I do feel as though my recent lifestyle changes have had an immediate impact on my mood and temperament, I’m on a fitness kick and I’m making social steps, so with any luck my reserves will stock up again, and I’ll firm up to rock level again
So, I’m almost out of what I wrote on this one, but there’s a little left, and I might keep going when I run out of words.
I’m looking over the city, it’s a true cesspit. Who’d have thought I did this. My actions, led to the desecration of hope, the future.
My actions destroyed all, I’m up high, I’m tired. Not just physically, though the journey up was pain wracked.
I staggered from the cubicle, mercifully not getting any of the shit face on me, and not turning to see the rat swimming in my dinner.
No, my weariness is inside.
Spiritually weak and worn out.
Years of stress and the resultant guilt have torn away my inner strength. Even if I wanted to try and repair the damage I wouldn’t have it in me.
As I stand on the edge of the building the memory flash hits me
I’m in pain, a lot of pain.
I was betrayed.
No, I was betrayed after making the wrong decision.
“Don’t move son, we’re here to help you.”
Help? What help?
“Son, don’t move, I’m paramedic, I’m going to help you, but you need to stay still.”
“I can’t feel my leg.”
“Don’t worry about that, can you open your eyes?”
My eyes, ok, focus. They feel crusted over, but finally they spring open, burning light entering my head and burning my retinas.
“Ok, take it easy, just try to focus, can you remember your name?”
“My name? Yes, yes, I can…..”
“You still with me, what’s your name”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Come on now son, just because you’re wearing a mask, you aren’t some hero.”
Hero? Costume? Oh shit, yes, I can’t tell him my name. Though clearly it hasn’t worked, I’m in incredible pain, my legs numb, I can barely move here.
“My names….. My name is jack.”
Why keep it secret, I’m not going anywhere
“Ok jack, I want you to open your eyes again let me take a look.”
I open them, still the light burns but my pupils have reacted, I can make out a face, old, lined with concern.
“Can you tell me what happened?
My brains running over, filling me in on events. I can’t tell the truth can I? Overcome with pain, I unleash the truth.
“I was given a choice,” I begin, “I could go ahead and stop him from unleashing his monsters, or I could walk away, and he wouldn’t kill me.”
I cough up a lump of something sticky, which the paramedic helps me clear, it’s blood, dark blood.
“I was weak, I chose to walk away, I didn’t think him not killing me would be this.”
“Well whoever he is, he’s got you good son, your not in a good way.”
“I can tell that, I made the wrong choice and now everyone’s going to suffer.”
“I wouldn’t be too dramatic, it’s you that’s going to suffer. We’re going to move you now, get you to the hospital, I’m going to give you something for the pain.”
“No, I need to stay awa….”
I wake up, grit from the roof in my face, the flash clearly knocked me from my feet, more pains to add to the list.
Still hazy, but clear on something. I didn’t die…..
So, my partners away this weekend leaving me in charge of the kids. No issue Iv done it before, and it means she can get her vital hours on dental courses completed.
But this one was tougher, leading into it has been a few nights of the boy not sleeping at night and the girls not being her most cooperative at the moment. Well, I cope, it’s fine, except recently it’s been harder to cope, I can’t tolerate the constant streams of daddy, daddy, daddy every time something major / minor / inconsequential happens.
Well, the day went as badly as it could, the boy refused to nap and spent most of the time squealing at me, the girl refused to do anything she was asked to and seemed to switch her ears off. She spilt cereal all over the kitchen, moaned about lunch and nagged, nagged, always nagged.
So, I got them wrapped up and went for a walk to the shop, with the promise of buying a cake if she behaved (well placed bribery can work wonders), and suffer through daddy can I have… daddy can I have… daddy can I have…
So we get home and it starts all over. Dinner, early night for both and a moment of peace for daddy. And that’s where the despair sets in. Not only is this the first time as a dad that Iv has a feeling that I just can’t cope, but I realise I can’t get that break that I need. My partners gone away (albeit for work) but due to her care needs there’s no way I can arrange to get away myself. And the despair gets worse when the guilt kicks in, I shouldn’t want to get away, I love my family and I would do anything for my kids, but the thought of being stuck with them for eternity makes my left arm tingle and my chest ache