Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Lost...and Found

Autumn 1994.

'Please don't make me give it up'...I said, slowly kneeling to get from the floor to the sofa.

Molly sighed and looked over at me. 'I know how much you love it', she replied, 'but it's not good for you...'

It was my turn to sigh. 'Can't I just have one more year? I've hardly started...'
'If you have one more year, your hips will be worse. You've already said you're struggling with the pedal...'

'But I've just bought myself some proper sticks and brushes...'

'I know' she replied, putting her arm around me, 'but your hips and your knees will suffer, and I wouldn't be a very good physio if I let you carry on, would I?'I bit my lip, in an attempt to stop myself from crying - and failed!
'No...I know'
She handed me a tissue from a small packet in her handbag,
'I'm sorry'...
'It's not your fault' I said, as sobs, became hiccups.
'I just don't like having to stop you doing something that means so much to you...Will you need a letter for your teacher'?
'Probably', I muttered quietly, and hiccupped again.

It was a foggy Thursday morning when I left my maths lesson, and made the short journey in my wheelchair, across lower school playground to the dusty old portacabin.

 I got out of my chair, and struggled up the few wooden steps, in exactly the same way I had almost every Thursday morning for just over a year.

I swallowed, as I knocked lightly on the door, and a knot formed in my stomach.
'Come on in, Helen' Mr Clayton said, in the same slightly brusque way he always did.
'Hello', he smiled, and came over to help me get to the stool, 'have you got your sticks'?
'No...' I replied, so quietly that I could barely hear myself speak. I cleared my throat, 'I'm sorry. I came to tell you I can't play the drums any more. I have to stop my lessons'.

Mr Clayton leant against the desk, 'You were doing so well...' he told me sadly...
I smiled, although by this time, I had tears in my eyes,
'I wasn't. I was struggling with the pedals. My knees hurt, and my physio says I need to stop, but I really don't want to. I'm sorry....'
'Ah...I understand, but I'll be sorry to see you go...
'Maybe after surgery I can come back...' I replied hopefully, -even though I knew it wasn't realistic,
'I hope so', he replied, but I think he knew what I did - it wasn't really going to be possible.

He helped me down the stairs of the dusty portacabin, and I cried as I sat in my wheelchair, because I wanted to play the drums so badly, and it had become another thing I couldn't do.

Mr Clayton didn't see me cry, but as I began to push myself across the playground, he called out to me,
'Helen, - you can sing!  You love that, so do that instead. Take lessons - use what you already have! No one can take that from you'!
By the time I got back in, and down the corridor to my maths lesson, I was smiling again.
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