Thursday, 11 September 2014

When a man loves a woman...

... and a woman loves writing, well, things start to happen!

It all started at 3am on Wednesday morning. 
"Em, love, my face is swollen."
I sat bolt upright.

The swelling was painful to see.  Minutes later we were in Tan Tock Seng hospital being administered to. My poor husband looked like an alien. His speech was slurred. His cheeks and lips so extended that even to call him trout-lips was a compliment.

What had happened?

The duty doctor and the ENT specialist both tried. But neither had a clue. The nurse joked  and offered to swap passports. (What? Work in the NHS instead of this fabulous Singapore hospital?)  They jabbed and prodded and poked. Thank goodness his tongue and throat were ok. 

I wandered between the observation room, where a dozen bedded patients were lined up, and the waiting room, with its free-biscuits-and-hot-and-cold-running-water-dispenser.  This wasn't devotion. This was payback. How many times had Jim come with me to hospital? I can't even do the sum. 

By 5am selfish thoughts began to creep in. How was I going to perform later that morning? I had to entertain a class of 11-year-olds who had chosen to spend their holidays being creatively inspired by writers like me! I had never done this before.  My lovely friend, Denise Tan of Closetful of Books, had helped me compile a booklet for them to use. But was it acceptable to fall asleep at the desk after telling them to "get on with it"? Possibly not. Then....



I grinned. I hummed. I even helped myself to some more hot-and-cold-running-water to celebrate.

Forget the introductions. Forget trying to be inventive and creative.  It's all here, right in front of you.  Truth stranger than fiction? You bet. 

I mimed telling the young students about our night of horror. Our speculations of how Jim had been targeted by some alien, invisible beast, who'd attacked him, leaving no trace. An alien who'd discovered... what? That we weren't exactly what we said we were? No, wait, the students would do the rest.

I grinned for the next hour.

"I'm so grateful, Em," he kept saying.
"No problem," I said magnanimously. "Alien attacks always go down well with eleven year olds. You've made life much easier for me."

(NB, photo of me wearing the heart-monitor stickers and the blue visitors' bracelet to prove to the students I wasn't making this up)

Now what shall I do next time?