Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ten years

2002: Just an impression, but I must have been still sore from the angiogram, the liquid piped the wrong way up and the doctor - a contemporary - telling me the pain was 'nothing.' It was something. Warm like whiskey in all the wrong places. I woke up in the morning with a head made of polo mints, small shavings and markers where the scalpel might go. I woke up in the morning to chirping nurses doing their day job, opening curtains and tutting, things they had been taught to do.

2012: Another Basque morning, we got up and showered and dressed and had a look out on the noisiest street in Bilbao. A street where a man could be heard to whisper and a woman would shout 'JULIO!!!' at all hours of the day. Julio always kept his safe distance outside the bar, 20 metres away. We decided to go to San Sebastian and then quickly undecided it, mental as the bus station in San Mames was. We took the tram back towards the Guggenheim instead.

2002: I must have been fasting, so it must have been another morning when my dad showed up with food from home. Another afternoon with his onion bhajis wrapped in tin foil, a substitute for the jelly and ice cream, the lumpy mashed potatoes. No, this morning was fasting and checking the phone, a small Siemens fella or my first Nokia, who knows, while waiting for the trolley.

2012: All curves and steel, glass and concrete, every bit of it spectacular. People call it the 'Gugg' but I've never been a man for shortening, and certainly not where a hard 'G' is concerned. We walked around with our handsets. Getting lost in the angles, scoffing at David Hockney, finding each other in the hiding places and the nooks, finally pretending to be a touch more fascinated than we were while thinking of lunch and wine.

2002: The trolley man saying something about how Malcolm In The Middle is just as good as The Simpsons, then the operating theatre, then sleep.

2012: Back to the apartment, the noise, the heat and some happiness at a shower, a sit, a read of our books and a can of 7-Up. Perhaps we napped, maybe we didn't, we probably wondered whether it was possible to be bored and content at the same time.

2002: My sister's footsteps - clip clop clip - she walked like a teacher and is a teacher. Sketch! She took one look at me, conscious, said "thank God" and immediately walked back out of the room to text the concerned. My folks stayed, my head sore, and soon came the sweet relief of a painkiller administered somewhere it shouldn't have been. But it worked. So fuck it.

2012: She wanted to buy me dinner, a celebration of the anniversary, so I got us a takeaway pizza instead and we ate it on the side of the street with a can of San Miguel. Bilbao had been foretold of our classiness.

2002: Beeps of the phone, recovery room, sitting up, lying down, no mirrors, head out to 'there,' Lucozade and other standard issue, a silent night and walking drips.

2012: We sat by the Cathedral at 10.30, willing the ice cream shop to be a late night opener, but we were pushing it. We sat anyway, then found the angry Chinese man in his corner shop, grabbed our dessert, some beers, went home and had a sup.


McMuck and the Mystery of the Kuúgleflarg said...
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McMuck and the Mystery of the Kuúgleflarg said...

Brilliant. Happy anniversary. El Fnurleggo

Radge said...

Cheers Mook!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Happy Anniversary.

Radge said...

Thanks Karen. It was a very happy anniversary.

Holemaster said...

Ah Bilbao.

Part of my sorrow haunts the streets of the old town and the Dublin Bay-like seafront with Poolbeg-like chimneys, a dart-like trip away.

A place I can never go to again.

Radge said...

Holemaster - Worth a post of your own, I'd say.

Kath Lockett said...

I want to belatedly say 'cheers' to your anniversary but also ask - what was it that you had fixed/removed, dear Radge?

Radge said...

A build-up of tissue near the optic nerve that could have had quite nasty results if unchecked, Kath.

Kath Lockett said...

Ah. I had a pituitary prolactinoma that was pressing against my optic nerve back in 1995 - any relation?

Radge said...

Nah, this was called a fibrous dysplasia.