annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Woods Mill

I wrote this in a group. It's not quite true, but near enough:

I’d been wanting to take Sam out into nature but since getting pneumonia I wasn’t strong enough to push her in the wheelchair, not when we were out in the wild world, off the smooth horizontal floors of the care home. Finally – brainwave! When she was scheduled for a one to one, could I drive her and the carer out to Woods Mill so they could push her? Yes, no worries. Lauren, next Wednesday. Crikey. I don’t know Lauren at all – she’s young and pretty, probably only 18, smiley. We’ll be good, surely?
Wednesday, flask of coffee, biscuits, water, Sam in her chair, chair in the van, Lauren in the passenger seat and we’re away. I look at Sam in the rearview mirror. Blank face as usual, slack jaw. Sigh. Talk to Lauren, I tell myself, but nothing comes to mind. CD on – Sam’s Happy Songs – Bob Marley – OK, we can do this. Out of the town and into the soft green of the downs, the trees, the hedges, the light.
At last we’re there. I turn off the engine and the silence surrounds us. A few seconds and the birds all start yelling again. Oh yes, this is what we need. Sam’s out of the van and we’re off. Lauren looks around in wonder – maybe she’s a real townie, not used to all this. Everything is green – lush, vibrant leaves, tall grasses and all kinds of plants surrounding a muddy path, branches meeting overhead. I look at Sam – her face is still slack but there’s something there – this is the place we should be.
Lauren pushes the chair along the path between the long grasses and tall weeds – some flick against Sam’s face but I’m looking out – no nettles or brambles. The wheels squelch through the mud, Sam’s whistle clatters against the handles, the birds sing out. We come to a bench at an angle to the path, overlooking a large pond. Above the trees on the other side, the line of the downs arcs across the clear blue sky. The air smells rich and ripe with life. We sit and I open the flask, pour Lauren a coffee. She asks me about the whistle – why is it tied to Sam’s chair? I tell her we were given it at Pride last year.
“You went to Pride?” Her eyes widen.
“Yeah, we always go. Only to the parade, not the park now it’s ticketed. It always sells out and I wouldn’t want to deprive young gay kids of a safe place to hang out.”
She’s beaming now. I can see relief pouring from her. Out it comes, as we sit by the pond, surrounded by noisy, invisible birds. She’s with a bloke and they have a kid but she’s fallen for a girl and doesn’t know what to do, whether or not to go for it.
Blimey. As she’s talking I catch sight of electric blue damsel flies hovering over the water. Sammie is paying attention – I can see her eyes are alight. I squeeze her hand and kid myself she’s squeezing back.
This is a golden afternoon – the birds, the green, the glimpse of a real life outside the care home. I let Lauren talk herself out, saying nothing more than, “Mm” and “Oh, I know.”
We walk round the pond, past the lake and back to the van. The Happy Songs CD plays ‘I’m Walking on Sunshine’ and we sing along to the chorus, Lauren and I, and don’t it feel good?

11:33 p.m. - 26.07.21


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