5/ Vulnerability

Having long been fooled by the solopsistic axiom that calamities befall other people I was poorly prepared to be diagnosed with cancer.

I had been planning in my latter years to live to over a hundred.  Earlier in my life the need for such a plan wouldn’t even have entered my head. However, in late middle age I had become a staunch believer in the song’s philosophy that you can survive to a hundred and five if you’re young at heart. 

Disabusement happened rapidly. 

One week I was at work, the next I was on a trolley with a saline drip and a bunch of grapes beside me dangerously ill in hospital.  Within the space of a fortnight I had become elderly.  Not even clean thoughts, or going out jogging on bright, frosty mornings, nor the unassailable conviction that it’ll be someone else, not me, had allowed me to dodge the shaft of fate.  The shock was rude and almost overwhelming.

With senescent vanity I had shrugged off the disconnect between my ageing body and my youthful self image.  My expectations had been that I could swing from branch to branch, swim raging torrents, give Usain Bolt a run for his money.

But as it is written, "Golden lads and girls all must...".

© Benóg Brady Bates


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