The pain in my right leg had been growing for some days. I had been at home for two full weeks and the nightmare of the ward had begun to fade. I did not dream. I was taking the drugs that my guru had prescribed. My wife was my nurse and she woke up in the middle of the dark nights to give me my medicine. I had a vessel that was purpose-made for the outlet of fluids during the witching hours. I was still like a corpse, one that spoke and drank tea.
I thought that I was doing fine. My recovery was underway and I measured this by my ability to climb and descend the stairs. In truth, it was probably as painful to watch as it was to perform. For much of the time I had my wife in front and my eldest daughter behind as my strength and balance were not much better than a toddler’s or a very old person. The sun was still shining and I had been able to venture out into the garden. Where my family enjoyed the early onset of summer. Beyond our small circle, the pandemic raged on. Lockdown was still officially in place and the residents of our street respected this until it came to Thursday evening when they were encouraged to leave the house and clap for the NHS. There was never any bunting or flag-waving but it did feel that we were trapped in a modern take of the days of the last great war. I did leave the house on a few occasions with my wife leading me on a very short walk up and down the street.
In the first days, sitting up in bed was still the gargantuan task that it had been in hospital. My body had atrophied and would not respond. I had to be pulled to a sitting position, going through the full circle of agonies as each of my broken bones screamed out in refusal. That lasted several days until I could not face the prospect any longer and insisted upon attempting to swing my legs up and out of bed in order to perform a pendulum effect which would bring my upper body into sitting position. This was a moderate failure. My muscles were not listening and my bones did not want to know. In the end, I tried to do something that was not too far removed from magic; my guru would have been proud. I started to send signals to the sleeping receptors in my spine.
Some may call it levitation. I was telling my muscles to perform, do what they were designed to do. I started in the small of my back and put all of my energy and imagination into that spot which I wanted to wake. My mummy-like form remained dormant and beyond my reach. It was history and wished to belong there. Like my body, my mind had atrophied. The drugs had dulled it and had diluted its potency. I only tried to perform my magic when I was on my own as it may have looked rather odd to anyone outside of my own consciousness. It must have looked something like a performance of an illusionist, an evangelical nut-job, or an Indian swami. What I was attempting was a little of all of these things and a little scientific belief that the brain really did hold dominion over its constituent parts. Some ten-minutes into the experiment brought about the first signs of success with the small of my back beginning to arch upwards, starting a slow but sure wave along the spine. I had decided to restart the fulcrum of the spine so that the damaged areas would not have to do the work. If levitation was the mark of success, I was floating on it. Fortunately, nobody saw me or they would have thought that I had lost the ability to connect with the real world and had, in the depths of the forest, lost my entire set of marbles. The thought of this, as I was suspended some twelve-inches above the bed, brought to mind an image of hundreds of marbles, ones that had fallen through a pocket in time, forming a path into deep woods and, ergo, out of them.
I couldn’t wait to tell my wife.