Sometimes I write things down to help get them out of my system, or to try and understand what happened. In November 2006 eighteen months after my partner died I had 4 heart attacks, at first they told me I would die as they could not offer me the necessary surgery. My company stepped in and arranged surgery for me, so on March the 12 just 2 weeks short of the 2nd aniversary of my partners death I'm lying in hospital having had a Quadruple Heart Bypass. In the weeks months that followed I started to think about life continueing and how to make those first steps.
Here is an account of my first attempt to go out after my surgery, as you will read it was quite devastating for me and took me a long time to get over and try again.
As in many ways this is a negative Blogg I do not want to put it with my main Blogg, that is for looking forward, not looking back, but this blogg reminds me of how things were before a new light entered my life.
It is badly written, it is full of bad english, but I don't want to edit it, it is as I wrote it at the time.
A Night On The Town
Sitting on a stool by the window people watching, a drink in front of me. My shield, the latest book I'm reading.
Around the room people stand in groups, couples, with a scattering of other forlorn looking singles, a glimmer of hope in their eyes. It's early yet, plenty of time for the hope to turn to despair.
Time to read some more of the book, don't want to be seen as desperatly seeking someone, anyone to spend time with.
The pub is filling up, hadnt expected that, why is tonight so popular. Scanning round the posters on the wall all becomes clear, it's Pride weekend. Might be worth staying late tonight, even I should be able to find a friendly face amongst so many.
Time to get back to the book.
Looking over the book at the laughing groups, and the forlorn singles, I notice one couple in the corner having heated words, hopefully they will kiss and make up before long. Many people move their eyes to the door as it opens, assessing the new face as it enters the room. The new face scans the room and his eyes light up as he sees friends over by the fruit machine. Makes his way smiling to the group, waves to another group as he moves.
Time to get back to the book.
Been sitting with this drink for an hour now, need to get another one from the bar, looks sad just sitting with a single drink.
Looking over the book at the bar, waiting for it to clear a bit, eventually most of the punters move away leaving space for more customers. Putting the book down I pick up my glass, empty the last of the contents and make my way to the bar. There are 3 other people at the bar, one is drinking there and already has a drink, one is being served and the other is waiting paitiently. There are 3 bar staff, 2 chatting at one end of the bar, one serving. The barman finishs serving his customer and moves on to the guy waiting patiently, my turn next. There is movement around me and 2 more people present themselves at the bar, the barman smiles and winks to one of the 2 men that have just presented themselves at the bar.
The barman finishes serving the current customer, I start to order my drink as the barman floats past and starts serving the guy he winked at earlier. I put my glass back on the bar and wait for my turn again, as the barman finishes chatting to the guy who was worth the wink, I again pick up my glass to order my drink. The barman floats by again, the hunk in leathers has caught his eye and gets served next. Eventually he finishes serving and chatting up the hunk, casts a “you still there look in my direction”, I appologeticly order my drink, pay for it and head back to my seat by the window, hoping that by now nobody has moved my coat and taken the stool it was protecting.
After the trauma of getting a drink I am relieved to find my stool still in place, there is a group of 3 guys using the table I'm sat at, I smile at them, and before I can say hello they move away a little, presumably to avoid such an unwanted encounter.
Back to the safety of my book, almost relieved that the 3 guys saved me making a fool of myself by thinking they may actually be friendly.
I read my book for a while, regaining my composure after the effort of having to face the room to get a drink.
I put the book down for a while, it is now 9pm and the bar has filled up considerably, though I notice many have passed through going upstairs to the men only bar and the dark room.
I notice somebody sat with a group in the far corner who I remember, last spoke to him a few months ago before I had my heart surgery. He was sort of friendly but used to get annoyed with me as I wouldn't go up to the dark room to get some action (so not my style). Putting my coat on the stool to protect it, I move over to the corner and say “hi”, he looks up and responds with “bit late for you to be out isn't it” and returns his attention to his friends. After a couple of moments it's clear this was a dismissal so I try to regain my dignaty as I make my way back to my stool by the window. Happily my coat is still there, my little bubble still in tact.
I return to my book, my red and hot face managing to return to it's normal colour, and my heart beat returning to normal. I keep my head down for a good while this time, hoping that by the time I look up, anybody that noticed my embarrasing encounter would have forgotten it and moved on.
After a while, my composure returns, I look up from my book and again return to people watching. There are more groups now, fewer singles standing alone, though the ones that still remain seem to have lost that spark of hope in their eyes. One looks at his watch and emptys his glass, makes his way across the room to the door without a sign of recognition to anyone, checks his watch one last time as he leaves, probably to get a bus or a train, or just creating that impression for anybody watching him.
More book reading and another trip to the bar, bit worse than last time, this time there is no space and I have to attract the barmans attention…
Looking up from my book I notice the clock on the wall now say's 11.30pm, been here for 3 and a half hours so far. Notice somebody looking at me, then 2 others seem to be looking at me. No, they are eyeing up the hunk that had slipped my notice, I'm safe, I'm still invisible. The hunk turns to talk to some friends, the other eys turn disapointedly and return to their group chatting again.
Looking up from my book again I notice a group I do know, happily laughing and chatting. I wonder, should I go over and say “Hi”, I've not seen them since my heart attacks or my heart surgery. I was in their formal social group for more than a year, volunteered my services to help the group out when needed, turned up to all the meetings and events that were arranged. Even provided a web site to promote the group, I'd stopped going to the group as I was ill. Though the only contact I got from them just after my heart attack was an email saying they had moved the web site and didnt need me anymore. I admit to myself it's a sign of my desperation but I go over and say “Hi”, 2 of them appear quite friendly and say “Hi, how are you”, I tell them I'm doing much better after the surgery and am starting to go out again (though this is my first outing in reality)”, the others dont acknowledge I'm there. “were going upstairs to the men only bar, you dont have to go in the dark room, the bar is less crowded, why dont you come up”.
Great, the evening isn't a complete washout, I'm actually going to have some fun. I respond “yes, I'd like that, I'll just get my coat and my drink”, with my stuff in hand I follow them upstairs, never been in this bar before. It looks alright, I notice some more members of the group sitting on stools around a table. As we approach I say “hi”, one of them turns round and says “hi, we heard you'd been ill”, he turns back to the rest of the group. The guy's I came up with sit down, then they all shuffle up closing the gap on the table before I get a chance to join them. For a couple of minutes I stand there, making a couple of attempts to join the conversation, attempts fall on death ears and are ignored.
Now I dont know what to do with myself, all the other tables in the room are taken, I cant sit with this group, that they are making painfully clear. The only spot I can see in the room is the fruit machine, I wonder over to it. Luckily, just in case there was nowhere to sit, i have £40 in £1 coins in my pocket, this means I can play the fruit machine as if I really wanted to. My luck is in, I may not be winning but I am producing enough output to keep me apparently occupied. With the help of the fruit machine I manage to regain my dignaty and not leave the room with my tail between my legs.
My stool downstairs will by now have been taken without my coat to protect it.
I get another drink from the bar, this one at least is not crowded so it's an easier task. I return to the fruit machine to carry on my evenings entertainment. Eventually I've had enough and I feel I have saved face and can leave without it looking like I'm doing because nobody is speaking to me. I turn my attention to the room, I notice that the group I had come up here with have moved on elsewhere at some point, it is now 3am, at least my neighbours will think I had a goodnight out on the town.
I go downstairs and ask the barman to order me a taxi (a service they provide), tell the taxi driver where to take me.
Back to my safe place, it's 16ft by 120ft and I call it home, now I am truly invisible again, there may be nobody to people watch, but then, there is nobody to ignore me either.
Now I can simply be, as long as I'm not tempted to repeat tonights exercise, I can get through each week without having to deal with how lonely I am, or just how invisible I feel.
So much for a Night on the Town!