So, very, very soon I’ve got a release coming up in the Dark universe. There’s an e-book novella, starring Teller Mas called ‘Scent of Memory’. It’s going to be 99c or 99p or 99euro cents depending on where you are. Watch this space for details.
I’ve just got back from hospital with our SWAN and we’re both knackered. Her because she’s been ill. I thought I was tired because of the amount of sleep on put up beds and noisy wards into the wee hours of the night, but that’s not it. I’m tired because I’m emotionally wrung out.
It’s quite a lot for a bloke to spot that. I don’t think we’re ever trained to spot and process emotions, just to supress them in a crisis. I’m ace at that.
But there’s a particular thing that happens when you’re a SWAN parent. I guess it happens to all parents but when you have SWAN kids, it seems to happen so much more often. It always seems to happen in the same way. A bit like how tsunami’s happen.
You’re going about your day to day, congratulating yourself on getting through Christmas or whatever, when your parent senses go off. Something that seems innocently wrong (the child won’t settle at night, a nagging temperature that’s just a little above normal, a ‘funny cough’) that you take to the doctor or the ward if you’ve got access. And you get sent home a couple of times and you’re left wandering on the beach thinking ‘is it me or have all the birds stopped singing’? All the experts have reassured you and sent you home. But the tide has definitely gone out. When it shouldn’t.
Then you go back to your next routine call-back appointment and then someone says. Hmm, well it could be something or nothing but y’know, let’s send you for a scan. And on the horizon you can see the swell of water rising, imperceptibly to most, except now you’re primed to spot it.
So you go through the motions of the scan, you’re too preoccupied with keeping the child amused or achieving whatever level of stillness is required so they don’t have to get knocked out. You don’t check the pictures, that’s what the experts behind the glass do. Besides, in your gut you know that the level of water is reaching 10 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet high and rising. And you go back to the tiny consulting room, manoeuvre the power chair without overturning any furniture and wait in that still moment before.
‘So, we’ve found something.’ That might not be the exact phrase. It doesn’t much matter what the doctor says at that point. All you can hear is ‘CRASH’ as that wave breaks on the beach, over you and your child and your desperately looking for something to hold on to. Your brain is politely tapping you on the shoulder, reminding you to pay attention to phrases like: ‘is she allergic to anything?’ or: ‘has she had trouble with anaesthetics before?’ But you’re under 20 feet of water and mostly you’re concentrating on not drowning and stopping your baby from washing away. And it happens that quick. Suddenly, a check up becomes a hospital stay and everyone’s looking at something super serious and lines are getting put in and you’ve got to make a hundred decisions that might be life changing for everyone, while you’re being swirled about from test to test and doctors and nurses float past you like strange fish, swept up in the same crisis, trying to stop everyone from drowning. Except in the end, they’re fish. They live here, in this swell, they can breathe underwater. You’ve just got to hold your breath and hope for the best.
And then as soon as it’s begun, it’s over. Temperatures stabilised, anti-biotics administered, and we’re left washed on the beach panting for breath. Behind us on the prom, everyone is running about trying to right deckchairs and phone the authorities. It’s stressful for them too, but they’ve had to watch the whole thing unfold from the shore.
It’s not all bad. It’s not like we’re not going to take moonlit walks on the beach ever again. But when we do we’ve always got one eye on the horizon, watching the swell.