Queen’s Gambit

“You like Magnus Carlsen, nice!” The Tinder message flashes across my screen. It’s from a new Bright Young Thing, age 31, so not even very young. He’s got brown hair and blue eyes. Good cheekbones. “I do,” I reply. “The red dress in your picture is very nice. Do you play chess?” He says. Ah. […]

Brief Encounter

“Do you know that chap over there?” I ask my trainer Katerina. She follows my gaze over to the lat pull-down machine. The chap is wearing a loose white t-shirt and his tanned, sculpted arms look just great. He’s got lots of dirty blond shaggy hair and green eyes. “Not really,” she says. “He’s here […]

Our Day Out

“You know, we’ve been coming here for nearly thirty years,” Mum says. We’re at a pizza restaurant round the corner from the museums, sitting outside in December because it’s not too cold as long as we keep our coats on. It’s our Family Day Out: all four of us. “When I used to bring you […]

Return To Flight

“We should be at your parental home,” the panther says, pressing a heavy paw down on my chest. “You’re not in any state to fend for yourself in the wild.” Rubbing my eyes, I sit up in bed and look over at my watch. 4.55pm. Time to get up from my afternoon sleep. “I’m fine,” […]

Last Drain To Clarksville

Let’s liven things up with a list: 1. Drain is still in. It hurts where the tube issues from my right side. Hopefully this is a good sign that healing is taking place as it doesn’t look infected. 2. Plastic surgery nurse will have a look later today anyway and will either remove drain or […]

Runaway Drain

“Come on darling. You know you’re not allowed in there,” Mum says. The fluffy monster has climbed inside the freezer and is curled up on a shelf, gazing out at us. Mum takes some felafel out and waits for the cat to step out. He doesn’t. Eventually he puts one front paw down on the […]

Blackbird

“So, Tanya, how has your mood been?” Dr Stein my psychiatrist says – pen poised over my notes. “Well, actually I think it’s lifted a bit,” I say. “You certainly seem a bit brighter,” he says. He’s wearing a cashmere sweater – the same bright blue as his eyes. “Maybe the tramadol is lifting my […]

After Darwin

If only the chaps could see me now. This is what am wearing: 1. Hospital pants: knitted, white and enormous 2. Post-operation socks: to prevent thrombosis – white, knee-high, hole underneath toes 3. Black secret-support top 4. Drain tube dangling from right side Arjen has gone to the Galapagos without me. His Facebook page is […]

Something In The Way

“That’s enough water,” Mum says, turning the bath taps off. I’m sitting in the bath and the drain bottle is on the floor. The water covers my thighs but the dressings are all down my right side and mustn’t get wet. Turning over, I lie on my left side and feel the warm water wash […]