I am a member of a Towcester Writer’s Group and every month we are challenged with a title or theme. This was the January challenge
Tell me about it” she said, “your recovery, that is”
“Wells, it’s a longs story so I ‘opes yous ‘as time” came back the answer from the man sitting in on the opposite seat in the rather old, dilapidated railway coach. “It’s a very longs story and if I’m ‘onest, I’s nots sure “recovery” even cuts it. But you asked so ‘eres we goes”.
With that he proceeded to rapidly recall the contents of his life over the past ten years in meandering sentences that seemed to lose a certain coherency over the next portion of time. Quite a long portion of time in all fairness and there was part of her that wished she had never asked.
He had seemed an interesting fellow and she had been intrigued by the prelude to his story but in hindsight, she had to admit that she wished she had just kept her nose firmly implanted in her paper and never looked up as he rambled on! Yet in another moment her consciousness pricked the lining of her soul, and she remonstrated her selfish lament and reconnected, at least cognitively, to the old man and his tale.
“And theres yous ‘as it” the chap wound up. “I tolds yous it was a long ‘un but it’s good of yous to listen. Most folks just gives me that quizzical look that says ‘oh god’ and ‘old fool’ and don’t gives mes the times of days. So good of yous to listen. When alls saids and dones though, I’m really not sure that recovery is the right word. I means do wes ever truly recover or do wes just reinvents us-selves” he mused.
“Reinvent ourselves! That was exactly it!” thought the girl silently. “That’s exactly what we do. Reinvent – reframe – repurpose!” She wondered some more.
“Does recovery suggest that we return to a previous state?” she thought. “But how was that ever possible. Life isn’t about re-doing anything. In reality, we may return to a previous address, or station or place but in ourselves, was recovery the healing balm it alluded to or was it just an illusion that we recovered by returning to better health or the same place or the same state. In the presence of the experience that one had lived through was recovery about improvement or adaptation or the ‘new normal’ that had become a buzz word through the recent pandemic”.
To the old chap opposite, she smiled and nodded. “I wonder then, why we call it recovery then?”
“We likes to kids us-selves” he said. His front tooth was missing, and the wages of time wore deep into his furrowed brow. His stubbled chin was dappled grey and unkempt and the hair on his head was lank with strands falling in grease ridden clumps out of the flat cap that must have been as old as he was!
“We kids us-selves” he repeated. “We likes to thinks that we’ve got it sussed. We likes out security – thats wes dos. We thinks that if we recover then it’s all gonna be dandy – fine and dandy likes it used to be. But it’s not, is it? It’s not really ever like that, it’s…..” His voice trailed off into the narrative that continued in his mind yet was denied any verbal definition that could be shared with his travelling companion.
“Yeah, wes kids us-selves – that wes dos” he said with a certain conviction as he returned from whence he had been to the present conversation looking to the girl for some validation.
“We certainly do” said the girl with the stamp of authority that the chap was beseeching from her. “We certainly do” she said recovering herself in that moment. The irony was not lost! “We certainly do!”