Short Stories

Exhale

Exhale

I’d been a Conservation Warden before going to Wales, but one wet autumn day I had damaged myself. It had been raining and we were getting ready for people to arrive at the fete that the center was putting together. Now there were two of us wardens, both girls. It shouldn’t have made a difference but it did. You see we had a point to prove, so when the boss said, “I need you to get a round bale.” We smiled, grabbed a wheelbarrow and trundled up the hill to fetch it. We should never have been allowed but they didn’t think and we had a point to prove. It wasn’t the huge bales but smaller ones – half size. Still at least twice the size of a normal square bale. But we got it into the wheelbarrow and then started down the hill.

It was here that the bale rolled off. We had rolled it onto the barrow so as of yet there had been no lifting. I said to my fellow warden, “You get that side and we’ll lift.”

“Oh my god!” she cried and dropped her end. “That is way too heavy…”

Except I didn’t drop my end instead I lifted the whole thing onto the wheelbarrow. It was wet and heavy. At the time my back and shoulders were screaming and after doing it my arms shook. We walked the rest of the way and placed the thing in the position it was wanted. I then helped them get ready for the fete. I was going to help on the arts and crafts stall. I never made it. That was the last day I worked.

I followed my usual routine. I went to the gym. As usual I had the place to myself so I did the usual amount. My hands still shook but I just shrugged and carried on. I went home, had tea and flopped into bed. I was still living at home so when I awoke at about two in the morning screaming my parents were able to call an ambulance.

I don’t remember the ride, although I’m told that the lights were going. We got the hospital and I would love to tell you it was the best in the midlands but it wasn’t. I lay on that bed screaming until they gave me something for the pain. Next morning or rather later that same day I was sent for an x-ray. There was nothing smashed or broken. After a wait I was sent home with a delightful white pill that would send my head in a spin but it stopped the constant pain that blossomed around my neck and back of my head.

The verdict is that I had torn a muscle in my neck and trapped a nerve. The result was shaking arms and pins and needles. I worked from home for awhile but eventually the company offered me a payment to leave. I left. The doctors said it was fixable but I would have to wait up to a year to get back to normal. At the same time my parents fulfilled a life long dream and moved to Wales. I went with them. While I sat on my behind I thought I might as well study so I went to university.

That led to a degree in archaeology and from there through a series of loops and hairpin turns to the writing. The one thing i learnt was that rushing things gets nothing done, nor does trying to prove yourself to anyone that won’t believe. If they don’t think you can do it then so be it. Just breathe and remember that you only need to please one person – yourself.

Now if only I’d take my own advice. 🙂

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